DDWS Board Elects New Board, Emeritus Members, Officers

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Mark Heiman joins the board of directors for “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. Photo provided

At its recent remote annual meeting, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) Board of Directors welcomed Sanibel Island resident Mark Heiman for a three-year term and past president Mike Baldwin as a member of the Emeritus Board. DDWS also reelected board members Phyllis Gresham, Bill Harkey, Robin Kirk, and Bill Valerian. The board later elected officers for 2023: president Wendy Kindig, vice president Bill Harkey, secretary Mark Heiman, and treasurer Bill Valerian.

Heiman moved three years ago to Sanibel Island from Ohio with his wife Richie. He retired from a career in textiles and clothing that has taken him around the world. In Ohio, he served on a number of boards representing the Jewish community and education. He began actively volunteering in the Refuge Nature Store this past year.

“I was raised with the philosophy of leaving the world a better place and to do my part in repairing the world,” says Heiman, who studied forest management at Oregon State University and once worked for the Oregon State Department of Forestry. “The refuge and sanctuary status of Sanibel is a big part of what attracted us to live here, and I frequently walk and bike the ‘Ding’ Darling properties. Since moving here, I have become an avid photographer of the refuge and all of the flora and fauna of the island. My background in forestry has given me a heightened interest and curiosity of everything here.”

Baldwin has served on the DDWS board of directors for more than nine years, heavily involved with land acquisition, the National Wildlife Refuge Federation, and advocacy. He served as board president from 2018 through 2020.

“We welcome Mark into the fold, confident he will bring his passion for nature and energy for volunteering to help move the board into a new year of challenges and support for the refuge,” said Kindig. “We are so pleased to keep Mike with us in the capacity of emeritus to take advantage of his gentle but firm wisdom.”

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 dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller at 239-292-0566 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org

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