January 7, 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.  
These gifts were made to DDWS in honor of and in memory of friends and families during December 2020. Thank you to everyone who supported the Refuge in this thoughtful and meaningful way. Make a memorial or honor donation here.
Whether you live on Sanibel Island or in a completely different environment in faraway places like Ohio or Washington State, we want to see what you're seeing in your habitat while you are staying safe at home. 
Thank you to Sandy Salzman from Cape Coral for sharing this image of caterpillars from her backyard.

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.
High School Photo Contest Deadline extended to February 15

Contest namesake Theodore Cross

The deadline for the eighth annual "Ding" Darling-Theodore Cross High School Photography Contest has been extended to February 15, 2021. It invites high school students in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties to compete for prizes that include a Canon digital SLR camera package, chartered class trips to the Refuge, and copies of Waterbirds: Portraits and Anecdotes from Birding Adventures by contest namesake, the late Theodore Cross.  
    Guidelines and prize information are posted online. Call DDWS at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 for READ MORE

Native Miami Latina artist Emily Alvarez at work on the label for Wild Daze Pilsner
The "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society had hoped to toast the Refuge's 75th Anniversary last December with a privately labeled pilsner beer in partnership with Fort Myers Brewing Company. However, aluminum shortages due to COVID-19 have pushed that brand unveiling to late 2021, in time to celebrate DDWS' 40th anniversary. Profits from sales of Wild Daze Pilsner will benefit wildlife research, education, and conservation at the Refuge.

"For the new year, we're announcing a new beer," said DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller. "We have a lot to celebrate in 2021, and Wild Daze promises to add sparkle to the celebration. We thank Fort Myers Brewing Company for this spirited collaboration."

JJ Taylor Companies will distribute canned Wild Daze Pilsner throughout Southwest Florida to restaurants, bars, and stores. The special brew will be available with a limited window READ MORE

Check out ABC7's announcement of our Wild Daze beer. 
January 20: Virtual Film Series Kick Off

Crew members of The Smog of the Sea found microplastics outweigh the seriousness of plastic garbage patches in our seas.
The ninth annual "Ding" Darling Film Series will adapt to distancing and pandemic safety protocols with virtual airings and follow-up discussions via Zoom. It kicks off on Wednesday, January 20, with The Smog of the Sea, a 30-minute documentary chronicling a week-long journey to the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea in search of the legendary plastic "garbage patches."
The film is available for viewing anytime that day, with a Zoom virtual discussion scheduled for 5 p.m. Pre-registration for the film and discussion are required; watch next week's "Ding" on the Wing email bulletin for directions. Registration details will also be available by Friday on the film series web page

Bailey's General Store wine buyer Calli Johnson has recommended a wine pairing of Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy while watching the film and with the discussion.  "The vineyard for this wine is in Santa Barbara, just 20 miles from the ocean," says 

Check out the film series flyer.

Love this film? Our Nature Store staff recommends these fun, related buys: Bees Wrap, Chica Bags, and Jabebo Studio earrings made from recyclable materials.
Thanks to our 2021 Film Series Sponsor!
Spoonie Activity Contest

In partnership with our 2019 Artist in Residence Ed Anderson and West Mountain Drifters, we are holding a contest for kids ages 14 and younger beginning today, Thursday, January 7. Follow the instructions for downloading, completing, and submitting the Roseate Spoonbill Activity Sheet to win fun prizes. The Roseate Spoonbill is one of the most-loved and beautiful birds at "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Decorate yours however you wish to share on social media.
Artist-in-Residence Programs in Swing

"Ding"-inspired art by Rachel Pierce
"Ding" Darling's 2021 artist in residence, Rachel Pierce, has kicked off a series of free biweekly, plein-air art demonstrations and monthly Friday Art Journal Walks at the Refuge. Today, January 7, she will be painting live along Wildlife Drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and tomorrow, January 8, she will lead a free Art Journal Walk for the first 10 people to meet at 10 a.m. at the Visitor & Education Center flagpole.

Meet Rachel Pierce during her pop-up, plein-air art demonstrations along Wildlife Drive.
DDWS supports the season of nature-art events, which will also include outreach visits to underserved youth organizations and a grand finale exhibition.

See our
flyer for details on Rachel's appearances. Donate to support free educational programs such as this at the Refuge.

Remember, profits from all nature Store sales go directly to the Refuge for educational programs, wildlife research and overall conservation efforts. Shop and make a difference!
Refuge Status Update Logo USFWS
Staff is taking extra precautions to keep staff, volunteers, and visitors safe at "Ding" Darling.
     The Refuge has announced changes to scheduling due to the lingering effects of the pandemic. Until further notice, the Visitor & Education Center will be closed every Sunday. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the front desk and Refuge Nature Store will be open in the Center. All exhibits remain closed.
     The Center's restrooms will stay open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wildlife Drive will continue with its seasonal schedule of Saturday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tarpon Bay Explorers recreation concession tours and rentals will operate according to their regular schedule.  Stay up-to-date on Refuge news and events at our COVID-19 page.
 Resolve to Reduce Plastic
Let's all resolve to make 2021 a greener year by cleaning up our bad plastic habits. Here are five easy steps:

1. Kick the bottle. Use reusable drinking containers for water and other beverages you carry with you. In most cases, the beverage tastes better and stays colder (or hotter for winter beverages). 
2. Invest in reusable shopping bags and keep them handy in your car so you don't forget to take them into stores with you.

3. Shop for food storage wraps and containers that you can use over and over again.

4. Avoid exfoliants and other beauty products that contain microplastic beads.

5. When possible, pass up on the one-time use products that contain plastic, such as facemasks, drinking straws, styrofoam cups, and cleaning supplies.

'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. 
American Redstart. Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Location17,000 acres; refuge headquarters east of Boonville, Missouri.
Totemic FaunaAmerican Redstart, Wild Turkey, Beaver
Visitor's TipMostly located along the final 367 miles of the Missouri River, the refuge encompasses 17 separate units and offers a variety of educational and recreational opportunities.
Image courtesy of Steve Hillebrand
Wild Turkeys. Image courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Click HERE to see this week's wildlife sightings.

Photo by Rebecca Clemens

That feeling when you eat too much and can't move...

Did you know River Otters have a fast metabolism so they eat frequently throughout the day? They typically feed on fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, birds' eggs, birds, and reptiles.

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 https://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/covid-19 for news of event cancellations or reschedules.

Volunteer Training - January 14, 2021

Virtual Film Series - January 20-April 12, 2021   

Lecture Series-January 29-March 19, 2021

Go Wild for Jeopar-Ding - TBA

Earth Day at the Refuge - April 22, 2021

Artist-in-Residence Exhibition - October 1 - November 15, 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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