Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Ding Darling January 30 2013 8 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

In the water at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The 4 mile long wildlife drive at J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. It will be closed from May through October 2013 for repaving.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 1 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Anhinga drying its wings at Ding Darling NWR

The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The refuge consists of over 6,400 acres of mangrove forest, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 2 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Nesting at Ding Darling

Approximately 2,800 acres of the refuge are designated by Congress as a Wilderness Area.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 3 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Nesting at Ding Darling

J. N. “Ding” Darling is one of over 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 4 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Red shouldered hawk at Ding Darling NWR

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling was a Pulitzer-Prize winning newspaper cartoonist who was appointed by Roosevelt in 1934 as the Director of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 5 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling NWR

In his 18 months as Director, Darling initiated the Federal Duck Stamp Program, designed the first duck stamp, designed the blue goose icon for the National Wildlife Refuges, and vastly increased the acreage of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 6 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Immature black crowed night crested heron sleeping along the roadside at Ding Darling NWR

He also developed partnerships with state universities to train scientists in the emerging study of wildlife biology.

Ding Darling January 30 2013 7 Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

Anhinga drying its wings at Ding Darling NWR

We hope you’ll make time to visit this very special place once it is open again to driving spectators.

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About shenandoah kepler

Hi! I'm Shenandoah, an ancient gardener, attempting to age in place at home and in my garden. I'm in dream zone 7a able to grow just about anything. I want to help others plan their garden and living experience to age in place and never grow old in their hearts!

4 thoughts on “Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL

    1. Thy reallyy are spectacular – right up there with flamingos! We just returned from Merritt Island at Kennedy Space Center and saw a huge flock up close and personal spooning in one of their many ponds. Very flashy!

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Yes, it was truly inspiring. We’re only sad that it is more than a day trip away. We have to make reservations for an overnight to go there, and to bring the pup with us. Gosh, Florida is a big state when you want to drive it!
      Best to you,
      Shenandoah

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