May 13, 2021
In This Issue
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. 
Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like Kansas or California, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat.

Thank you to Jean Howard from Oscoda, Michigan.

Thank you to Wendy Remick from 
 Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. 

Please email your nature photos so we can share them with others. Include details about the photographer and where the photo was taken.

New Refuge Education Fund Established
The Darling-Williams family honors the late Lee Williams (center left) and his wife Ann Darling Williams (center right) with a permanently endowed education fund. Among other family members pictured, the late Penny Darling Powel (front) center, was married to "Ding" Darling's son, John, and was Ann Darling's mother.
The Darling legacy continues at the Refuge. Leslie and Palmer Williams have established the Ann Darling & Lee Williams, Jr., Family Education Fund to support Refuge educational programs. The fund's name honors Ann Darling "Ann D" Williams -- the granddaughter of Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, the Refuge's namesake -- and the memory of Palmer's brother, Lee, Ann D's late husband, who passed away in February 2020. 

Ann D grew up in Florida and graduated with a degree in nursing from Florida State University (FSU). She worked as a nurse in Mexico, where she was a student missionary; Clearwater, Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Tampa, Florida. She also taught nursing in Tallahassee, Florida.

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Lee Williams graduated from READ MORE

Welcome New Office Manager

Joy Robertson has taken charge of DDWS office operations.
Last month, Joy Robertson joined "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society staff as business office manager to oversee financial operational systems and processes and policies in support of the DDWS mission. She fills the position vacated by Joann Hinman, who is retiring after five years of service.
In July 2020, Joy moved to the Fort Myers area from Florida's east coast, where she had worked as the assistant accountant at a healthcare linen service company in Pompano Beach. A native of Miami, Florida, Joy has worked in office managerial positions in Atlanta, Georgia; and Buffalo, New York.
She looks forward to READ MORE
Summer Fees for Wildlife Drive

Your fee-booth vehicle admission buys three days of visiting this summer.
Admission fees for Wildlife Drive remain the same after season's end. The $10 vehicle fee, however, holds good for three days of admission starting annually on May 1 and running through September. Keep your receipt to show at the entrance fee booth upon returning. Daily fees for cyclists and pedestrians are still $1 each visit for ages 16 and older.
Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for 
educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.
FREE Artist-in-Residence Summer Programs

Earlier this year, Rachel Pierce worked with visitors on this Community Mural, now at home outside the Visitor & Education Center.
On Friday, June 18, at 10 and 11 a.m., Artist-in-Residence Rachel Pierce will help sons and daughters (and grandsons and granddaughters and anyone with a father figure in their life) create an artistic Father's Day card for free, outdoors at the Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Participation is limited to 10 pre-registered  guests for each session. Note: The 11 a.m. session is full, but you can sign up today for 10 a.m.
Watch the Artist-in-Residence web page for news of other upcoming activities with Rachel, including painting patriotic seashells and back-to-school tote bags.
Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.

It's Official!
Named permanent Refuge Manager for "Ding" Darling and Project Leader of the Southwest Florida Refuge Complex earlier this year, Kevin Godsea last week hung the Refuge Managers plaque, now bearing his name, in the Refuge Administration Bldg. Kevin took lead as Acting Refuge Ranger upon Paul Tritaik's retirement in 2020.
Friday: Tarpon Tournament 2021

Team Mabry catching a tarpon in the 2019 tournament. 100% of the registration fees go back into the prize winnings. 2021 is double the pot, with the roll-over from 2019. Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this tournament and the conservation work at the Refuge.
The Ninth Annual "Ding" Darling & Doc Ford's Tarpon Tournament takes place May 14, after being postponed from the 2020 date because of COVID-19. That means prize purses are twice the original size this time around, as all 55 teams allowed their 2020 fees to roll over into this year and also paid the 2021 entry fees. 
More than $1/2 million has been raised to support conservation at the Refuge in its nine years of existence! Education, wildlife and water research, and overall conservation efforts at the Refuge have benefited from the money raised from this tournament. 

Support comes from our generous sponsors. Sponsorships and donations are the ONLY way the tournament raises philanthropic support. Please say thank you to these businesses and individuals for their support of conservation. 
Title Sponsor

Starting Position

Champion Sponsors


Presenting Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors
Captain Shawn Kelly Charters

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Support the Tarpon Tournament with a gift today and impact the conservation work at the Refuge.  
Free Summer Tours

Watch our events page to sign up for Birding the Refuge and other free weekly tours.
Free summer Refuge tours run from June 20 through August 7 this year. 

There's no set schedule, so monitor our Eventbrite page to see what staff and volunteers are offering each week and to sign up for tours such as Birding the Refuge car caravan tour, Mindfulness Walk at Bailey Tract, Bike Tour, and Beach Walk. Please bring your own binoculars and scopes.
Check out our Summer Tours Flyer.

Tarpon Bay Remains OPEN during Parking Lot Improvements

Construction has begun to upgrade the parking lot at the Refuge's Tarpon Bay Recreation Area. Improvements will make the lot more easily navigable and launching vessels more accessible. Tarpon Bay Explorers, the Refuge recreation concession, will remain open during reconstruction. The ramp will close to motorized launches during a time frame to be determined. Stay tuned to "Ding" on the Wing for updates.

Not All Paper Straws Benefit the Environment
According to a recent report in Environmental Health News, paper straws coated with what are popularly known as "forever chemicals" are not only bad for the environment, but are linked to certain types of cancers and health problems when they build up in the human system. The per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in a variety of products, such as food wrappers, stain-repellent clothes, cosmetics, and furniture.
Greater Sandhill Crane chick
'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.
Location: 7,021 acres; Alturas, California
Totemic fauna: Greater Sandhill Crane, Great Horned Owl, Badger
Great Horned Owl
Visitor tip: The refuge's tour route and walking trail are open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. except on holidays.  

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Rebecca Clemens

Prairie Warblers can be found year-round in Florida's coastal mangroves. Have you seen these brightly colored birds around the Refuge? 

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.
Monitor our COVID-19 page for news of event cancellations or reschedules.

Free Summer Programs - June 20-August 7, 2021

Great American Outdoors Day - August 4, 2021

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

"Ding" Darling Day - October 10, 2021

Niki Butcher Photographic Exhibition - November 15 - December 31, 2021. Sponsored by Wayne & 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 Sierra Hoisington & April Boehnen. 

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