‘Ding’ Lecturer Connects Genetic Dots Between Humans, Wildlife

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

“Do unto ecosystems as you would have them do unto you,” is the motto of wildlife biologist and writer Douglas Chadwick. He will speak about his philosophy and new book Four Fifths a Grizzly: A New Perspective on Nature that Just Might Save Us All at his upcoming free lecture on Friday, March 4, for the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. It takes place at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall, 2050 Periwinkle Way, starting at 10 a.m.

Douglas Chadwick’s book and lecture challenge humans to consider whether they are separate from or part of nature.

Chadwick has written 14 books and more than 200 articles, including National Geographic coverage that spans 35 years. In what has been called his career-capping book, Four-Fifths a Grizzly presents an engaging series of personal essays that illustrate the interconnectedness of nature, advocating that the path toward conservation begins with how we see our place in the world.

The book approaches nature from a scientific point-of-view, showing how human DNA is not all that different from any other creature. He reveals, for instance, the surprisingly close relationship between our genetic makeup and that of grizzly bears: We have between 80 and 90 percent of our genes in common.

Chadwick has carried out research on mountain goat ecology and social behavior atop the Rockies for years and has assisted other scientists studying harlequin ducks, wolverines, grizzly bears, and whales. His articles for the National Geographic Society ranged on subjects from snow leopards high in the Himalayas to lowland rainforests and the underwater kingdoms of coral. A founding board member of the Vital Ground Foundation, a conservation land trust, Chadwick serves also on the board of the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, which supports wildlife research and community-based conservation programs throughout the world.

This season’s “Ding” Darling Lecture Series evolved with the times and persisting distance protocols by presenting at a larger off-refuge venue with seven scheduled lecturers. DDWS hosts the 18th annual lecture series, and Diane Esslinger and the Jenni & Kyle Foundation sponsor Chadwick’s lecture.

The schedule of upcoming lectures is listed below; book signings follow all lectures.

Socially distanced seating for the free lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will be taking temperatures and distributing a limited number of entry wristbands to attendees beginning at 9 a.m. that day. Guests must be wearing wristbands and facemasks to enter the lecture room. Early arrivals may save their seat and one other with personal items. Saved seats must be filled by 9:45.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors.

Lectures start at 10 a.m. on Fridays at The Community House, unless otherwise indicated.

• March 4 – Author Doug Chadwick, Four Fifths a Grizzly: A New Perspective on Nature that Just Might Save Us All (co-sponsors: Diane Esslinger, The Jenni & Kyle Foundation)
• Two lectures (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall, 2050 Periwinkle Way, March 11 – Author David Allen Sibley, What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing—What Birds Are Doing, and Why (co-sponsors: Stan & Connie Grayson, HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management, Drs. John & Wendy Kindig)
• March 18 – Author Jack Davis, The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird (co-sponsors: Pat Appino, Sonya Keene & John Moy, In Appreciation of the DDWS Staff Donor, In Memory of Roddy West)
• March 25 – Author Stan Tekiela, Bird Nests: Amazingly Ingenious and Intricate (Sponsors: Vortex Optics, A Fellow Minnesotan, The Jenni & Kyle Foundation)

For more information about the 18th annual “Ding” Darling Lecture Series, visit the DDWS website.

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 the DDWS website or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4, or dingdarlingsociety@gmail.com.

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