provided to the Santiva Chronicle
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week and “Ding” Darling’s 146th birthday, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island introduce Art in the Wild at the refuge on Saturday, Oct. 21. “Ding” Darling originally scheduled the inaugural event for October 2022, but canceled it after Hurricane Ian closed the refuge in September for six months.
Stay tuned for announcements about free art activities honoring 2023-2024 Duck Stamp artists and the legacy of refuge namesake Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist of the early 20th century.
The famous Hautman brothers, multiple Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners, will make personal appearances that day. A special exhibition of their nature art also will be on display in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium during the month. Joe Hautman won the 2023-2024 contest and will be signing his winning stamp depicting three tundra swans.
The refuge’s current Artist in Residence Jacqui Roch will be on hand to lead nature-art demos and workshops, plus expect the announcement of the 2023 “Ding” Darling Amateur Photo Contest winners, the unveiling of The Roost outdoor pavilion, and a traveling Federal Duck Stamp exhibit (on display Oct. 10-29). Admission to Wildlife Drive will be free on Oct. 21.
“This will become an annual fall tradition to celebrate “Ding” Darling’s art legacy and role in creating the Federal Duck Stamp Program, which has continued for nearly 90 years and preserved six million acres of sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland.
DDWS seeks sponsors for this year’s Art in the Wild. For information, contact April Boehnen at aprilb@dingdarlingsociety. To learn more about Art in the Wild’s schedule of events as it develops, visit dingartinthewild.com.