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Ralph Woodring Story Hour brings exhibition to a close

By Staff | Mar 15, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Woodring’s stories were a big hit when he opened the exhibition with Teddy Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand on Jan. 23.

As the Woodring Home 100th Anniversary Exhibition nears its end on March 25 in the Visitor & Education Center at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, native islander Ralph Woodring will present a story hour in the auditorium starting at 1 p.m. on March 24.

Attendees will be able to ask the storyteller questions about his life on Woodring Point and his long family history. The exhibition, hosted by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Woodring home, now encompassed within refuge boundaries.

“We encourage anyone who hasn’t seen the exhibition to come in during its final days, anytime Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is closed due to our lecture series on Fridays,” DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller said. “And even if you have already seen it, you won’t want to miss Ralph’s funny, poignant tales about the pioneering life on Sanibel Island.”

Snacks and lemonade will be available during the story hour. Visitors can purchase exhibition keepsakes – a book and notecards by the late historic photographer Charlie McCullough, who chronicled the Woodring home and family – in the Refuge Nature Store. Profits from the store sales benefit refuge education and research projects.

McCullough’s black-and-white images, along with artifacts from the Woodring home and Sanibel Historical Museum and Village and interpretive signage, comprise the temporary exhibition.

The DDWS and Lee County Conservation 20/20 collaborated in acquiring the 6.56-acre Woodring Point property in 2013 with funds raised by a DDWS capital campaign and through the 20/20 program. The refuge manages the property as part of the “Ding” Darling complex. A similar partnership is underway to raise $3 million toward the purchase of the 68 acres of Sanibel’s pristine Wulfert Bayous.

“We have been so thrilled to host this temporary exhibit, which demonstrates the deep history represented by the Woodring Point property and the strength of partnerships in preserving island history and wildlife habitat,” Miller said.

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive.