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  
Ding Darling Mobile App

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