J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is throwing a free “Earth Day at the Refuge” celebration on Sanibel Island on Thursday, April 22. It will feature no-fee admission to Wildlife Drive for cyclists and hikers, free guided tours, paint-alongs, and on-your-own activities.


In compliance with pandemic protocols, refuge staff will carefully curate the event for participant safety. Guides will be leading five free tours that day, limited to 10 participants each. Two painting sessions with this year’s refuge Artist in Residence Rachel Pierce are also limited to 10. See the schedule below and pre-register for free at dingdarling.eventbrite.com, where details about each event are also available.


7 a.m.-7 p.m. – Free admission to Wildlife Drive for cyclists and hikers; vehicles pay $10 for admission.

8 a.m. – Mindfulness Walk at the Bailey Tract

8:30 a.m. – Birding the Refuge Caravan Tour

9:30 a.m. – Biking the Refuge Tour

10 a.m. – Paint a Roseate Spoonbill with Artist in Residence Rachel Pierce

11:30 a.m. – Paint a Roseate Spoonbill with Artist in Residence Rachel Pierce

1 p.m. – Junior Ranger Walk

2 p.m. – Bailey Tract Walk

Ongoing outdoors – New Junior Ranger Booklet Debut: Complete it that day and receive a gift.

Ongoing outdoors – Pick up a compostable bag to fill with trash and return for a commemorative postcard.


Participants in any of the tours, paint-alongs, and trash-collecting will receive a 10 percent discount coupon for use in either Sanibel Island Nature Store location: the flagship store in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center or Nature Store2 at 2250 Periwinkle Place. Coupons are not valid for online store use.


The refuge celebrates Earth Day in partnership with the Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreational concession.


For more information on Earth Day at the Refuge, call 239-472-1100 ext. 237 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/events.



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].