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Refuge plans tour, more for National Wildlife Day

By Staff | Feb 18, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel will offer a free guided bike tour on Feb. 24 from 9 to 11 a.m. as part of its National Wildlife Day activities for the public.

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will mark a national day with activities.

On Feb. 24, the Sanibel refuge will celebrate National Wildlife Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a schedule of free programs at the Visitor & Education Center and more. The team will host a guided bicycle tour, wildlife trivia for all ages and a film screening, with special store discounts offered.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is supporting the programming.

“My interns and I decided to celebrate this special day by drawing attention to and educating people about wildlife and the importance of its preservation,” Conservation Educator Sara Hallas, whose team is organizing the event, said.

National Wildlife Day aims to provide opportunities to learn about endangered species, preservation and conservation efforts. Zoos, aviaries and marine sanctuaries are known for celebrating the day.

At the Sanibel refuge, the day will kick off with a free, four-mile guided bike tour from 9 to 11 a.m. Interested participants should bring their bicycle and helmet and meet at the flagpole in the parking lot.

“There is no cap,” Hallas said. “We welcome as many as possible.”

“They just need to bring their own bikes,” she added.

In the center’s classroom, adults can play “Wildlife Jeopardy” for prizes from noon to 1 p.m. Children can play “Kids’ Wildlife Trivia” for prizes from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; cellular device with data needed.

“Adults in groups can win a gift card to the Nature Store, but if they are playing solo they can win stickers or other goodies from our store,” Hallas said. “Kids can win funny bookmarks, art supplies and stickers from our store.”

The Our Planet film “Coastal Seas” will be shown for free from 2:45 to 3:35 p.m. in the auditorium.

“Everything relies on the ocean, and if it is in trouble, we all are,” Hallas said. “We are celebrating National Wildlife Day to bring awareness to all of our amazing wildlife, and that we need to step up and protect it.”

In addition, the first 20 to show up for the day will receive a 10 percent off coupon to the refuge store.

The public is encouraged to come out.

“Is it always our goal to educate; you can always learn something new. Getting people outside and active is so important, and what a wonderful place to be outdoors,” Hallas said. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity to meet people that have the same passions.”

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 236 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/events.

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