“Ding” Darling at work at the desk that is on display in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.
Film show bill
Refuge to air film sneak peek
Another chapter in the Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling story will unfold on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, at the free sneak preview of the film “Darling Is Back” in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) is co-hosting the 1 p.m. showing.
The film, produced by Marvo Entertainment Group, makes the connection between Darling’s life in Iowa and Florida. Director Samuel Koltinsky, who also brought the bio-documentary “America’s Darling” to the refuge in 2012, follows the grassroots restoration of Lake Darling State Park in Brighton, Iowa.
Darling, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, lived much of his life in Iowa, where he created for the Des Moines Register. Like “Ding” Darling Refuge, the Iowa state park pays homage to the strong conservation ethic apparent in his cartoons.
Darling later served as the head of the U.S. Biological Survey, precursor to today’s U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). While in office, he inaugurated the Federal Duck Stamp Program to purchase wetlands for preservation. He designed the first duck stamp and the blue goose logo still used by the FWS.
“In November of 2013, I made my way to Brighton, Iowa, the day after learning of the death of my friend and mentor, Christopher ‘Kip’ Koss, Jay N. ‘Ding’ Darling’s grandson,” said Koltinsky. “I called Andrea, Kip’s wife, and asked ‘should I continue my journey?’ She agreed that Kip would want me to continue with my plans to visit the small rural community.”
The filmmaker discovered that Lake Darling was dying and that a local organization was working to restore it and the park. He decided to document the project for Iowa Public Television.
“Our story is one for the nation and demonstrates what communities can do when working together in the good ol’ Darling way,” Koltinsky said. “The documentary also features footage from 1950 when ‘Ding’ was attending the Lake Darling Park opening. What a treasure! ‘Ding’ Darling Refuge manager Paul Tritaik is also featured in the show, along with a host of others who have helped to enrich the continuing legacy of Jay. N. ‘Ding’ Darling.”
Admission to the film preview is free and on a first-come basis.
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 proceeds.