Apr. 9 FISH OF SANCAP Friendly Faces Luncheon Features ‘How the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge survived the hurricane and Recovery Efforts’

Islanders, friends and family are invited to the community-wide FISH OF SANCAP Friendly Faces Luncheon, scheduled for Tues., Apr. 9  beginning at 11:00am. 

Sanibel Deli will provide lunch, complimentary to all guests. Giveaways and interactive group games are included. Monthly luncheons are held at the Sanibel Recreation Center, 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road, each 2nd Tuesday of the month. A virtual option is also available. Reservations and meal choices are required by Fri., Apr. 5 to Erika Broyles at FISH at 239-472-4775.  Space is limited and FISH requests RSVPs as soon as possible to guarantee attendance. Zoom instructions for those joining virtually will be provided with RSVP. There is no meal delivery for virtual participants.

Ann-Marie Wildman, Executive Director, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society- Friends of the Refuge, and Bill Harkey, President of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society- Friends of the Refuge will discuss how the refuge survived Hurricane Ian and their recovery efforts. This non-profit friend’s group is recognized around the country as one of the premiere friend’s organizations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for their work in supporting the Refuge in areas of education, programming, land acquisition/restoration and overall conservation efforts through marketing, philanthropic support and advocacy.

Wildman, a former FISH board member, uses her experience in the corporate world to work as the Executive Director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society.  Her entrepreneurial success began in the fine art world first in Honolulu and then in Whistler, British Columbia where she started several successful businesses from the ground up.  In 2009, Ann-Marie moved to Sanibel, where she continued to represent artists and set up fine art shows in Maui and New York. Her involvement with the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society began as a supporter and board member and later as a part time turned full time staff member overseeing The Nature Store and developing their online presence and ultimately moving into the area of Donor Development and Philanthropy.  Today Ann-Marie uses her entrepreneurial skills from the development of her for profit businesses to help build and develop programs, implement budgets, manage grants and coordinate special events in her position as Executive Director.  The mission of conservation and advocacy for wildlife is her primary focus.

Harkey is an active Rotarian and is the President of the Ding Darling Wildlife Society, Friends of the Refuge.  He and his wife are supporters of several non-profit organizations on Sanibel. Harkey was born and raised on the family ranch in northern California.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Georgia and enjoyed a 29+ year career in the United States Army.

Says Wildman, “The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and world famous for spectacular migratory bird populations.  From free programming like walks in nature to photography to scholarships to urban outreach through a mobile classroom and our April 20th Conservation Carnival at Lakes Park, we will feature the many ways that “Ding” Darling is a big part of the community.  We hope to see you at the FISH Friendly Faces luncheon!” For more information on the FISH Friendly Faces Luncheon or to RSVP, contact Erika Broyles at FISH at 239-472-4775.