Ding Darling: The Original Guardian of the Wild

This Week in NWF History

Since 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has worked to conserve the nation’s wildlife and wild places. As part of our 80th anniversary celebration, we are recognizing important moments in our history that continue to make an impact today.

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Today, we are celebrating the 140th anniversary of the birth of our founder and famed cartoonist, Jay N. “Ding” Darling. Darling founded an American conservation legacy by establishing the National Wildlife Federation, advocating for the protection of wildlife and wild places, and creating the first Federal duck stamp, which is still in use today.

Darling brought together different groups of people to all work towards one goal: conservation. We encourage everyone to celebrate his environmental stewardship legacy by enjoying our natural heritage with us:

Visit roseate spoonbills in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Photo from USFWS

Visit roseate spoonbills in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Photo from USFWS

Darling’s leadership helped to ensure the passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, which provides money to states for the purchase of game habitat and to help fund wildlife research through a tax on sporting firearms and ammunition.

This lasting achievement has helped fund conservation for decades. The National Wildlife Federation is supporting the newly introduced Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2016 bill that amends Pittman-Robertson to provide dedicated funding from existing revenue from energy development on federal lands and waters for state conservation efforts to prevent at-risk wildlife from becoming endangered.

Many wildlife species, including monarch butterflies are heading toward the endangered species list. The magnitude of the solution must match the magnitude of the challenge. Help avert this crisis by dedicating $1.3 billion annually to states to solve these conservation challenges.

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