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Virtual ‘Ding’ Baby Bird Shower raising needed funds for refuge

By Staff | Jul 21, 2020

CHRIS GUTIERREZ Yellow-crowned chick

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge is holding an online fundraiser to help support the refuge, which is missing out on critical financial support as a result of COVID-19.

The DDWS kicked off the Virtual “Ding” Baby Bird Shower on July 14, with the funds raised going toward sustaining wildlife, research and education at the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

“The whole idea of it was kind of behind the fact that COVID has not only taken so much from us in how we live our lives now, but we’ve missed a lot of big events,” Development Officer Sierra Hoisington said. “We know it is still bad out there, but we wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces.”

And with the refuge’s visitor center and store closed and the cancellation of several fundraisers in response to the pandemic, there has been a shortage of funds coming in to support the mission.

“We’ve missed out on so much funding,” she said.

The aim behind the Virtual “Ding” Baby Bird Shower is to offer the public something enjoyable that brightens their day in these times, while also providing an opportunity to help support the refuge.

“We thought this was a good combination of those two things,” Hoisington said.

The Virtual “Ding” Baby Bird Shower page features a couple of things.

“It kind of expresses how we’re feeling through all of this – along with cute baby bird photos,” she said. “‘Oh, that’s a face only a mother could love.’ But we know that’s not true because they’re so cute.”

There is a Virtual Baby Bird Book video that visitors can watch.

JIM BENNIGHT Green heron chick

“It’s all in the idea of a baby book,” Hoisington said.

Visitors also have options for symbolically purchasing a baby gift for the refuge:

– Alligator Baby Monitor for $25

– Mosquito Fish for $50

– Nesting Material for $100

HOPE HODGES

– Neighborhood Beautification for $500

“Unfortunately, you’re gift isn’t going directly to buying those items,” she said, explaining that the donations will go back to the refuge and its mission of conserving, educating and protecting.

“The funds help with education programs, whether it be supplies or bringing kids out to the refuge,” Hoisington continued, noting that it fills the gaps in government funding. “It helps us produce all of the virtual content that we’ve been doing since March, like #DingatHome and the free summer camps.”

“It’s a way they can symbolically give back to the refuge,” she added.

Those who donate receive a fun thank you gift.

LIZ NOFFSINGER

“We’ve provided a baby shower game sheet that you can print out and fill out with your family,” Hoisington said. “It has like a word scramble and stuff like that. It also has a really cute egg match game, so you match the egg with the bird that lays it.”

As of July 17, more than 60 supporters had donated nearly $6,000.

“We originally went with a $5,000 goal, even though our needs are so much more than that,” she said, explaining that the DDWS wanted to set a goal that was accessible to anyone who wanted to help.

While the $5,000 mark has been met, people can still donate.

The DDWS may increase the ask to $7,500 in honor of the refuge’s 75th anniversary.

“We just send a great big thank you to all of those people,” Hoisington said of those who have contributed to the fundraising campaign so far. “We know this is a hard time for everyone.”

“We’re very happy we’re able to bring a silly kind of smile to everyone’s faces,” she added.

To check out the page, visit www.classy.org/campaign/ding-baby-shower/c290502.

For more information, visit online or call 239-472-1100, Ext. 4.