Your Dollars at Work

Look How DDWS Puts Donations To Work for Wildlife & Conservation Education

  • Helps the Refuge with land acquistions
  • Funds a full-time position for a Conservation Educator
  • Raised funding and facilitated the educational and artistic #LearningLav restroom exhibits project
  • Coordinated the granted Perry Tract Kiosk at Sanibel's Gulfside City Park
  • Spearheaded SanCap Solar Connect - an initiative to lower rates for solar energy conversion on the islands
  • Funded development of the first-of-its-kind  Discover Ding game app
  • Supports Reddish Egret and Sanibel Rice Rat research plus water quality and other wildlife studies
  • Advocates for clean water legislation at a local and national level and refuge system government funding at a national level
  • Made significant Visitor & Education Center improvements (including a handicapped lift) in 2015
  • Supported Mangrove Cuckoo research
  • Funded an interactive sea turtle exhibit 2014
  • Raised $1.4 million in 2013 for the Woodring Point land acquisition.
  • Raised funds for new exhibits and trail projects, which in 2012-2013 included the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, Living Dinosaurs, Duck Decoy Art, and Marvelous Manatees exhibits in the Visitor & Education Center
  • Supported the iNature Trail, Calusa Shell Mound Trail improvements, the reopening of Buck Key Paddling Trail, and other recent trail projects
  • Financially assisted with post-hurricane efforts to clean up Sanibel, Captiva, and the Refuge after Hurricane Charley in 2004
  • Assisted Refuge with plans and construction of a disabled-accessible observation tower and remote video camera on Wildlife Drive
  • Spearheaded and financed the new $3.3-million Education Center and exhibits
  • Built the education pavilion on the Cross Dike Trail
  • Financially supports environmental education staff and the internship program
  • Operates the Refuge Nature Store and hosts annual free author lecture and film series
  • Organizes and funds the annual “Ding” Darling Days for environmental education and Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament to promote responsible fishing ethics
  • Distributes $5,000 each year in conservation teacher grants to Lee County Schools
  • Awards conservation education scholarships annually to students in a five-county area pursuing college degrees in biology-related fields
  • Provides the Refuge Manager a discretionary fund for emergency use
  • Provides field trip busing for district students
  • Supplies conservation education materials to area teachers
  • Provides informational materials for Refuge visitors
  • Provides and maintains interpretative signage and outdoor kiosk displays
  • Supports studies including bird surveys, control burn monitoring, and water sampling
  • Contributes tens of thousands of dollars each year for special Refuge projects
  • Maintains an informational Web site at
  • Funds research projects
  • Represents the refuge system and its budget needs at a national political level  

Support Us

Donate and make a difference!

Making a charitable contribution is easy and tax deductible. You can donate online by clicking the Support the Refuge button below. Once you have registered or logged in, you can choose to make a Regular Donation, a Memorial to remember a departed loved one, or an Honorarium as a special gift to a nature-loving friend or family member.


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