provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Skye McDonald-Newman recently joined the team at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, thanks to funding from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). She fills the role of educator for the refuge’s WoW (Wildlife on Wheels) mobile classroom and other educational “Ding” programs.
McDonald-Newman grew up on North Captiva Island, Fla., and a farm in Kearneysville, W.Va. She currently attends Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and will graduate in spring 2023 with a major in environmental studies and a minor in biology.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out with WoW and teaching local kids and families about coastal and marine ecosystems that are so important,” said McDonald-Newman. “I spent my formative years on North Captiva, so these habitats are very special to me, and being able to teach kids about them is very special to me.”
“Skye is knowledgeable about the local environment, so she will be a valuable asset in helping us fulfill our mission to reach underserved summer-camp kids who might not have the opportunity to visit the refuge,” said “Ding” Darling Urban Education Leader Melissa Maher.
“’Ding’ Darling is such a magical, incredibly unique place, not only in the vast diversity of wildlife that calls the refuge home, but also in the people who work here,” said McDonald-Newman. “The refuge employees, the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society, the interns, and the amazing volunteers are so kind and vastly intelligent.”
DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. For more information about refuge internship programs and supporting them, contact Sierra Hoisington, DDWS associate director, 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 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or firstname.lastname@example.org.