Cynthia Barnett’s book Rain: A Natural & Cultural History begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. On Friday, Feb. 14, she will deliver two free lectures about her book at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Following her lectures, Barnett will sign copies of her book, available at the Refuge Nature Store, which benefits conservation and education programs at “Ding” Darling.

Rain weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain. The book is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

“I’m crazy about rain,” said Barnett. ”I am a native of Florida and have always loved its sun showers and dramatic rainstorms. Over my years as a journalist specializing in water, I came to appreciate rain as life’s elixir—marveling at its work to fill aquifers and rivers, its cycle from sea to atmosphere.”

Barnett’s presentation is part of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge’s 16th annual Friday Lecture Series. HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management and Sanibel Carts co-sponsor the 12-lecture series. The free lectures take place every Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will begin handing out free-admission wristbands to those in line at 9 a.m. for the morning lecture and 11:30 for the afternoon lecture. Wristband wearers can save seats with personal items and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before the lecture.

As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, Bailey Tract, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

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

The remainder of this year’s lecture series schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all starred (*) lectures. For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to


*Feb. 14 – Author Cynthia Barnett, Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

*Feb. 21 – Author Jeff Klinkenberg, Alligator in B Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida

*Feb 28 – Author Craig Pittman, Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Endangered Florida Panther

*March 6 – Author & Photographer Paul Bannick, The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds

March 13 – Upcycle Designer Nancy Judd,

*March 20 – Author Eliot Kleinberg, Black Cloud: The Great Hurricane of 1928

*March 27 – Author Jack Davis, “All About Eagles and Other Florida Eco-Topics”

*April 3 – Jeri Magg, Remarkable Women of Sanibel & Captiva

*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].