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"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter

November 24, 2016
In This Issue
SCCF staff testing monitoring equipment funded by DDWS in 2014

'Ding' Water Quality Research Sees Results

Thanks to research conclusions from monitoring equipment funded by "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society in 2014, a Sanibel water quality partnership has installed a one-way flow gate that will prevent freshwater outflow into Refuge bay waters. The City of Sanibel, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) , and the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club worked cooperatively with DDWS to stem the flow of water in and out of the Dunes' community lakes.

Thanks to the monitoring equipment, biologists were able to assess a heavy outflow of freshwater into Tarpon Bay that could cause algal bloom. The one-way gate, installed this October, promises to alleviate the problem and improve Refuge water quality.

Go Wild Registration OPEN

Make plans to attend the fifth annual fundraiser for the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society on Wednesday,  February 8, 2017 , at the Sanibel Community House. This year's  Go Wild for "Ding" - Give a Hoot theme continues a series of bird-themed events to benefit the birds, other wildlife, and conservation and education efforts at the Refuge. Attendance is by reservation only. Click HERE  to register today. This event sells out fast, so don't wait. For more information on Go Wild,

Carolyn Linehan came in third place last year with her "Sssssss."
The fourth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest is off and running with a deadline of January 15, 2017. The contest invites h igh school students in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties to comp ete for prizes that include a Canon digital SLR camera package, chartered class trips to the Refuge, and copies of  Waterbirds READ MORE
Don't forget about end of year giving!  Click the image below to donate today. All gifts are tax-deductible and make a real difference at the Refuge!
Anhinga feasting photo by Christine Kliewer.
Did You Know?
A nickname of an anhinga is water turkey due to their fanned tail feathers while swimming underwater. The anhinga pictured caught her fishy feast for thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving closures
So that we can celebrate the holiday with our families, the Visitor & Education Center will be closed today ( Thursday). Wildlife Drive remains open, however.  As always, Wildlife Drive will be closed on Friday. 

May all of the season's blessings be yours this Thanksgiving holiday and throughout the coming year.  Thank you for your interest in and support of wildlife. 
Saturday, November 26

Kids win prizes based on total inches of fish they catch and release.
Kids who are able to hold their own fishing pole may participate in the
FREE  fifth annual 
"Ding" Darling Kids Fishing Derby to be held at the Sanibel Causeway Islands Park (Island A, closest to the mainland) on Saturday, November 26, 2016 -- part of this year's Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit at the Refuge. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on the  READ MORE

Wednesday, November 23
Wednesdays are
Film Fest Day - sponsored by LCEC -- during Water/Ways. On November 30, catch  Chasing Ice at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. The 75-minute film tells the story of one man's mission to turn the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. It follows acclaimed environmental photographer 
James Balog during a bold expedition he termed The Extreme READ MORE

While you are visiting the Water/Ways exhibit, check out the  Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild's 52-artist "Engulfed" art show.
DDWS Associate Director Sarah Lathrop introduced speaker/photographer John Moran to a full house last week. Our speaker series ends December 2. See  details below


Friday, December 2

Panel Discussion "Water: Have We Missed the Boat" 
In 1923, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Jay "Ding" Darling penned this prophetic political cartoon titled "What Man Does To One Of the Most Beautiful Gifts Of Nature - The River." CLICK HERE to see the cartoon enlarged.
T he final in the Water/Ways Soak-It-In Speaker Series features local water quality experts, who will present an interactive panel discussion titled
"Water: Have We Missed the Boat" on Friday, December 2, at 1 p.m. DDWS Board member and state co-chair of the Everglades Coalition , Mike Baldwin will moderate the discussion, which includes key players and researchers in local water management and READ MORE
Saturday, December 3
WaterVentures Florida's Learning Lab will make a one-day stop at the Refuge during Water/Ways on  Saturday, December 3. The 53-foot traveling science center features enriching and engaging activities that offer a hands-on look at Florida's diverse watersheds, water conservation, and  READ MORE

For a full calendar of Water/Ways activities, please click here.
Teacher Conservation Grants Awarded
The DDWS Education Committee awarded $10,000 in teacher conservation grants on Tuesday.

This week, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society awarded $10,000 in grants to conservation education-related projects at 10 different schools in Lee and Collier counties.
Teachers submitted grant applications to the DDWS Environmental Education Committee. The committee chose awards based on need and relevance to READ MORE

Thanks for Giving

Plan NOW to shop for the holidays!

Sandhill cranes coming in for a landing at Bosque del Apache NWR 


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. This week, Refuge friend Dale Dombrowski shares images and information from Bosque del Apache NWR, which just celebrated its annual Festival of the Cranes.

Location: 57,000 acres along the Rio Grande near San Antonio, Texas

Totemic Fauna :  Sandhill Crane, Ross Goose, and Snow Goose
Photos by Dale Dombrowski

Fun for the Family : The refuge gives free guided tours on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Visitor's Tip : You don't need to attend the crane festival to experience the sensation of a nightly "fly-in," when thousands of cranes and geese return to the refuge's lakes.
They will love finding these under the tree

Let them bring their favorite animals to life with our new hand puppets.
Holiday Gifts for the Kids

This holiday season, give a gift that says "learning." For the little ones,we have adorable plush hand puppets of pelicans, owls, turtles, dolphins, and other Refuge creatures. Prices vary. The older kids can do their own experiments with our science kits - priced from $18 to $29. Choose from Robot Duck, Tin Can Robot, Solar Rover, and Insectoid.

New Gift Card Available
Now, for the easiest possible "Ding" gift-giving, we present the Refuge Nature Store giftcard. Purchase one in any amount from $25 up. 
To order cards, kids gifts, and other items by mail,  email  or call 239-472-1100 ext. 241

Remember, proceeds from all Nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs and wildlife research.

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit - Through December 7, 20 16
Kids Fishing Derby - November 28, 2016
Happy Hour Holiday Shopping - November 30, 2016
DDWS Annual Meeting - December 7, 2016
Special Osprey Lecture  - December 15, 2016
Biweekly Wednesday Film Series (Sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts)  - January 4-April 12, 2017
Weekly Friday Lecture Series - (Sponsored by HighTower/Thomas and Swartz Wealth Management January 20-April 14, 2017
Go Wild for "Ding" - February 8, 2017
Volunteer Awards Luncheon - February 10, 2017

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Guarino
American Bittern seen at "Ding"
Photo courtesy of Bob Pelkey

Two exciting sightings on the Refuge this week: on the left a rare photo of an American Bittern at the Bailey Tract and on the right a yawning White Pelican. Maybe he's a little sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner?

   T o see more wildlife photos like these, click on our social media links:

Like us on Facebook  View on Instagram
or go to the Society website to view the  live webcam!

If  you have taken any beautiful, interesting,  or just plain goofy photos taken at the Refuge, send them to  Carrie Alexander  for a chance to be featured in upcoming newsletters.

These are just snapshots of some of the things taking place at your Wildlife Refuge.  Please check our website at  www.dingdarlingsociety.org to learn more!

Birgit Miller, Executive Director

"Ding" On The Wing composed by Chelle Koster Walton.  Designed by Sarah Lathrop, Emily Koval, and Sierra Hoisington.

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