"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society--Friends of the Refuge

P.O. Box 565
Sanibel Island, Florida 33957
239-472-1100 ext. 233
Fax 239-472-7803


Look How We Put Our Contributors' Generosity To Work for Wildlife & Conservation Education

  • Hosts Upcycle! Art Fest on Sanibel Island in April 
  • Will be making significant Visitors Education Center improvements (including an elevator) and adding a sea turtle exhibit starting in 2014
  • Raised $1.4 million in 2013 for the Woodring Point land acquisition.
  • Raises funds for new exhibits and trail projects, which in 2012-2013 included the Wildlife Education Boardwalk,and Living Dinosaurs, Duck Decoy Art,and Marvelous Manatees exhibits in the Visitors Education Center
  • Supported the iNature Trail, Calusa Shell Mound Trail improvements, the reopening of Buck Key Paddling Trail, and other recent projects
  • Financially assisted with post-hurricane efforts to clean up Sanibel, Captiva, and the refuge after Hurricane Charley in 20014
  • Assisted refuge with plans and pilings for new, disabled-accessible observation tower and remote video camera
  • Spearheaded and financed the new $3.3-million Education Center and exhibits
  • Established a radio information system for visitors
  • Built the education pavilion on the Cross Dike Trail
  • Financially supports environmental education staff and the internship program
  • Operates the Refuge Nature Store and hosts annual free author lecture and film series
  • Organizes and funds the annual “Ding” Darling Days for environmental education and “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament to promote responsible fishing ethics
  • Distributes $5,000 each year in conservation teacher grants to Lee County Schools
  • Awards conservation education scholarships annually to students in a five-county area pursuing college degrees in biology-related fields
  • Provides the refuge manager a discretionary fund for emergency use
  • Provides field trip busing for district students
  • Oversees archives and inventory of the “Ding” Darling Foundation
  • Supplies materials to area teachers
  • Provides informational materials for refuge visitors
  • Provides and maintains interpretative signage and outdoor kiosk displays
  • Supports studies including bird surveys, control burn monitoring, and water sampling
  • Contributes tens of thousands of dollars each year for special refuge projects
  • Maintains an informational Web site at www.dingdarlingsociety.org
  • Funds research projects
  • Represents the refuge system and its budget needs at a national political level