Author Warner Shedd sheds light on wildlife myths.
Author Warner Shedd sheds light on wildlife myths.
Myth: Beavers can fell trees in the direction that they desire. Fact: Beavers simply gnaw around a tree until it falls, and occasionally a beaver is killed when a tree falls on it. It is one wildlife misconception corrected in the book Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies about Wildlife. The author, Warner Shedd, brings two special slide presentations at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday, March 1 at  J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge -- part of the  2019 “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture series.

A former forester with the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks and area resource specialist with the Vermont Extension Service, Shedd became the New England regional executive for the National Wildlife Federation in 1969 and remained in that position for 20 years. In 1990 he began a writing career and has also published The Kids Wildlife Book and numerous articles in national and regional magazines.

Following his lectures, the author will sign copies of his book, which is available for purchase in the Refuge Nature Store, profits from which benefit wildlife and water research and education at “Ding” Darling. 

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 11-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). The free lectures are held twice each Friday through April 12 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The season’s remaining schedule is listed below. Book signings follow starred (*) programs. Lectures take place in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center. Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra with personal items and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or they risk reassignment.

As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, Bailey Tract, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors. For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to

*March 1 – Author Warner Shedd, Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies about Wildlife
March 8 – Yve Morrell, “The Big Year: A First for Women”  
March 15 – Jeremy Conrad, “Sea Level Rise: Globally & Locally”
March 22 – Dusty “Wildman” Crum, Robbie & Geoff Roepstorff, Mike Kirkland, “Pythons: The Hunters, the Science”
March 29 – Marine scientist Lauren Blickley, "Drastic Plastic - Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution" 
April 5 – Ornithologist Dr. Jerry Lorenz, “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine”
*April 12 – Author Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, Florida”
*starred lecture indicates book signing to follow
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 profits. 
To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at  239-472-1100 ext. 4, or