Ding Darling sign (2)
Photo courtesy of reader Robert McMullen

The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is on the Florida literary trail because of its namesake. It is also known for excellent bird-watching. J.N. Ding Darling (1876-1962) was a journalist, conservationist and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, who resided, in his later years, in a popular vacation spot — Sanibel Island. You can read about Darling at the website of the Ding Darling Society, and check out his work, like Prairie Gold!, at www.gutenberg.org.

Sanibel Shells © Author Adventures
Sanibel Shells ©Author Adventures

When visiting Sanibel Island, you will get a great sense of “Olde Florida,” where generations of shell-seekers have found a bounty of shells wash up on the shore from seas all around the world. (The photo shows some we collected there.)

The shells carpet the beach so be sure to wear sturdy shoes. Leave flip-flops behind. Shell collectors favor the early morning to find the most exotic shells near the shoreline.

Sanibel Island is the first stop on Florida Trail #3!

Patricia Smart