To keep its fans and friends in touch with nature and engaged in calming, educational activities during the COVID-19 outbreak, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge have debuted programs for stay-at-home families and individuals. They have created virtual experiences that all ages can enjoy via social media and the web page

“Learning about nature is always important for kids and adults alike,” said supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. “During this challenging climate of social distancing and self-isolation, it becomes crucial that we nourish our souls with the beauty and wonder of wildlife and its habitat.”

Follow the official refuge Facebook page for daily themed activity videos posted at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s the schedule:

  • Movement Monday: wildlife-themed yoga and other exercises
  • Tales on Tuesday: nature story reading
  • Wildlife Wednesday: learn fun facts about a specific animal
  • Trail Thursday: outdoor scavenger hunt
  • Fun-Time Friday: craft demonstrations and at-home experiments

Follow the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society page for daily 30-second videos of wildlife and the refuge’s serene beauty each afternoon.

Visit the Ding at Home web page often for nature-themed activity books and craft ideas you can download. The page will also archive links from the refuge’s activity videos and from the 2020 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series live broadcasts.

“Education is not something we can let slide just because our Visitor & Education Center is closed and our programs sidelined for visitor safety,” said Westland. “We look forward to connecting with our peeps and connecting them with nature through the miracle of electronics.”



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].