The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium will host the 14th annual Ding Darling Day on Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in its outdoor Mississippi Plaza. Ding Darling Day is a free, public event that celebrates conservation. Regular admission prices apply if visitors wish to enter the indoor components of the Museum & Aquarium and the William M. Black.
Free outdoor activities scheduled throughout the day include conservation agency presentations, animal programs, wildlife and fish stations, hands-on activities, and information from Iowa universities and their students on what it takes to become professionals in the conservation sciences.
Tubs and tanks will hold turtles, frogs and mussels and will be available for touching. Other activities include wildlife and fish stations, hands-on activities, and food and beverages will be available for purchase in the River’s Edge Cafe.
Ding Darling Day honors Iowa-raised conservationist Jay “Ding” Darling. Born in 1876, Darling spent most of his childhood on the edge of the American frontier in Sioux City, Iowa, exploring the expansive prairies and wetlands nearby. Darling rose to prominence as a cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal, though his artwork was syndicated across the country, running in over 130 newspapers. Darling began drawing political cartoons, but eventually shifted focus to environmental conservation. Darling authored two books and twice won the Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He was recruited in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt to serve on the President’s Committee for Wild Life Restoration. Darling helped organize the various sportsmen groups of North America into the National Wildlife Federation and promoted the annual observance of National Wildlife Week. He hoped to use the Federation as a conservation organization which would bring together concerned citizens across the nation. The world-famous wildlife conservation stamps were devised and produced by the Federation. Darling was also able to obtain agreement from every arms and ammunition supplier in the country to contribute ten percent of their gross receipts to federal conservation programs.
Thank you to Hy-Vee, who will provide food for demonstrators and volunteers during the event.