Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling was a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist who became famous for his witty commentary on the many different subjects that concerned the U.S. In both 1924 and 1942, Darling won a Pulitzer prize for his work, back in an era when newspapers were the predominant media.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Darling became alarmed at the loss of wildlife habitat and possible extinction of many species, and began working this theme into his cartoons. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Darling Director of the U. S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While Director, Darling initiated the Federal Duck Stamp program and vastly increased the acreage of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
|First Federal Duck Stamp, designed by J. N. Ding Darling|
With the passage of the Migratory Bird Hunting Act, all waterfowl hunters 16 and older are required to buy a Federal Duck Stamp. Proceeds from sales of these stamps have been used to purchase nearly 5 million acres for the protection of wildlife habitat.
Darling also designed the Blue Goose logo, the national symbol of the refuge system. Rachel Carson, well-known author and scientist, wrote of the emblem
“Wherever you meet this sign, respect it. It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization.
The next time you visit Hagerman NWR, look for the Blue Goose logo, and – if you have children with you – have their photo made with Puddles, in the Visitor Center!
J. N. Darling signed his cartoons with the nickname “Ding” which he created by combining the first initial of his surname with the last three letters. J. N. Ding Darling NWR, on Sanibel Island, was established in 1945 and named in his honor in 1947, due to his effort in blocking sale of the valuable habitat to developers.
For further reading, The Ding Darling foundation recommends the biography, Ding: The Life of Jay Norwood Darling, by David L. Lendt. See also http://www.fws.gov/dingdarling/About/DingDarling.html .