J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a 6400 acre refuge, located in southwestern Florida on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico, protects one of the country’s largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems. Well known for its migratory bird population, the refuge’s mangrove forests, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks protects endangered and threatened species and provides feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. This extraordinary refuge is now an important habitat to over 245 species of birds.

Did you know?

  • The refuge is named after Jay Norwood Darling, better known as Ding Darling, who was an American political cartoonist with an eye for conservation. His cartoons were published from 1917 to 1949 in the New York Herald Tribune (winning the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1924 and 1943).
  • Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling initiated the Federal Duck Stamp program and designed the first stamp. He was also appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as head of the U.S. Biological Survey, forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Darling was instrumental in the effort to block the sale of environmentally valuable land to developers on Sanibel Island. This same parcel of land became the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge


J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling

Article written by Sarah Wyland

Sarah Wyland
Sarah never gets in trouble for being on Facebook and Instagram at work, because its her job. As social media manager, she gets to tell the stories of travelers, teachers, and interesting places. Other titles she enjoys include dog mom to Knox, barre instructor, Crossfit athlete, avid reader, and world traveler.