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Let’s Go

By Staff | Nov 26, 2019

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge will host a public unveiling of an exhibit makeover and new mural dedicated to the achievements of the Sanibel refuge’s namesake on Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Visitor & Education Center.

A Donuts with “Ding” coffee social will follow.

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling twice won Pulitzer prizes for the political cartoons he penned over 50 years, a great deal of them conservation-related. The updated “Ding” Studio Exhibit recreates his workplace at the Des Moines Register, which carried his cartoons on its front page daily first, before they went into syndication across the United States.

Added enhancements include a “Ding” selfie station, electronic timeline of his life, interactive replications of his drafting table and desk, and never-before-exhibited artifacts from the collection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia.

Visitors can still see examples of his cartoons, a video and the long-barreled swivel gun he received in gratitude for his help in prosecuting hunters who once used such weapons to hunt birds and waterfowl.

A new 127-by-98 mural revolves around an amplification of the first 1935 Duck Stamp, which Darling himself designed. Three-dimensional mallards will appear to be flying out of the stamp. David Williams, of North Carolina, designed and created the mural in a style and method similar to the refuge’s award-winning Visitor & Education Center restrooms and welcome archway he also created.

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