As one of the first stops visitors to Sanibel and Captiva islands often make, the SanCap Chamber restrooms recently have become something of a billboard for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, modeled after the refuge’s popular and award-winning Learning Lavatories. The artistic redesign, funded by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), with support from the Lee County Tourist Development Council, debuted April 16 with a dual ribbon-cutting for the restrooms and the refuge’s new Roving Ranger mobile visitor center.


“When ‘nature calls,’ visitors will find themselves surrounded by scenes from ‘Ding’ Darling in the restrooms at the back of the chamber visitor center,” said manager of events, marketing, & communication April Boehnen, who worked with chamber staff on the project. “In 2018, the refuge won the America’s Best Restroom award for its nature-inspired, artistic restrooms, and we are using that as a springboard for introducing visitors to the islands and refuge during their ‘pit stop’ at the chamber, which has always been such an awesome partner in our efforts.”


The design starts with the wall just beyond the glass door to the restroom area, and continues into each restroom, running along the walls and inside and out of the stalls. Inside the stall doors, visitors can learn fun facts about signature refuge birds.


“We have a captive audience to influence for a few minutes,” said Ann-Marie Wildman, DDWS executive director. “It’s a good way to offer visitors an introduction to Sanibel’s nature ethic while giving the chamber a conversation-piece facility.”


“We are so excited about this fun and informative upgrade to the visitor center restrooms,” said John Lai, SanCap chamber president and CEO. “We applaud ‘Ding’ Darling for its always innovative and creative ways to turn visitors on to all the refuge has to offer. It really is a gem when it comes to island attractions, and visitors are always interested in learning more. This is a win-win.


“Ding” Darling introduced its Roving Ranger, a colorfully wrapped truck staff will use for community outreach, earlier in the month. It is the first such vehicle in the national refuge system, which includes some 600 refuges. Refuge educators are able to greet visitors through a window on the side of the truck and at informational tables and hands-on exhibits outside the vehicle.



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 Ann-Marie Wildman at 239-789-8991 or [email protected].



The SanCap Chamber is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. Its website,, receives over 1.3 million visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or [email protected].