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‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society hires executive director ‘Birgie’ Vertesch

By Staff | Aug 30, 2010

Recently, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society announced the hiring of Birgit "Birgie" Vertesch as its inaugural executive director.


“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) recently announced the appointment of Birgit “Birgie” Vertesch as its first-ever executive director.


“Due to federal budget shortcomings, the refuge’s ‘wish list’ of projects continues to be woefully underfunded,” said Jim Scott, DDWS president. “It became abundantly clear to the Society Board that we needed to take a bold step to support the mission of the refuge in the areas of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, and public education. The obvious answer was to hire a dynamic executive director to focus on our immediate needs as well as our long-term goals.”


Vertesch, a 10-year Sanibel resident and former DDWS board member, comes to DDWS from her previous position as Senior Director of Development & Planned Giving for Lee Memorial Health System Foundation in Fort Myers. She previously served as Director of Development for C.R.O.W. (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) and brings nearly 20 years of non-profit experience.


“We on the Society board feel extremely fortunate that Birgie has agreed to undertake this challenging role and work with us to strengthen our mission,” added Scott.


“I feel privileged to be working on a mission that was such a vital part of Jay Norwood ‘Ding’ Darling’s life,” said Vertesch, who will oversee all facets of DDWS administration and philanthropic endeavors. “As ’Ding’ Darling himself said so many years ago: ‘How rich will we be when we have converted all our forests, our soil, our water resources, and our minerals into cash?’ This refuge, and the entire National Wildlife Refuge system is essential to our way of life, and I look forward to supporting this refuge in preserving our precious natural resources.”


As a non-profit 501C-3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research and public education. 

To join DDWS and support the refuge, stop in at the Refuge Education Center, visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Vertesch by phone at 239-292-0566 or via e-mail at director@dingdarlingsociety.org.