Nationally acclaimed bird authors, TV personalities, and longtime Sanibel Island winter residents Don and Lillian Stokes will again contribute their time and expertise to lead two fundraising birders tram tours at the J.N. “Ding” Darling Refuge on the morning of February 10, 2017.
Wildlife Drive is normally closed on Fridays, meaning tour participants will have the birds and the Stokes to themselves. Lillian Stokes will speak about and demonstrate bird photography on one of the trams, while her husband will focus on the principles of bird identification on a second tram.
Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession, will be donating the use of two trams. Together, they accommodate 60 passengers, so interested persons are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible because the Stokes’ past tram tours have filled up quickly.
The Stokes have authored more than 30 books in their Stokes Field Guides series and once hosted a birding television show for PBS.
“The Stokes are veteran birding experts recognized throughout the country, and they have a huge following,” said Birgie Miller, executive director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, which is organizing the tours. “This is the fifth consecutive year we have offered the Stokes private birding tours, and they are immensely popular.
“Thanks to their generosity and our partnership with Tarpon Bay Explorers, 100 percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit wildlife and education programs at the refuge.”
Cost for tour tickets are $100 each for a half-day tour that includes coffee and continental breakfast starting at 8 a.m. in the Visitor & Education Center and use of spotting scopes on the drive. To make reservations, email sarah@ dingdarlingsociety.org or call 472-1100 ext. 233. Full, nonrefundable payment is required for reservations.
Below is a schedule of special events planned by DDWS and the refuge for the upcoming season. For details visit dingdarlingsociety.org.
• 27th Annual “Ding” Darling Days – October 16 to 22 (dingdarlingdays.com)
• Free Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit – October 28 to December 8
• Free Kids Fishing Derby – November 28
• Happy Hour Holiday Shopping – November 30
• DDWS Annual Meeting – December 7
• Free Biweekly Wednesday Film Series – January 4 to April 14
• Free Weekly Friday Lecture Series – January 20 to April 14
• Go Wild for “Ding” – February 8
• 6th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament – May 19 and 20
As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.