‘Ding’ Darling Lecturer Reveals Improbable Tales of Real Florida

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Jeff Klinkenberg engaged a professional symphony orchestra tuba player to determine whether bull gators would respond with thunderous bellows to a low B-flat note during mating season; thus the name of his book Alligator in B Flat. The award-winning journalist will present two programs beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center on Sanibel Island.

Subtitled “Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida,” Klinkenberg’s collection of essays covering all facets of life in Florida were culled from nearly 40 years as a chronicler of Florida culture for the Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times. In 2018, his latest book, Son of Real Florida: Stories from My Life published.

“Nobody writes about the real Florida with as much insight and affection as Jeff Klinkenberg,’’ says award-winning Florida columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen. “His essays – spanning the length and breadth of this intoxicating, infuriating state – are pure gems.”

Following his presentations, Klinkenberg will sign copies of his books, which are available for purchase in the Refuge Nature Store, all profits from which benefit refuge conservation and education programs.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management and Sanibel Carts co-sponsor the free 12-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). The free lectures take place every Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will begin handing out free-admission wristbands to those in line for the lectures at 9 a.m. for the morning lecture and 11:30 for the afternoon lecture. Wristband wearers can save seats 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. DDWS will be filming Klinkenberg’s lectures and broadcasting them on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/dingdarling.

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.

The season’s remaining schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all starred (*) lectures. For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.

*Feb. 21 – Author Jeff Klinkenberg, Alligator in B Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida
*Feb 28 – Author Craig Pittman, Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Endangered Florida Panther
*March 6 – Author & Photographer Paul Bannick, The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds
March 13 – Upcycle Designer Nancy Judd, RecycleRunway.com
*March 20 – Author Eliot Kleinberg, Black Cloud: The Great Hurricane of 1928
*March 27 – Author Jack Davis, “Eagles and Florida Eco-Topics”
*April 3 – Jeri Magg, Remarkable Women of Sanibel & Captiva

*starred lecture indicates book signing to follow

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