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Island Reporter to honor ‘Ding’ with monthly cartoon series

By Staff | Jun 18, 2019
PHOTO PROVIDED Darling published some 15,000 editorial cartoons that chronicled the history and trends of the nation for more than 50 years.
PHOTO PROVIDED Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling

In partnership with the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, the Island Reporter will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge by honoring its roots in the noble profession of newspaper editorial cartooning.

Starting this week, through Dec. 1, 2020 – the refuge’s official anniversary – the publication will run a monthly historical editorial cartoon penned by Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, who twice won the Pulitzer Prize for his thousands of cartoons that appeared in the Des Moines Register in the early 1900s and was syndicated in 150 dailies across the country.

We start with a cartoon about one of Darling’s favorite subjects: ducks. Although an avid sportsman himself, he expressed in this cartoon his concern for the overhunting of ducks, which led to his creation of the Federal Duck Stamp program in 1935.

Titled “The way the world must look to a duck” and published on April 15, 1909, the cartoon recognized the need to create legislation and refuge habitat to protect migrating birds. Considered prophetic in his time about issues that would affect the nation and the world, Darling later laid the foundation – as chief of the precursor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – for the national wildlife refuge system, which today oversees more than 560 refuges.

To learn more about Darling, his work and legacy, watch future Island Reporter issues for the new monthly feature. For more information on the refuge’s anniversary celebration, visit www.ding75.org.