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'Ding' Darling lecture series to open with blue jay redemption tale
January 10, 2020

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Popular bird author-illustrator Julie Zickefoose will kick off the 16th annual "Ding" Darling Friday Lecture Series with her story about an orphaned blue jay named Jemima.

On Jan. 17, she will deliver two lectures on her latest book, "Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard-luck Jay" at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the J.N. "Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Zickefoose spent a year healing, raising and studying the foundling before she released it. She began writing and illustrating her book immediately upon adopting the bird, which opened the door to the world of jays.

"More than a wildlife rehab story, it's the story of life, love and dealing with great loss; of finding grace and redemption in bonding with a wild bird," Zickefoose, a contributing editor to Bird Watcher's Digest, said.

Other works by the author include "Natural Gardening for Birds," "Letters from Eden," "The Bluebird Effect" and "Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest."

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management and Sanibel Carts co-sponsor the free 12-lecture series with support from the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. The lectures are held on Fridays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the admission-free Visitor & Education Center's auditorium.

The remaining schedule, including some book signings, is as follows:

- Jan. 24: Nature photographer Clyde Butcher, "America's Everglades: Through the Lens of Clyde Butcher"*

- Jan. 31: Author and honey sommelier C. Marina Marchese, "Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper"*

- Feb. 7: Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill, "From Butterflies to Lions: A Walk on the Wild Side"

- Feb. 14: Author Cynthia Barnett, "Rain: A Natural and Cultural History"*

- Feb. 21: Author Jeff Klinkenberg, "Alligator in B Flat: Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida"*

- Feb 28: Author Craig Pittman, "Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Endangered Florida Panther"*

- March 6: Author and photographer Paul Bannick, "The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America's Most Iconic Birds"*

- March 13: Upcycle Designer Nancy Judd, of RecycleRunway.com

- March 20: Author Eliot Kleinberg, "Black Cloud: The Great Hurricane of 1928"*

- March 27: Author Jack Davis, "All About Eagles and Other Florida Eco-Topics"*

- April 3: Jeri Magg, "Remarkable Women of Sanibel & Captiva"*

*book signing to follow

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra seat with personal items, then they may explore the center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or risk being reassigned.

This year, DDWS will film most of the lectures and broadcast them on Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/dingdarling. For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel.

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