April 29, 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 Rhode Island or Montana, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat.

Thank you to Jeff Buchta from Neenah, Wisconsin.

Thank you to John Heywood from 
Worthington, Ohio.

Please email your nature photos so we can share them with others. Include details about the photographer and where the photo was taken.
Click the logos to learn how to support conservation at the Refuge in your estate plans or how to become an OMG member
May 5: Sanibel Prescribed Burns Meeting
Refuge staff invites the public to a virtual informational meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 starting at 5:30p.m. to discuss the burn plans and address any questions or concerns.  Access to this meeting is through Zoom .  When forecasted conditions are favorable, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Task Force will issue further notification that READ MORE
WoW Visits Lehigh Senior High
April 12-15, our Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) urban mobile classroom visited Lehigh Senior High School, its first high school visit. The Education Team created new lab stations and curriculum to target the age group, including live experiments. Using Florida State Standards, the experiments made WoW more engaging for student learning.
"Let me please emphasize that it was truly amazing and on target for learning goals and outcomes at the high school level," wrote environmental science teacher Julie Ross. Read more of her letter praising WoW.

Donate to support the refuge's mission of conservation education and outreach to reach people of all ages to learn and appreciate the value of preserving and protecting our wild spaces for the wildlife and future generations.   
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.

Youth Conservation Corps (YCC)

The Refuge is hiring one high school student for its annual Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) summer program. The student will assist with maintenance and administrative support. Deadline for applying is 4 p.m. Monday, May 3, 2021.

The YCC program targets young men and women, ages 15 through 18, to provide them with a valuable work-earn-learn experience. The student is required to work a minimum of eight weeks between READ MORE

At the onset of pandemic lockdown in 2020, DDWS and Refuge staff quickly pivoted to keep our Refuge fans engaged and learning about nature. We created our #DingatHome web page and virtual experiences five days a week on Facebook Live.
We also loaded the page with craft activities for students learning at home, and now we have added the 2021 Lecture Series videos to the page. Visit today for #DingatHome archived activities built on themes such as Movement Monday and Wildlife Wednesday. Find worksheets and coloring pages. And tune into the lectures you may have missed this past season, featuring speakers from Clyde Butcher to Feather Thief author Kirk Johnson.

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

Make Mother's and Father's Day cards and other projects with Rachel.
On May 6, at 10 and 11 a.m., Artist-in-Residence Rachel Pierce will help sons and daughters (and grandsons and granddaughters) create artistic Mother's Day cards for free, outdoors at the Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Participation is limited to 10 pre-registered guests for each session.
Watch the Artist-in-Residence web page for news of other upcoming events and activities with Rachel, including
making Father's Day cards and Summer Thursdays projects with the artist.
Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.
                    Earth Day at the Refuge
Taking Earth Day entirely outside this year brought excitement and surprises. Visitors participated in paint-alongs, tours, a new Junior Ranger Program, and trash pick-up. All hikers and cyclists toured Wildlife Drive for free, and some had the cool surprise of watching CROW release a Bald Eagle at Wulfert Keys. 

"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make."  -Jane Goodall
Artist in Residence Rachel Pierce led Paint-a-Spoonbill paint-alongs.
This three-year-old from Wisconsin was so excited to receive her Junior Ranger badge from Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland.
Birders took a guided tour of Indigo Trail and Wildlife Drive.

Ranger Katy Hosokawa led a Mindfulness Walk at Bailey Tract.

CROW releases a rehabilitated Bald Eagle at the Refuge
Tarpon Tournament 2021
This week we want to welcome Costa Del Mar as a Gold Level Sponsor.  Special thanks to all of our sponsors, who make this tournament possible with 100% of entry fees going back to the winning teams.
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.  Although the tournament is sold out, teams can add their names to the waiting list by contacting April Boehnen. Fee for a new team of four is $1,000 this year.
More than $1/2 million raised to support conservation at the Refuge! In its nine years of existence, the tourney has raised more than $550,000 to support education, wildlife and water research, and conservation efforts at the Refuge. 

Support comes from our generous sponsors. Learn more about sponsorship and contact April to add your name to this prestigious list. 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

Happy Arbor Day!
April 30 marks National Arbor Day, a perfect time to plant a tree. Not only do trees beautify your surroundings and provide shelter and nourishment for birds and other wildlife, they help slow climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

Calculate how many trees you need to offset your carbon footprint. 
'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. 
Lewis's Woodpecker
Images courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Location: 2,800 acres, Missoula, Montana
Totemic fauna: Lewis's Woodpecker, Sandhill Crane, 60 species of butterflies
Visitor tip: Visitors can access the refuge via Wildfowl Lane. The Kenai Nature Trail is also a good place for wildlife viewing.  

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Rebecca Clemens

Sometimes you just need to find a friend who will play tag with you! Reddish Egrets love to show off their "dancing" skills while hunting for their next meal. Have you seen these graceful dancers?

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.

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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