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The JN ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of the US National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)


NWRS is a designation for public lands and waters set aside to conserve and protect America's fish, wildlife, and plants and are managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

 Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida's Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the system has grown to over 562 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts encompassing more than 150,000,000 acres (607,028 km2).

March 2017

An opportunity arose to visit the USA and work for a week at the JN 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife refuge named after the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist.  This 6,300-acre wetland swamp is located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico and  is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States.

Jay Norwood Darling was instrumental in the effort to block the sale of a parcel of environmentally valuable land to developers on Sanibel Island. At Darling's urging, President Harry S. Truman signed an Executive Order creating the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945.  In 1967 the refuge was renamed in honour of the pioneer conservationist.