Mark your calendars! The 30th annual “Ding” Darling Days birding and eco-festival is scheduled for the weekend of October 12 to 14 at the JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.
New for this year, Cool Kids Zone on Sunday Family Fun Day will provide activities in the Visitor & Education Center, so families can come in to cool off. It will include puppet shows, story and crafts, DIY nature crafts, facepainting and a selfie photo station.
Let’s Get Outside Day kicks off the celebration on Friday, October 12 with free admission to Wildlife Drive for cyclists and hikers, and various free and discounted tours and eco-activities. Conservation Art Day follows on Saturday, October 13 with visits from Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp winners, and nature art workshops.
Family Fun Day culminates the weekend with free activities on Sunday, October 14. It features all-free refuge tours, live wildlife presentations, archery clinics, hot dogs, live music and kids’ nature crafts.
“Because of increasing budget cuts and staff reductions, we are shortening this year’s eco-festival from one week to three weekend days,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. The 30th annual “Ding” Darling Days celebrates the birthday of the refuge’s namesake, father of the Federal Duck Stamp program and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Jay N. “Ding” Darling. Visit www.dingdarlingdays.com for updates!