Fort Myers Florida Weekly

‘Ding’ Darling Day at Lakes Park postponed; photo contest extended

“Ding” Darling Day with the refuge WoW mobile interactive experience, has been rescheduled for spring 2022. COURTESY PHOTO

“Ding” Darling Day with the refuge WoW mobile interactive experience, has been rescheduled for spring 2022. COURTESY PHOTO

Due to federal restrictions regarding the coronavirus, the 33rd annual “Ding” Darling Day at Lakes Park in Fort Myers on Sunday, Oct. 10, has been postponed until spring 2022.

“Public health and safety are at the forefront of our concerns,” said Toni Westland, supervisory refuge ranger of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, which was to host the event along with the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Friends of the Refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers, local conservation partners and community sponsors.

“We regret the necessity to change plans, but with recent spikes in coronavirus cases locally, we do not feel comfortable risking a crowd, regardless of the fact that we carefully planned an outdoor, distanced event this year.”

The “Ding” Darling Day Amateur Nature Photography Contest has been extended to an Oct. 15 deadline.

Winners will be announced Nov. 15. For more information, contact Sierra Hoisington at or 239-472-1100, ext. 4.

“We thank the local organizations and generous sponsors who helped plan and support our best efforts to bring this outreach event to the greater community,” said DDWS executive director Birgie Miller.

The rescheduled spring 2022 “Ding” Darling Day will have a Conservation Carnival theme, as earlier planned. Watch for the new date and more details.

Sponsors included: Great Egret: Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille; Great Blue Heron: John R. Wood Properties, Island Sun/The River Weekly News; Reddish Egret: 400 Rabbits, Mike and Terry Baldwin, Bank of the Islands, Media Source, Mitchell’s SandCastles; Snowy Egret: Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation, Florida Weekly, Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages & Marina Resort, McCallion & McCallion Realty, Sanibel Moorings Resort and Southern SnoBalls.

As a nonprofit 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.

For more information, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100, ext. 4, or ¦

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