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Refuge partners with Sanibel Public Library for 75th anniversary exhibits

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Oct 29, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED “Ding” the Sportsman, Conservationist and Artist exhibit at the Sanibel Public Library will feature artifacts never before on display.

To spread its message about Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling’s creation 75 years ago of the refuge now named for him, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge are partnering with the Sanibel Public Library on 75th anniversary exhibits.

“Ding” the Sportsman, Conservationist and Artist will feature artifacts from his life that have never before been publicly displayed, along with an exhibit of his editorial cartoons, which were syndicated throughout the United States from the 1920-40s. Other works by the artist, memorabilia from his time spent on the islands starting in the mid-1930s, and historical documents will also be on display.

On Nov. 3, the day the Sanibel City Council reads a proclamation declaring Dec. 1 as the refuge’s official 75th anniversary, the exhibit will open with the “Ding” the Sportsman theme. Throughout the coming months, the exhibit will segue into the other two themes that examine Darling’s importance as a key conservation figure in American history and his reputation as an artist.

“We continuously want to tell the story of ‘Ding’ the man, because he is a legend in conservation and conservation art history,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. “We are grateful to the Sanibel library for the opportunity to take that message out into the community in a very real way, especially now when our Visitor & Education Center has been closed by the pandemic.”

The refuge began the end of last year celebrating Darling’s creation of the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945. Until COVID-19 hit, the DDWS and refuge sponsored special exhibits and events in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. Last December, the center debuted a newly engineered exhibit featuring the man whose name was attached to the refuge following his death in 1962.

“Congratulations, ‘Ding’ Darling, on 75 years,” Sanibel Public Library Executive Director Margaret Mohundra said. “We are happy to be partnering with the refuge and DDWS. The library will have a display from its Florida collection to complement the wonderful items provided by the ‘Ding’ team.”

The “Ding” exhibit is open free to the public during normal operating hours.

For more information about the refuge’s 75th anniversary celebration, visit ding75.org.