“Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge
Receives SATW’s Coveted Phoenix Award

SATW past president Jane Ockershausen (center) presents the 2012 SATW Phoenix Award to Refuge Manager, Paul Tritaik (left) and John McCabe, president of Friends of "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Sanibel, Florida…At a special presentation in the educational area of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Society of American Travel Writer’s (SATW) past president Jane Ockershausen presented the 2012 SATW Phoenix Award to Refuge Manager, Paul Tritaik.

Because tourism leaves permanent 'footprints,' some harmful to the environment, some destroying the reasons for traveling, SATW in 1969 created this award to recognize conservation and preservation efforts of individuals and organizations. The travel journalism organization recognizes conservation, preservation, beautification and anti-pollution accomplishments as they relate to travel.

In bestowing this honor on the 7,000-acre preserve, Ockershausen stated she was delighted to return to “Ding” Darling for the second time this year. My screen saver contains multiple shots I took of the birds that I observed…the Roseate Spoonbills, Great Blue Herons, wood storks and Cormorants. I’ve written 14 books about natural refuges, historic houses, museums and other regional attractions, so this is an area of travel that I know well and I am so very impressed with “Ding” Darling. To me, refuges like Ding Darling are Florida’s real “magic kingdoms.”

She went on to say, “One new aspect of “Ding” Darling that I particularly appreciated is the iNature Trail that uses Smartphone/pad technology to enhance visitor’s experience. In writing my books, designed in part for family travel, I learned how important it is to engage younger visitors and I think this is an excellent tool to achieve that purpose. Today, we witness the unveiling of the Marvelous Manatee exhibit, which is sure to be a hit with visitors.

“Ding” Darling truly lets visitors see the real natives—the birds, the wildlife and the indigenous vegetation. It is exactly what SATW’s Phoenix Award was designed to recognize. It is singularly appropriate that this award is being given this year, since Friends of “Ding” Darling group recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.

Participating in the SATW Phoenix Award presentation at "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge were, L to R: Tamara Pigott, Paul Tritaik, Jane Ockershausen, Chelle Koster Walton, Nancy Hamilton and John McCabe.

The Society of American Travel Writers is a professional association of 1,084 travel editors, freelance writers, photographers, bloggers, and public relations representatives of destinations, attractions, airlines and other travel related experiences.”

Ockershausen commented that her May visit impressed her and she became enthusiastic about nominating “Ding” Darling for a Phoenix award. With the help of fellow SATW members Nancy Hamilton and Chelle Koster Walton, she was able to obtain all the necessary background to complete the award application.

Since SATW began bestowing Phoenix awards, Florida has received six and what is highly significant is that three of them are in Lee County: in 1993 the city of Sanibel was recognized and in 2009 the Restoration of the Edison & Ford Estates…and now, “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information regarding the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, please visit the website at: www.fws.gov/dingdarling.

View a 3:25 Video of This Presentation:

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