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Refuge getting ready to celebrate ‘Ding’ Days in October

By Staff | Sep 29, 2010


This year for the 21st Annual “Ding” Darling Days, to be held Oct. 17-23,  J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island adds a free photography workshop aboard the Refuge tram.


Family Fun Day on Sunday, Oct. 17, kicks off the week’s festivities at the refuge with free live wildlife presentations, a butterfly house and touch tank, kids’ nature crafts, face painting, hot dogs, giveaways, and more.


Conservation Art Day will bring the weeklong “Ding” Days 2010 to a close on Saturday, Oct. 23. Activities will include family nature art workshops, cartooning, and the first-ever free tram photography workshop for the first 30 who sign up that day at the tram booth in the refuge parking lot.


A presentation and stamp-signing by the current Federal Duck Stamp Artist Robert Bealle, who bested nearly 300 top wildlife artists to win the annual contest, is Conservation Art Day’s feature event. The Florida Junior Duck Stamp contest winner will join him.


Admission to Wildlife Drive is free to everyone on both Oct. 17 and Oct. 23, and free to hikers and bikers on Friday, Oct. 22. (Wildlife Drive is closed to vehicular traffic on Fridays.)


The days between the two events are filled with free biking and birding tours and discounted kayaking and boat excursions through Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreation concession.


“’Ding’ Days is our way of celebrating National Wildlife Refuge week, when refuges around the country encourage people to get outdoors and experience their refuges,” said Toni Westland, supervisory refuge ranger and “Ding” Days committee co-chair.


For more information and a complete schedule of events, log on to www.dingdarlingdays.com.