Category Archives: J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The arch at the Ding

20140530-143424-52464700.jpgThis arch marks the entrance to the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Center. It was made by the same artist who made the faux scat for the scat trail at the new wildlife boardwalk. There are a number of plant and wildlife species woven into the design. People were standing around the archway, trying to count how many. I heard the number "17" being tossed around…

Environmental education at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

20140530-102337-37417005.jpgThis morning, I’m attending an environmental education conference at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida. The conference opened with a short hike to the new Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Here’s the view of the “tunnel” into the mangroves that flows beside the new observation tower. Looking forward to learning more today on beautiful Sanibel Island.

Photo Friday: Tranquil

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*


I found a new (well, to me) weekly photo meme called “Photo Friday“, which gives a word prompt each week. This week is “tranquil” and since I’m a fan of Sanibel Island aka “paradise”, I figured I had lots of material from which to choose! So I’m playing along this week. Enjoy!


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Dear Governor Crist…

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*


I sent an email last Friday to Florida governor Charlie Crist regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and what I consider to be the frittering away of funding on advertising tourism when we’re expecting to have a disaster to clean up. I realize people are suffering from lack of business, but I think there is other recourse to compensate them, and that it isn’t right to encourage tourists to gamble their hard-earned vacation dollars on a Florida Gulf beach vacation when we know there’s a good chance of the oil plume making landfall here.

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Subject: Redirect those advertising funds toward saving our Gulf shores!

Dear Governor Crist –

I moved to Southwest Florida 4 years ago from New York. I came here because of the tropical climate and natural beauty of the Lee Island Coast and because of my love for Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding out-islands. I love the wildlife sanctuaries and rookeries along Estero and San Carlos Bays, the availability of fresh seafood all year round and our astounding beaches. It breaks my heart to think of all this beauty and abundance covered in crude oil, consequently dead and ruined for generations to come.

IMG_0362-Sanibel-sailboat-seagulls-beachThe oil gushing into the Gulf has been doing so for over 40 days. Even capped, it is still leaking. I know better than to think that any part of the Gulf states’ shorelines are going to escape some sort of impact. There’s just too much of it out there, and now hurricane season is upon us which will bring unpredictability in the form of currents and winds.

It is unethical, bordering on immoral, to dupe people into coming to Florida’s Gulf Coast, when we cannot guarantee them an oil-free vacation. We are bilking them out of their hard-earned vacation dollars. WHY are we wasting these funds on misleading advertising when they could be applied DIRECTLY to the problem? We could be using the funds to compensate the fisherman and those in the tourist industry for loss of income. We could be conserving some of it to help pay for the cleanup we KNOW we are going to need.

IMG_0385-American-brown-pelican-Sanibel-IslandWhile Louisiana’s leaders are making quite a compelling and widely publicized case for disaster funding, Florida is busy telling people everything is coming up sunshine and lollipops. By this time next week, we could be just as awash in the foul stench of crude oil and decomposing wildlife as Louisiana is right now. Anyone with even half an ounce of sense knows this is true. So why are we being deceitful with our tourists and wasteful with our funding?

IMG_0642-Lighthouse-Beach-2004-SanibelGovernor Crist, I hope you will do everything in your power to stop this foolishness with the advertising campaigns and start instead and in earnest to prepare Florida’s Gulf Coast for the impact that we all KNOW is coming our way. Start working on BP to step up to the plate and provide compensation for the tourism and fishing industries and funding for the cleanup. Stop worrying about enticing tourists and refocus all that energy – and all those dollars – on ensuring that Florida is prepared to meet the beast swiftly and intelligently when it strikes.

It’s going to be bad. But you can mitigate a lot of that if you will just focus on what matters, on what makes sense and on doing the right thing, always.

Erin White
Lehigh Acres, Florida

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Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge – pelican roost

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

🙂 Back in May 2009, I took a cruise on Tarpon Bay with the Tarpon Bay Explorers. The cruise was a “thank you for your donation” gift from the local National Public Radio (NPR) station, WGCU, 90.1 FM in Fort Myers, Florida. The narrator is Dr. Jerry Jackson, a professor at FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University) who also narrates a daily radio spot on WGCU, “Out With The Wild Things”. Enjoy! And for those in the USA, hope you’re having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.

I enjoyed the tour of Tarpon Bay – beautiful surroundings, sunny May day, fascinating speaker, what’s not to love? But I much preferred last year’s tour with Dr. Jackson on Rookery Bay. Click this link to see photos and videos from the Rookery Bay tour.

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Sanibel Skies Over Fragile Marine Ecosystems

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

Tranquil blues and whites
do not always reflect Truth.
Truth can lurk unseen…

IMG_0623-Sanibel-Ding-DarlingI’ve read that all it takes is one single mangrove pod in the right place under the right conditions to blossom into a mangrove island. The evidence can be seen at the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a significant portion of the north side of Sanibel Island. The area is part of a larger marine ecosystem which is called the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex includes other refuges such as the Caloosahatchee, Matlacha (matt-luh-SHAY), Island Bay up in Charlotte County, and Pine Island.

IMG_0592-Sanibel-Mangroves-CloudsThe state of Florida recently received an “iffy” report card, which rated the state’s efforts at protecting marine life with a lot of Ds (“A” being the highest grade). This means there is lots of room for improvement in our policies and laws that govern the use and abuse of ecosystems that have an impact on these wildlife refuges. It’s not enough to have laws that only pertain to the refuges; since everything is connected, actions in the middle of the state eventually produce a downstream effect on delicate marine environments such as these.

I’m looking forward to seeing some earnest effort on the part of the state legislature toward cleaning up Florida’s act, so that subsequent report cards reflect an increase in the amount of respect we afford our natural systems.


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A morning at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
Click each picture to see a larger version in Flickr

All photos taken at J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida – February 21st, 2008

Several species mingle to graze

White pelicans and cormorants ignore one another

A heron is poised…

… to take flight

Roseate spoonbill comes in for a landing

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Scenes from Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

Scenes from Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida


Egret among the oysters

White pelicans at rest

Tri-color heron takes flight

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Southwest Florida "Islands FallFest 2008" Schedule of Events

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
Southwest Florida’s “Islands FallFest 2008”
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I received this brochure in the mail today, along with a more comprehensive travel guide of happenings here in Southwest Florida. This is published by The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, otherwise known as The Beaches of Fort Myers – Sanibel. “Island FallFest” is described as “a 75-day celebration of Southwest Florida’s unique events”. Of course, one of the events that had me really excited is the Pirate Festival, but it’s happening on a weekend that I’m already engaged elsewhere (Oct 11-12).

Other events that interest me –

10/19 – 10/26: “Ding” Darling Days
“Ding” Darling is a wildlife refuge on the bay side of Sanibel Island. This event is being billed as an “eco-festival” – right up my alley!

11/02: 25th Annual Taste of the Town, Fort Myers
This is held in Centennial Park, which I’ve mobile photo-blogged about in recent months. I had a good time blogging “Taste of the Islands“; maybe I can get Tootie to come with me to this one too, but this time we will not bike to it! bicycle smiley Ooo, and maybe Snowbird too! How ’bout it, Snowbird – will you be back in town by November 2nd and feeling adventurous enough for Centennial Park?

11/05-11/09: 22nd Annual American Sandsculpting Championship Festival
Now, I’ve lived here two years, and missed it two years in a row. I definitely want to attend this and mobile blog it! I’ve seen sand sculpture live at Disney World, but that’s nothing compared to this. Can’t wait!

11/14-11/16: Florida’s Creative Coast Weekend
This one is in Matlacha. It took me a while to figure out that’s spelled “matt-luh-SHAY”. First time I heard the evening news anchors talking about Matlacha, it was a realy “light bulb moment” for me; “oh, THAT’S how you say it!”. LOL This event looks like it features local galleries and musicians. Hey, Debbie – it’s Matlacha, we GOTTA go!

11-16: Taste of Bonita XV
More food and wine, wheeeeeeeeee! pour wine Also, I’ve never been to Bonita, so maybe a visit to the beach there is in order.

There’s lots more on the schedule – those are just the ones that jumped out at me. For more information about these or any other events in the Southwest Florida area, I’ve always found The Beaches of Fort Myers-Sanibel to be a pretty good resource. When you get to the site, there is a calender of events. There’s also a form you can fill out, and they will send you a traveler’s guide to Lee County, Florida. The 2008 version is 168 pages, printed in full color and sized to fit in a daypack (maybe 8″ x 5″ at the most). Check it out when you get a free moment – it’s free! And no, I don’t work for them nor am I getting paid to blog this. I’m just sharing a resource that I find useful.

I do worry that if I tried to attend all of the above, it’s probably a schedule I can’t live with. That’s basically one event, sometimes two, every weekend for four weekends straight. So I’m probably going to have to pick and choose. Want to help? Just click your preference on the poll below.

QUESTION: If you could only pick ONE of these events to attend, which would it be?

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Looking forward to your advice!

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Wordless, Friday April 25th 2008

Wordless, Friday April 25th 2008

“The Yoga Bird”

Yellow Crested Night Heron ~ Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge ~ Sanibel, Florida~ July, 2005

– the side of a trash can in Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom