Love this photo for many reasons.
Let me count the ways I love it:
- It’s a great photo, of a beautiful bird — a pose you won’t see often.
- An intern took it. Management of our great natural treasures, the Wildlife Refuges, the National Parks, the National Monuments, is flat enough that an intern can get great experience, and spend a lifetime — and score a great picture that the poobahs in Washington like and promote. It’s a career photo; let’s hope Libby Errickson has (or had) a great internship, and this is just the first of many career photos or studies or whatever.
- At a time when federal management of public lands is under fire, generally unjustifiably, simply for doing a good job but not having billionaires running their press operations, this is one more small example of something done right, for a long time. The J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest in the U.S. It was created by Executive Order from President Harry Truman in 1945, and is now one of more than 500 units of National Wildlife Refuges under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal agencies.
- Bonus: Ding Darling was a political cartoonist, and a conservationist. His pen, in pictures and words, convinced authorities to stop the sale and development of Sanibel Island in the Gulf of Mexico, preserving unique and valuable bird habitat. This refuge celebrates one of our greatest political cartoonists. It was renamed from Sanibel to Ding Darling NWR in 1967. If you ask me, we don’t honor our political cartoonists enough.
- The University of Iowa’s library has an extensive, digitized collection of the cartoons of Ding Darling — with encouragement for classroom use (see the “rights” section )
- Ding Darling Society aids conservation projects in and around the Wildlife Refuge
Video on the refuge, from the Ding Darling Society: