provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Save the dates for a four-day weekend focusing on the get-outdoors nature cure. Wellness in Nature at “Ding” centers at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island Jan. 18 through 21, but also reaches out into the greater community with activities at Lakes Park and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers.
The event kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 18, with a free guided biking tour led by Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland starting at 7:30 a.m. Participants must bring their own bikes and pre-register on Eventbrite after Jan. 1, 2024.
Later that day, keynote speaker Dr. Sabine Grunwald, University of Florida’s (UF) Soil and Water Sciences Department professor and founder of UF’s Mindfulness Program presents “Unplug to Reconnect: How Less Time on Screens Makes You a Happier Person.” Lectures begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are limited on a first-come basis.
On Friday, Jan. 19, when Wildlife Drive and the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center are closed for weekly maintenance, the wellness team has scheduled a photography workshop at the Bailey Tract and Energy Medicine Walks at Lakes Park and FGCU’s Food Forest.
On Saturday and Sunday, Wellness in Nature reaches it peaks with a Wellness in Nature Fest including open-air yoga, live music, creation stations, ranger-led archery, a birding tram tour, and a refuge estuary clean-up (bring your own paddlecraft or join by foot).
“The past two years, the refuge has hosted Wellness in Nature events, which started with unveiling our self-guided Mindfulness Trail at the Bailey Tract, the first of its kind in the nearly 570 national wildlife refuges across the U.S.,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. “This year, we have reorganized activities into a condensed series whose purpose is to get people outdoors to better their health and well-being.”
For more information, visit dingwellness.com or call 239-472-1100 ext. 221.
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 Ann-Marie Wildman at 239-789-8991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.