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Conservation Art Day draws big crowd to refuge

By Staff | Oct 28, 2011
Cartoonist Dave Horton draws a portrait for Ambrynn Julius during Conservation Art Day at the J.N. “Ding” Daring National Wildlife Refuge, which celebrated its 22nd annual “Ding” Days last week.
Arlie and Arlan Won visit “Ding” Days for the first time. Their favorite exhibit is the changing refuge.
Mark and Olivia Shapick enjoy Conservation Art Day with their dad Rick Shapick.
Ambrynn Julius, 6, shows off her portrait created by cartoonist Dave Horton, who was at the refuge in celebration of the weeklong “Ding” Days event. Ambrynn also took home honorable mention in the 2011 Florida Junior Duck Stamp Contest with her drawing of a Drake Mallard. She was the youngest in her group, which was kindergarten through third grade.

The weeklong “Ding” Days event wrapped up Saturday with Conservation Art Day. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge visitors received a full day of free admission to Wildlife Drive, and all events at the education center were also free of charge.

Wildlife cartoonist Dave Horton drew portraits for the first 50 guests and Sanibel School art educator Jaye Boswell hosted a drawing skill workshop with free sketch journals. In addition, the recognition and awards ceremony for the 2011 Florida Junior Duck Stamp Contest was held with four-time winner James Hautman addressing the crowd.

Jaye Boswell started the JDS program in 1989 at the Sanibel Elementary School. It now encompasses all 50 states and more than 50,000 students participate each year. The Florida JDS contest had 791 entries from more than 31 different schools and home-schools this year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tarpon Bay Explorers and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge presented the 22nd annual “Ding” Days with sponsors like Doc Ford’s Sanibel, Ocean’s Reach, Sundial, Royal Shell, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, ‘Tween Waters Inn and Bailey’s shopping center, among others.