January 14, 2020
In This Issue
2021 Wish List

The Education Team is wishing for a video editing computer this year to create virtual lessons and other activities.
From gas cards for the Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) to supporting a biology intern, our 2021 Wish List is full of good ideas for this year's giving.
 Your Backyard Nature

Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like Oregon or Rhode Island, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat while you are staying safe at home.

Thank you to Renny Challoner from Chateaux Sur Mer for sharing this image of a bobcat from his backyard.

 Please email your nature photos so we can share them in "Ding" on the Wing and by social media. Include details about the photographer and where the photo was taken.
February 15: High School Photo Contest Deadline Extended

The deadline for the eighth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest has been extended to February 15, 2021. It invites high school students in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties to compete for prizes that include a Canon digital SLR camera package, chartered class trips to the Refuge, and copies of Waterbirds: Portraits and Anecdotes from Birding Adventures by contest namesake, the late Theodore Cross. Guidelines and prize information are posted online. Call DDWS at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 for READ MORE
Leave No Trace Certification

In December, Refuge Education Intern Patrick Carney completed his certification for the Center for Outdoor Ethics' Leave No Trace trainer course.   Paid for by the DDWS, the 10-hour online course gave Patrick the skills, ethics, and techniques necessary for effectively sharing low-impact environmental practices with students of all ages. 
Read more about becoming part of our monthly giving program.
 Welcome New Intern

Intern Julie D'Agostino recently arrived from Ohio to help the Refuge with staff shortages in the coming season, thanks to funding from the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society. Julie received her bachelor's degree in environmental geography from Ohio University in 2015. Her most recent job was Corporate Partnerships with the National Basketball Association, working with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Canton Charge teams, until she was laid off due to the pandemic. "I'm stoked to have this opportunity to work in my field of study with skills READ MORE
Hot off the Press: Winter Newsletter

If you haven't received our Winter 2021 Society Pages Newsletter, you can read it online

To find out how to become a DDWS member and receive the quarterly newsletter by mail, visit our membership page or contact Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100 ext. 233.
Send-Off for Paul Tritaik
DDWS representatives, along with Refuge staff, gathered outdoors and informally on Wednesday, January 6, to bid farewell to and honor the accomplishments of Paul Tritaik, recently retired refuge manager for 12 years. His retirement on September 30, 2020 ended a career with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that spanned 38 years.

Paul Tritaik (far left) was honored by Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland, Acting Refuge Manager Kevin Godsea, DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller, DDWS Emeritus Board Member Doris Hardy, DDWS President Sarah Ashton, DDWS Emeritus Board Member John McCabe, and (not pictured) Immediate Past President Mike Baldwin.

DDWS President Sarah Ashton, along with Immediate Past President Mike Baldwin and Executive Director Birgie Miller, presented Paul with mementos of his time at "Ding" in appreciation for his service and many accomplishments at the Refuge. Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland talked about some of those accomplishments, which included such highlights as READ MORE 
January 18: MLK Day Closure

Wildlife Drive will remain open Monday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and narrated tram tours will run on their regular schedule.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day on Monday, January 18, the "Ding" Darling Visitor & Education Center will be closed. Restrooms at the center will remain open, as will Wildlife Drive, all Refuge trails, and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the Refuge's recreation rental and tour concession.
Artist-in-Residence Programs

Rachel leads the Art Journal Walk group, with free art journals in hand, down Indigo Trail to the Wildlife Education Boardwalk.
"Ding" Darling's 2021 artist in residence, Rachel Pierce, has kicked off a series of free biweekly, plein-air art demonstrations and monthly Friday Art Journal Walks at the Refuge. She led her first journal walk last Friday, limited to a group of 10. Her next art walk is scheduled for Friday, February 5. Make your free reservation today.
Journalwalk: At the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, the art class found a variety of birds to sketch with Rachel's guidance.
See the entire calendar of Rachel's programs online, or download this flyer.
Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.
The DDWS staff has been busy bringing the healing sunshine and beauty of the Refuge to the public through 30-second social media videos. Follow on Facebook to see our #DailyDoseofDing, brief virtual visits to the Refuge for those who can't make it.

More WoW Public Appearances

Our new Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) urban mobile classroom has begun its weeklong visits to schools around the five-county area. In between school commitments, the education team is scheduling appearances open to the public. Plan your safe, guided tour of WoW's hand-on exhibits (disinfected by staff after each use) at one of these FREE events:

Tuesday, January 19, 12 noon-3 p.m.: Open House at the Refuge Visitor & Education Center
Wednesday, January 20, 12 noon-3 p.m.: Open House at the Refuge Visitor & Education Center
Thursday, January 21, 9 a.m.-12 noon: Open House at the Refuge Visitor & Education Center
Friday, January 22, 9 a.m.-12 noon: Open House at the Refuge Visitor & Education Center
Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: IMAG Science Saturday at IMAG History & Science Center, 2000 Cranford Avenue, downtown Fort Myers

Check out the flyer for upcoming Refuge Open Houses.

Donate to support WoW's mission to reach schools, libraries, community centers, and events in under-represented neighborhoods to instill interest in the Refuge and a connection to nature.
WoW Drivers Needed

Volunteer drivers Cliff Young of Ft. Myers and Ken King of Sanibel
A huge shout-out to volunteer drivers Cliff Young and Ken King, who make our WoW travels to schools, events, and other venues possible.
Do you have a CDL class A license and a willingness to help DDWS serve its education outreach mission? The DDWS is also willing to pay for someone to take the CDL A driving course (must be a Florida resident) to become a volunteer driver.  Please contact our Urban Education Leader, Melissa Maher to volunteer your time or additional information.

Film Series 2021
January 20: The Smog of the Sea Film

The Smog of the Sea (Trailer)
The Smog of the Sea (Trailer)
Thanks to Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts for sponsoring our 2021 film series.

The ninth annual "Ding" Darling Film Series will adapt to distancing and pandemic safety protocols with virtual airings and follow-up discussions via Zoom. It kicks off on Wednesday, January 20, with The Smog of the Sea, a 30-minute documentary chronicling a week-long journey to the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea in search of the legendary plastic "garbage patches."

The film is available for viewing anytime that day, with a Zoom virtual discussion scheduled for 5 p.m.  
 Pre-registration for the film and discussion are required. Those who register for the free film will receive an email a day before the showing begins containing the streaming link and password along with a link to the Zoom discussion.

Bailey's General Store wine buyer Calli Johnson has recommended a wine pairing of Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc to READ MORE

Check out the film series flyer.

Love this film? Our Nature Store staff recommends these fun, related buys: Bees Wrap, Chica Bags, and Jabebo Studio recycled earrings.
Clyde Butcher For Sale

For the February 4 lecture by Clyde and Niki Butcher at The Community House, the Refuge Nature Store will be setting up a mini gift store that will include Clyde Butcher unsigned books, t-shirts, hats, note cards, and some of his artwork. Because of COVID, the photographer will not be signing any books that day. 
To obtain a pre-signed book for pickup on February 5 or after, please contact the Nature Store by February 1 at 239-472-1100 ext. 241.
Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.
Microplastics Awareness

In keeping with the airing of our first film series documentary,
The Smog of the Sea, on January 20, we are sharing some facts
about microplastics and their impact.
1.       NOAA defines microplastics as pellets less than five millimeters in length, or about the size of a sesame seed.
2.       Washing synthetic clothing is one of the leading causes of household microplastic pollution.
3.       Secondary microplastics occur from the degradation of plastic products such as bottles, bags, and fishing nets.
4.       Microplastics harm sea life that consumes them, but also humans, who ingest them through water, food, and breathing.
5.       Ingested particles of plastic can damage organs and leach chemicals that can compromise immune function and stymie growth and reproduction. (Source)

'America's Best-Kept Secret'
In each issue of "Ding" on the Wing, we showcase one of the more than 560 refuges across the U.S.A. that is open to the public.
Images courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Location45,849 acres; Ellsworth, Nebraska
Totemic Flora and FaunaBlowout Penstemon, Killdeer, Coyote
Visitor's Tip
Recreational opportunities include boating (non-motorized), driving, horseback riding, fishing, and hiking.

Images courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Photo by Libby Errickson
Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Black-bellied Plovers have recently have been spotted at the Refuge! 

The Black-bellied Plover is the only American plover that has a hind toe on its foot. While it spends time on beaches searching for food during the day, you can find this species perched in mangrove trees at night.

To see more wildlife photos click on our social media links: 
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If you have taken any beautiful, interesting, or just plain goofy photos at the Refuge, send them to Development Officer Sierra Hoisington, for a chance to be featured in upcoming newsletters.
for news of event cancellations or reschedules.  

Artist-in-Residence Plein-Air Demos - January-April, 2021 

Virtual Film Series - January 20-April 12, 2021   

 Lecture Series - January 29-March 19, 2021 

Artist-in-Residence Journal Walk - 
February 5, 2021

Deadline for "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest - 
February 15, 2021 

Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding - March 31, 2021

Earth Day at the Refuge - April 22, 2021

Artist-in-Residence Exhibition - October 1-November 10, 2021

Niki Butcher Photographic Exhibition - Mid-November-December, 2021
These are just snapshots of some of the things taking place at your Wildlife Refuge.  Please check our website to learn more!

Birgit Miller, Executive Director

"Ding" On The Wing composed by Chelle Koster Walton.  Designed by interns Julie D'Agostino and Hollis Hatfield

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