To further its mission reaching and connecting with underserved urban communities, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge returns to Lakes Park in Fort Myers for its 35th annual “Ding” Darling Day on Saturday, April 20. The celebration also observes Earth Day, which officially falls on April 22.


The refuge and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) have planned a full day of Conservation Carnival activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special free outdoor activities include carnival games, prizes, archery, a dunk tank, a rock-climbing wall, Earth Day crafts, art demonstrations, guided bilingual birding walks, a biking tour, guided mindfulness programs, live music, food, and educational interactions with other local conservation organizations.


“Two years ago, we moved ‘Ding’ Day to Lakes Park for the first time, and it has been a fabulous success,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland, who chairs the event. “We’re still ironing out the details for this year’s celebration, but expect more fun and enrichment for the entire family.” Watch for details as they unfold.


The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and Tarpon Bay Explorers cosponsor “Ding” Darling Day with generous support from the local community and businesses.


DDWS seeks sponsors for the event, which will be highly publicized throughout the Southwest Florida area. Contact April Boehnen at [email protected] or 440-452-9083 for more information.



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].