To manage the Refuge Nature Store that supports the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) recently hired Rose Belfiore, previously manager of McLaughlin and Eileen Fisher boutiques on Sanibel.
“We are so pleased to have Rose, with all her retail savvy and impeccable taste, at the helm of our shop inside the ‘Ding’ Darling Visitor & Education Center,” said DDWS Executive Director Ann-Marie Wildman. “She competently has stepped into the position vacated last year by Chris Galloway and has already become an essential member of Team ‘Ding.’”
Originally from Malaga, a small town in New Jersey, Belfiore moved to Southwest Florida in 1997 and shortly thereafter began working retail on the island.
“I fell in love with the island and the people,” she says. “Now I’ve fallen in love with ‘Ding’ Darling. I am amazed with the volunteers and staff and how knowledgeable they are and helpful with visitors and myself. I really enjoy when someone comes in from Wildlife Drive or one of the trails and has captured an amazing shot of an up-close and personal glimpse of nature and is so excited to share.”
All profits from sales at the Refuge Nature Store directly benefit conservation and educational programming at “Ding” Darling. The store specializes in nature-inspired clothing, books, jewelry, art, eco-friendly items, and other gifts. Most items are also available online at ShopDingDarling.com.
“I love all the beautiful merchandise in the store that visitors are intrigued with,” said Belfiore. “They can’t wait to bring something special back home to remind them of this beautiful refuge and their experience.”
In her spare time, Belfiore loves cooking: “I used to own a pizzeria in New Jersey and growing up in a big Italian family, it just comes naturally to me. I also enjoy gardening, traveling, and participating in neighborhood activities.”
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 dingdarlingsociety.org or Ann-Marie Wildman at 239-789-8991 or [email protected].