Ding Unveils 2024 Free Lecture Series


Birds, wildlife hurricane survival, electronic screens, toxic waste, and trash: What do they all have in common? They are the topics of six speakers who fill the free “Ding” Darling Lecture Series schedule this season for the 19th year at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, returning to the refuge for the first time since 2020.

The lectures take place Jan. 18 through March 21 twice daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on certain Thursdays throughout the season.

During the COVID outbreak, DDWS switched venues to The Community House on Sanibel Island to accommodate distancing. In 2023, Hurricane Ian leveled damage too severe to both venues and the entire island to host the lecture series.

“We are so ecstatic to welcome home this long-loved refuge tradition,” said DDWS Executive Director Ann-Marie Wildman. “We have scheduled an impressive line-up of speakers to herald the occasion.”

Seating for the free lectures is limited on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can check in and save their seat and one extra with personal items ahead of lecture times and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Wildlife Drive and trails before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or risk being reassigned.

Here’s the free lecture series schedule…
– January 18: Dr. Sabine Grunwald, “Unplug to Re-Connect: How Less Time on Screens Makes You a Happier Person”
– *January 25: Author/photographer Richard Crossley, “The Power of Birding” (Co-sponsor: The Gresham Family and Hightower Fort Myers)
*February 1: Author James Currie, When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer (Co-sponsor: Jacqueline Aleandri, Hightower Fort Myers, and Haley Ward)
March 7: Author/environmentalist Diane Wilson, “One Woman’s Fight to Save Our Waters from Microplastic Pollution” (Co-sponsor LMP Conservation Fund for Girls and Friend of “Ding” Darling)
*March 14: Author/Sanibel islander Charles Sobczak, “Surviving the Storms – Hurricanes, Humans, and Wildlife” (Co-sponsors Cliff & Susan Beittel and Friend of “Ding” Darling)
– March 21: Recycling expert Stephanie Kissinger, “Talking Trash: Post-Hurricane Clean-Up and Recycling” (Co-sponsor Friend of “Ding” Darling)

NOTE: Book signings will follow all lectures marked with an asterisk (*)

Visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-series for more information on the series. To learn more about sponsoring or co-sponsoring a lecture, contact April Boehnen at AprilB@dingdarlingsociety.org or 440-452-9083.




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