August 4 marks the first celebration of Great American Outdoors Day across federal lands. It is now one of six fee-free days the government has designated throughout the year. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge also celebrates with the unveiling of a spotting scope engineered specifically for colorblind viewers, and with other free onsite activities.
Besides the scope unveiling and free admission to Wildlife Drive from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Wildlife on Wheels (WoW) mobile classroom will be available to tour for free at the observation tower on Wildlife Drive 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among the 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, “Ding” Darling will be the first to expand its accessibility initiatives to include a colorblind-friendly spotting scope. Specially manufactured by SeeCoast Manufacturing using EnChroma’s patented lens technology for color blindness, the scope will be mounted at the Wildlife Drive observation tower.
Also, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2021 Artist in Residence Rachel Pierce will be doing a pop-up plein-air painting demonstration along Wildlife Drive to illustrate the difference between colorblind and normal vision. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch her paint and meet the artist, whose year-long “residency” will culminate in an exhibition of her refuge-inspired and other works starting Oct. 1.