‘Ding’ Darling Ranger To Address Next Chamber Business Luncheon

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Toni Westland, supervisory refuge ranger at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, will be the guest speaker for the next Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Business Lunch. It will take place at the Sanibel-Captiva Realtors Association at 2353 Periwinkle Way #201 on Wednesday, Feb. 12, starting at 11:30 a.m. Note that chamber business lunches changed to the second Wednesday of each month in 2020.

Westland, who oversees visitor services and events at “Ding” Darling, will be speaking about this year’s activities surrounding the refuge’s 75th anniversary in December. She will present a calendar of monthly programs and happenings and will talk about honoring the refuge’s namesake, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling.

“We continuously want to tell the story of ‘Ding’ the man and the editorial cartoonist, because he is a legend in conservation and conservation art history,” said Westland, who began working at the refuge as an environmental education specialist in 2002. “So, as we celebrate 75 years of what he started here by creating this refuge in 1945, it only seemed fitting to begin by shining a spotlight on him and his groundbreaking work.”

Westland will be showing chamber members never-before-seen artifacts from Darling’s life that will go on display at the refuge later this year.

“We always love hearing Toni’s enthusiasm about refuge goings-on, and this year should be really stand-out,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “And she has promised surprises!”

Heidrick & Co. Insurance sponsors the Feb. 12 lunch, which will be catered by Paper Fig Kitchen. The Chamber Business Lunch is a monthly networking opportunity held on the second Wednesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at member locations. The chamber strives to provide speakers to discuss relevant business topics for the membership.

Cost for luncheon attendance is $27 for chamber members. Advanced registration is required to attend; walk-ins are not accepted. Register by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, at sanibel-captiva.org or by calling 239-472-1966. Payment is due at time of registration.

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