‘Ding’ Darling Welcomes New Friends Group Intern

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Intern Christina Hester will be working to help DDWS support refuge education, research, and conservation this season. Photo provided

Christina Hester recently arrived from Pembroke Pines, Fla., to help J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with staff shortages in the coming season through an internship with the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).

The Florida native graduated December 2019 from Florida International University in Miami with a double major in journalism and philosophy. Before coming to Sanibel Island, she worked at the YMCA in her suburban hometown as a member engagement representative and also freelanced as an artist and media editor.

“The refuge is one of the most beautiful locations ever,” said Hester, who has quickly become enamored by the island’s beaches and their seashells. “I feel so fortunate that I get to be here every day and appreciate the serenity that doesn’t exist on my side of the state. I am so excited to be working with everyone on the team. I’m looking forward to our Go Wild for ‘Ding’ fundraiser in February. I’ve already heard so much about it, and I’m looking forward to seeing the community come out and have fun together for a good cause.”

“Our interns bring youthful energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to the refuge team and in turn learn about nonprofit and refuge operations,” said DDWS executive director Birgie Miller. “Our friends group works hard to assist the refuge, through monetary support, with conservation work and messaging, community outreach, and programmatic and staffing needs. These are all important skills our interns learn and take with them into their professional lives.”

For more information about the refuge’s internship program and to make a donation in support of it, contact Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100 ext. 233.

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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