Endowed Conservation Fund Supports Visitor Services At ‘Ding’ Darling

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Louise Crumpacker understands the importance of preserving the environment through green spaces, where visitors can learn about and engage with nature. That’s why she has set up an endowment fund through the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge to strengthen visitor services and the educational experience at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Louise Crumpacker (center) and her family are demonstrating their appreciation for impactful refuge experiences with an endowed fund.

“We will conserve only what we love, and we love only what we understand,” says Crumpacker, who has had first-hand experience with educating the public about conservation as a volunteer naturalist at Manatee Park in Fort Myers. “We understand only what we have learned.”

Crumpacker, who has been enjoying Sanibel with her family since the mid-1950s, passes on her wonder for nature and love of the wilds and wildlife to her children and grandchildren, serving as a model example for future generations.

“My mother has always been fascinated with exploring all forms of life, and she has always embraced the outdoors and all things wild, and she instilled that love in us,” said her daughter, Janeen Overman. “Our family is thrilled to see her excitement as she makes this contribution at ‘Ding’ Darling in a way that truly matters to her.”

“Louise often has brought her family to ‘Ding’ Darling and continues to visit on a regular basis,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland, who oversees visitor services. “She has a true admiration for our nation’s best restrooms at the Visitor & Education Center and for the overall impact of the services offered to her and her family when they visit. It’s wonderful to have this fund in Louise’s name to help the refuge in our ongoing work in creating positive visitor experiences.”

“An endowed fund will continue to keep Louise’s legacy alive by supporting conservation education programs at the refuge and inspiring our future stewards to embrace a community and value our natural spaces, much like she does,” said DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller. “We are so thankful to her and her family for this support. What a real way to demonstrate her commitment and how important protecting and educating are to the survival of the planet.”

Refuge donors are able to establish named endowed funds for $10,000 or more and work with DDWS staff to designate them for their areas of interest or leave them as unrestricted. The endowments can fund individual projects or ongoing education, intern, programming, research, or other specific needs. To establish an endowed fund, contact Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 232. Visit DDWS website for more information

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 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.

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