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"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter

December 1, 2016
In This Issue
Register Today for Go Wild, February 8
Click  HERE to register for the annual DDWS fundraiser to benefit Refuge wildlife and education to register today. This event sells out fast, so don't wait. 
For more information on Go Wild, click  HERE .

A Canon digital SLR camera package is one of the prizes in the contest.
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 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 READ MORE
Fishing Derby Breaks Records

A whopping 100 kids ages 15 and y ounger competed Saturday in the fifth annual "Ding" Darling Kids Fishing Derby  on the Sanibe l C auseway  - compared to
last year's 5 0 participants. The Refuge and "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society hosted the free event as a part of the Smithsonian Water/Ways traveling exhibit.  Lee County Parks & Recreation, Sanibel Island Fishing Club, The Historic Bait Box, and Trophy Case of Fort Myers also supported the derby.
Boat Ramp Closed

The Refuge has closed the Tarpon Bay Recreation Area boat launch due to limited parking space during construction of the new onsite Marine Lab. The Refuge is funding the construction and providing access to Tarpon Bay in partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, which will outfit the lab and collaborate with its research to help alleviate "Ding" biology staff cuts (down to one full-time biologist).

The ramp will remain closed until further  notice, after Marine Lab construction is finished, which is slated for fall 2017. Recreation concession Tarpon Bay Explorers  will remain open as usual during the construction, offering naturalist-guided tours, cruises, charters, gift shopping, and  canoe, kayak, boat, and bike rentals.
Year-End Giving

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!
Jeremy Conrad
'Ding' Biology Team Helping Key Deer

Matt Grassi

As the National Key Deer Refuge fights to save the Florida Keys' adorable, diminutive deer population from extinction, "Ding Darling staff does its part for the effort against screw worm infestation. (Click  HERE  to see a recent NBC Nightly News report about the scourge). Refuge Biologist Jeremy Conrad recently visited to lend a hand with inoculation and other efforts. Biology Intern Matt Grassi has been hired as a temporary position to assist in these efforts as well. Congratulations, Matt!
We wrap up our final week of the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit with a splash. Please make sure to see the hands-on exhibit before its Wednesday, December 7, finale.

Tomorrow, December 2
The 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. Mike Baldwin, DDWS board member and state co-chair of the   Everglades Coalition , will moderate the discussion, which includes key players and researchers in local water management and   READ MORE
Panelists Mitch Hutchcraft, governing board member of the South Florida Water Management District; Cara Capp, Everglades restoration program manager with the National Parks Conservation Association; Rae Ann Wessel, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation natural resource policy director; and Dr.
Mike Baldwin, DDWS Board member and co-chair of the Everglades Coalition, will moderate. 
Jerry Lorenz, state research director for Audubon Florida, member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, and founding member of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resou rces Council.
This week is your last chance to see the Smithsonian's first-of-its-kind WaterWays exhibit at the Refuge.

, December 3
WaterVentures Florida's Learning Lab makes a one-day stop at the Refuge during Water/Ways on Saturday, December 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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

Wednesday , December 7
We conclude our free weekly Wednesday film festival, sponsored by LCEC, with Shark Water. The film will show at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. on December 7 in the Visitor & Education Center. The award-winning documentary follows a true-life adventure involving shark slaughter, pirates, gunboat chases, and corrupt READ MORE
Tarpon Tourney Registration Opens Today

Click HERE  to register for the 50 available boat spots to compete in the sixth annual "Ding" Darling & Doc Ford's Tarpon Tournament on Friday, May 19. Gold sponsors and above receive priority for registration. Please email to become a sponsor or check here for details.

  Wood Stork photographed at the Bailey Tract by Sylvia Guarino

Photo by Aaron Kirk

Photo by Aaron Kirk

Black Legless Lizard, courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Refuge Spotlight - 'America's Best-Kept Secret'

CORRECTION: Last week we mistakenly located 
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge  near San Antonio, Texas. It belongs in San Antonio, New Mexico.

Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge
Smith's Blue Butterfly photo by Dale Hameister

Location: 367 acres 13 miles north of Monterey, California

Totemic Fauna :  Smith's Blue Butterfly and Black Legless Lizard

Fun for the Family : Surf fishing for striped bass and surfperch on the beach

Visitor's Tip : The refuge has no restrooms, drinking
water, or picnic facilities -- so be prepared.

Photo by Aric Crabb
As temperatures begin to inch downward, it's time to layer up in long-sleeve apparel with a "Ding" theme. Warm up with our crew-neck sweatshirts featuring embroidered Refuge icons. The sea turtle sweatshirt comes in 
forest green or blue. We also carry a forest green snook and navy blue roseate spoonbill version, each $25.  
                                           Our new long-sleeved, women's microfiber camo shirts are 
attractive and pr actical for all weather  and outdoor activities. They come in teal or lavender for $42.95 each.

To order your cold-weather attire 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.
Black skimmers are among the species whose habitat the Wulfert Road property acquisition will benefit. Photo by Terry Baldwin
Help Save 
the Island

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society has undertaken a campaign to acquire 8.15 acres on Sanibel Island's Wulfert Road as a crucial wildlife corridor for the "Ding" Darling Refuge. We must raise $2 million in private funds to purchase the parcel, which lies between SCCF land and the Refuge. Donors have already committed $600,000 of needed funds, so the goal is to raise the remaining dollars by February 2017. If not preserved by the Refuge, the land could be developed with as many as five dwellings and READ MORE

For more information, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller 
at 239-292-0566 or by email.

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit - Through December 7, 20 16
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 Al Hoffacker
Photo courtesy of Sylvia Guarino

Two interesting perspectives of local residents here at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge: On the left, a group of Willets is taking advantage of a lower tide at the Refuge. On the right, two Redfish show the unmistakable spot-marker on the base of their tail.

   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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