The upcoming season’s “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture Series will evolve with the times and persisting distance protocols by moving to the larger venue of the Sanibel Community House at  2173 Periwinkle Way. The free lectures will occur on five select days throughout the season with one 10 a.m. lecture per day.

The 17th annual “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture Series, which runs Jan.29 through March 19, 2021, features photographers Clyde and Niki Butcher, Feather Thief author Kirk W. Johnson, and eminent authorities on water conservation, eagles, owls, and woodpeckers.

“The uncertainties of COVID-19 challenged us to experiment with a new lecture series format so we could accommodate high-quality lecturers but still abide by new distancing guidelines,” said Ann-Marie Wildman, “Ding” Darling’s Nature Store manager and lecture series organizer. “We would be very limited on how many we could seat at our usual venue in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium, but the Community House gives us more latitude. So we’ve decided on fewer lectures with topnotch speakers.”

The season’s complete schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all starred (*) lectures; books will be available for purchase that day. Visit for further information on lecturers.

Seating for the free lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. About 200 seats will be available. Face masks will be required. DDWS will be filming most lectures and broadcasting them on Facebook Live at

DDWS is seeking sponsors for four of the lectures below. Please contact April Boehnen at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 232 for more information.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors.

Friday, Jan. 29 – Ocean Doctor David E. Guggenheim, Water Conservation, sponsor needed

*Thursday, Feb. 4 – Photographers Clyde and Niki Butcher, The Everglades, sponsored by Wayne and Linda Boyd

*Friday, Feb. 19 – Author Jack Davis, Eagles, sponsor needed

*Friday, March 12 – Author Paul Bannick, Owls and Woodpeckers, sponsor needed

*Friday. March 19 –  Author Kirk W. Johnson, Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century, sponsor needed

*starred lecture indicates book signing to follow



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].