February 25, 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. The posts have become a much-anticipated feature, boosting Facebook numbers to 16,000 followers. 
Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like Oregon or Vermont, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat while you are staying safe at home. 

Thank you to Helen Mildon for sharing these images of birds from her backyard in Ottawa, Canada.

Thank you to Damon Hickey for sharing this image of a Barred Owl from his backyard in Wooster, Ohio.

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.
Donate to help support staff and intern positions at the Refuge.
March 8: International Women's Day

Virtual participants can view a free film that day.
A film about Rachel Carson and the announcement of a new conservation fund for girls will virtually celebrate International Women's Day on March 8 for "Ding" Darling. The global observance, which began in 1911, applauds the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women all over the world. DDWS orchestrates the day's virtual events.

The Dr. Louise Merrimon Perry Conservation Fund for Girls (LMP Fund for Girls) is named for a respected and accomplished woman who donated the land for the Refuge's coastal Perry Tract as a safe haven for wildlife.
As part of its ninth annual "Ding" Darling Film Series, we will air A Sense of Wonder, a 54-minute, award-winning documentary chronicling 
environmental pioneer, biologist Rachel Carson, in the final year of her life. It portrays Carson as she looks back over her dealings with the government, media, and chemical industry upon the release of her then-controversial watershed book, Silent Spring, in 1962. 

Also, in conjunction with International Women's Day, DDWS announces the establishment of a permanent endowed fund honoring the life of Dr. Louise Merrimon Perry, the first woman to donate land to the Refuge, thereby READ MORE

Support women in conservation by making a gift to the LMP fund for girls. In the gift comments_ type LMP Fund
 in support of the LMP Fund for Girls in honor of International Women's Day.

Watch a video to learn more about Perry Tract and Dr. Perry.
Recorded Lectures

Pulitzer winner Jack Davis addressed lecture attendees last week about "The Bald Eagle: Symbol and Species in American History."  The lecture was sponsored by the SW Florida Eagle Cam.
Missed this or previous lectures? Head to our web page the Tuesday following each lecture for the link to a recorded video.
Bailey Tract Parking Lot Paving
Starting March 1 through April 2, the main Bailey Tract parking lot off of Tarpon Bay Road will be closed to all access, including vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Parking is still available for visitors at Smith Pond, off of Island Inn Road.
Intern Thank-You
Environmental Education Intern Patrick Carney recently accepted a new permanent position elsewhere. Before he left, he wrote this letter thanking DDWS for its support of his internship.
To the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society,
    Half a lifetime ago, I first visited the island of Sanibel and the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge with my family. I was only 11 years old at the time, but I was already devoted to birding and nature photography, and the beauty of the Refuge had a big impact on me. Fast forward to May 2020. I was about to graduate college, and I had just come across an awesome-sounding position at the "Ding" Darling! I wasted no time applying, READ MORE
Learn more about Refuge internship programs. DDWS supports more than a dozen interns each year. 

Solar Power at the Refuge

The Refuge recently installed an interpretative sign about its solar power initiative in the parking lot of the Visitor & Education Center. It tells how the Refuge has lightened its carbon footprint (and power costs) by switching to solar power, and tells you how you can do the same.
Solar power negates climate change: In the year 2020, the Visitor & Education Center's solar system produced 86.3 MWh of power. That equates to running a 100-watt light bulb for 99 years or a refrigerator for 53 years. It is the carbon offset equivalent of saving 1,562 trees. 
Remember, profits from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs, wildlife research, and overall conservation efforts.
Refuge Continues Free Seasonal Tours

Register now for a free guided tour at the Refuge
The Refuge has received the greenlight on offering socially distanced tours of 10 people or less. There's no set schedule, so monitor the Eventbrite page to see what staff and volunteers are currently offering and to sign up for tours. Please bring your own binoculars and scopes. 

Upcoming Tours:
  • Today, February 25, at 2 p.m.: Bailey Tract Tour
  • Saturday, February 27, at 2 p.m.: Indigo Trail Walk
  • Sunday, February 28, at 9:30 a.m.: Beach Walk
  • Monday, March 1, at 9:30 a.m.: Biking the Refuge Tour
  • Friday, March 26, at 11 a.m.: Guided Mindfulness Tour at Bailey Tract
 Tour Guidelines: 
  • Masks and social-distancing adherence are mandatory for all tours.
  • Tours are led outside, but since 6 feet cannot be maintained while tour is conducted, masks are required.
  • Tours will not be conducted if guidelines are not met by all participants.
  • Tour guide has the right to terminate tour if deemed unsafe.
  • Call for more information: 239-472-1100 ext. 221
 Check out our Free Tours Flyer

Philanthropic support in the form of sponsorships makes a big difference in what we can raise to support conservation education efforts, particularly during this time of Covid-19 and virtual events. 
Thanks to those sponsors who are already supporting our fundraising event listed below.  Please consider joining with them to support conservation at the Refuge:

Call of the Wild Sponsors

 Champion Sponsors

Guardian Sponsor

Protector Sponsors

Defender Sponsors

'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. 

This week, as we get ready to honor world-famous environmentalist Rachel Carson for International Women's Day, we visit the refuge named for her.

Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Location9,125 acres in Wells, Maine 
Totemic FaunaPiping Plover, New England Cottontail, Saltmarsh Sparrow
Visitor's Tip:  The refuge tidal flats offer opportunities for recreational shellfishing. Town licenses are required and all refuge, state, and town shellfishing regulations apply.

New England Cottontail
Saltmarsh Sparrow

March 5 Art Journal Walks Canceled

Fort Myers artist Rachel Pierce leads the monthly Journal Art Walk down Indigo Trail.
The March 5 Artist-in-Residence Journal Walks have been canceled for the artist to help out with a different "Ding" Darling project. (Thank you, Rachel!) The next walks are scheduled for Friday, April 2. To ensure social distancing, each timeslot is limited to 10 participants, so make your free reservation for 10 a.m., 11 a.m., or noon. The walks include a free journal and pencil to start your nature sketching off. Facemasks are required.

Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Lesley Husband
Snowy Egrets have been spotted along Wildlife Drive. 

Snowy Egrets often wade in shallow water to catch fish. Typically, they wait silently for prey to swim by and then spear it with their long, slender beak.

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.
Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding - March 31, 2021

Lecture SeriesThrough March 19, 2021

Free Refuge Tours - Through April 11, 2021

Virtual Film Series  - Through April 12, 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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