Wildlife ambassador Ron Magill brings his experiences to life with stunning imagery and stories that range from the incredible migration of monarch butterflies to the struggle for survival in the African bush. On Friday, Feb. 7, he will be presenting two free programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Magill’s “From Butterflies to Lions: A Walk on the Wild Side” slide presentations are part of the  2019 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series that take place in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.

Currently the “goodwill ambassador” for Zoo Miami, Magill has worked with wildlife for more than 40 years. He hosts New York-based Hispanic Information and Telecommunication Network’s national wildlife documentary program and has made frequent television appearances on programs such as “National Geographic Explorer,” “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Late Show,” “CBS This Morning,” and “Dateline.”

Magill’s award-winning photographs have appeared in publications and galleries around the world. He has traveled throughout Africa, Asia, and tropical America while developing and directing conservation projects and Emmy Award-winning wildlife documentaries.

“My stories will help connect people to nature on an emotional level while hopefully inspiring them to protect it for future generations,” said Magill.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management and Sanibel Carts co-sponsor the free 12-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). The free lectures take place every Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Staff will begin handing out free-admission wristbands to those in line for the lectures 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 lecture. DDWS will be filming Magill’s lectures and broadcasting them on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/dingdarling.

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 season’s remaining schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all starred (*) lectures. For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.


Feb. 7 – Zoo Miami Ambassador Ron Magill, “From Butterflies to Lions: A Walk on the Wild Side”

*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, RecycleRunway.com

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

*March 27 – Author Jack Davis, “Eagles and 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 dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller at  239-472-1100 ext. 4, or [email protected].