The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has named Robert (Bob) Gerwig J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Manager as of August. Gerwig, who served as crew lead for the refuge’s 2009 summer Youth Conservation Corp program, has been a permanent staff member since April 2019, when he took the position of wildlife refuge specialist.

“Bob has become such an integral part of our ‘Ding’ team, and we welcome his expertise and well-rounded experience,” said Kevin Godsea, former refuge manager who currently serves as project leader for the Southwest Florida National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex includes “Ding,” Florida Panther, and Ten Thousand Islands NWRs. “We are confident he’s the one to lead the Refuge forward in these most trying times.”

Following his original temporary stint at “Ding,” Gerwig worked full-time for the USFWS for 10 years at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery in Washington State, rising to the position of assistant manager. More recently, he spent a year working in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Myers office.

“This is coming full circle,” said Gerwig, who became a fan of the refuge as a child in the 1970s while visiting family from his home in Chicago. “The refuge is exactly what made me want to go into the field.”


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 or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or [email protected].