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30th annual 'Ding' Darling Days scheduled for October

July 24, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

This year's "Ding" Darling Days birding and eco-festival will take place Oct. 12-14 at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

New this year, the Cool Kids Zone on Sunday Family Fun Day will provide activities in the Visitor & Education Center, so families can come in to cool off. It will include puppet shows, story and crafts, DIY nature crafts, face-painting and a selfie photo station.

Let's Get Outside Day kicks off the 30th annual celebration on Oct. 12 with free admission to the Wildlife Drive for cyclists and hikers and various free and discounted tours and eco-activities.

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Family Fun Day tops off the weekend of Oct. 12-14 with free activities inside and outside of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge's Visitor & Education Center on Sanibel.

Conservation Art Day follows on Oct. 13 with visits from the Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp winners and nature art workshops.

Family Fun Day culminates the weekend with free activities on Oct. 14. It will feature all-free refuge tours, live wildlife presentations, archery clinics, hot dogs, live music and children's nature crafts.

"Because of increasing budget cuts and staff reductions, we are shortening this year's eco-festival from one week to three weekend days," Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said.

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The 30th annual "Ding" Darling Days celebrates the birthday of the refuge's namesake, father of the Federal Duck Stamp program and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Jay N. "Ding" Darling.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge and Tarpon Bay Explorers cosponsor "Ding" Darling Days with support from the community and businesses.

For more information, visit or sign up for e-mail update bulletins.

Interested sponsors can contact Sarah Lathrop at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or



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