homepage logo

‘Ding’ Darling lecture hails generous Americans who preserved wilderness

By Staff | Mar 12, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Author Tom Butler wrote “Wildlands Philosophy: The Great American Tradition.”

In the oversized, richly illustrated coffee table compendium “Wildlands Philosophy: The Great American Tradition,” author Tom Butler tells the stories of dozens of generous conservation-minded Americans who have helped save the nation’s wilderness.

As part of the 2018 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series, he will present a free program on March 16 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Visitor & Education Center at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Vice president for conservation advocacy for Tompkins Conservation and past board president of Northeast Wilderness Trust regional land trust, Butler is a longtime conservation activist focused on wilderness and biodiversity.

On the heels of “Plundering Appalachia,” “The Tragedy of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining,” “Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World out of Balance” and his other books, “Wildlands Philosophy” tells tales of struggle and success. Butler said he found both inspiration and a greater appreciation for the way protected areas have richly affected the American experience, offering blessings of beauty, wildness and hope to future generations.

He will sign copies of his book, available in the refuge’s Nature Store, following each lecture.

PHOTO PROVIDED “Wildlands Philosophy: The Great American Tradition”

Proceeds from the store’s sales directly benefit refuge wildlife, education and research.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 12-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. The free lectures are held each Friday.

The season’s remaining schedule is listed below; some include book signings:

– March 23: Photographer-sound recordist Gerrit Vyn, “The Living Bird: 100 Years of Listening to Nature”*

– March 30: Artist and author Dawn and Blair Witherington, “Florida’s Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber”*

– April 6: Mote Marine Researcher Dr. Erinn Muller, “Coral Restoration”

– April 13: Avian researcher Dr. Kenneth Meyer, “Swallow-tailed Kites: 10,000 Miles to Survival”

*book signing to follow

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save one seat extra each with a personal item and then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time.

As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the free Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel.