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January 13, 2022

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Sierra Moves Up

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has promoted Sierra Hoisington to the position of Associate Executive Director. She began working for DDWS in 2016 and most recently served as Development Officer. She fills a position vacated by Lynnae Messina at the end of 2021.


“It was important for me to find a replacement with the knowledge, maturity, and experience to take on the role,” said Birgie Miller, DDWS Executive Director. “The first thing I did was look within our current team and realized I had READ MORE

Free Season Refuge Programs

Following the new protocol for free Winter Refuge Programs, staff and volunteers will be offering a revolving schedule of programs through April 16. The schedule changes weekly according to staffing availability. All programs take place outdoors with a limit of 10 participants. Please wear a mask when unable to maintain a safe distance of six feet from one another.


On the Refuge Eventbrite Page, you will find details of the week’s tours so you can pre-register. (Please cancel your reservation if you are unable to make it.) Upcoming programs:

  • Today, January 13: Bailey Tract Tour, 8:30 a.m.
  • Today, January 13, Gators & Crocs Program, 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, January 14: Indigo Trail Tour, 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, January 14: Birds of the Refuge Walk, 1:30 p.m
  • Saturday, January 15: Beach Exploration, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 15: Birds of the Refuge Talk, 1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 18: Birding the Refuge Caravan Tour, 8:30 a.m.

Volunteers Ruth Brooks and Karl Werner will lead a birding caravan tour at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18.

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Please consider joining our event sponsors to support the conservation work at the Refuge

Call of the Wild Sponsors: Bill & Laurie Harkey; Jim & Patty Sprankle

Champion Sponsor: Ron E. & Josephine Smith

Guardian Sponsors: Boomer Duvin & Family, Stan & Connie Grayson, John & Beth Newland, Priority Marketing, Greg & Linda Scherer, Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, Bill & Diane Valerian, Liz & Jim Birmingham

Protector Sponsors: Mike & Terry Baldwin, Shawn & Laura Shaffer, Mitchell's Sand Castles

Defender Sponsors: HighTower Advisors, R.S. Walsh Landscaping

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Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.

Monday, January 17: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

Admission to Wildlife Drive will be fee-free on Monday, January 17, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. As a federal holiday, however, it means the closing of all administrative offices and the Visitor & Education Center, including the flagship Refuge Nature Store. America’s Best Restroom will remain open during Wildlife Drive hours, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tarpon Bay Explorers is also open for business that day 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Free admission to Wildlife Drive.

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Wellness Week Activities Posted

As part of DDWS' 40th anniversary celebration this year and to connect individuals with the natural world, the Refuge’s Wellness Week: Mind. Body. Heart. takes place February 7-12. The week’s activities are now posted on the webpage. Participants will be able to register for the activities starting January 17.


Refuge Spotlight - 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.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Location: 258 acres; Melbourne Beach, Florida

Totemic fauna: Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle

Visitor tips: Turtle nesting season runs from June to October, when guided nighttime sea turtle watch programs are offered.

Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service




Travel Responsibly


Travel is routinely denigrated for its crushingly negative impact on the environment. But as this article points out, travel also is crucial in educating individuals about the plight and importance of nature. By experiencing wild destinations firsthand, travelers become environmental advocates.


When planning travel in the new year, do your research on travel-related companies devoted to the environment, local impact, and sensitivity to climate change.


Hertz rental car company, for instance, has made a new commitment to investing in electric automobiles.


Certain travel planners mindfully connect you with local purveyors and resources for the most positive impact on the planet and your destination’s economy.

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Photo by Rebecca Clemens

Wildlife Sightings & Tides

Although Black-crowned Night Herons are more active at night, it is still possible to spot them during the day at the Refuge. No matter the time of day, be sure to keep an eye out for their distinct gray and black coloring when you're near the water.

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

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.

Upcoming Events

Artist-in-Residence Exhibition – Through February 28, 2022

Free Refuge Programs – Through April 16, 2022

2022 Lecture Series – February 4-March 25, 2022

2022 Film Series on Zoom – Dates TBD

Wellness Week: Mind. Body. Heart. - February 7-12, 2022

Go Wild for “Ding” – Year of the Anhinga, Soar for 40 More – February 9, 2022

Walk for ‘Ding’ Challenge – March 1-April 10, 2022

Lori Lawrence Art Exhibition – March 1 – April 30, 2022

Project Refuge: A Couture Fashion Show Using Trash - March 31, 2022

April No-Foolin’ Volunteer Appreciation Drive-Through - April 1, 2022

“Ding” Darling Day Conservation Carnival @ Lakes Park – April 24, 2022

10th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament – May 13, 2022

Niki Butcher Art Exhibition - November 15-December 31, 2022 (sponsored by Wayne and Linda Boyd)

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 Christina Hester & Hayley Caylor.

Darling Dose of "Ding"

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