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One-of-a-kind art goes on auction block for Go Wild for ‘Ding’

February 8, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Carvings by famed bird sculptor Jim Sprankle, an original osprey sculpted out of recycled bike tires, and a 5.5-foot-long beaded alligator are among the unique items that go on the auction block at the seventh annual fundraiser for the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge.

Go Wild for "Ding" - Call of the Osprey will be held on Feb. 13 at The Community House. This year's Go Wild theme continues a series of annual bird events to benefit conservation and land acquisition efforts at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

Each year, Sprankle carves a signature feather pin to keep with the theme. The bid winner becomes a member of the exclusive, 60-member Sprankle Feather Club, which flocks together for a special annual event. This year's hand-carved, hand-painted, and artist-signed pin will be modeled after the feather of an osprey.

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An osprey feather pin and osprey head slider, both hand-carved and signed by wildlife sculptor Jim Sprankle, are two item be sold in the live auction at Go Wild for “Ding” — Call of the Osprey.

Sprankle has also carved an osprey necklace slider. Winner of that auction item also becomes a Feather Club member and the head of the Feather Club for the coming year, helping to plan 2020's Flock of the Feather Club event.

The Osprey "sculptire" created by Sanibel artist Andrew Corke, who also sculpted the manatees for the refuge's award-winning Learning Lavatories, was donated by Cal and Jill Werner. Like the Sprankle sculptures, it will be sold in a live auction, led by Bailey's General Store co-owner Richard Johnson.

The hand-beaded alligator features fair-trade handiwork done by women in South Africa, donated by Dick and Pat Levinson. The alligator sculpture is currently on display for pre-event silent bidding in the refuge's Visitor & Education Center.

Banner items for the silent auction include other one-of-a-kind art and prizes such as hand-painted, porcelain wildlife ornaments by Patty Sprankle; a two-night stay at the Everglades cottage of photographer Clyde Butcher; a limited edition ceramic osprey sculpture by Ray Ayres, donated by Elizabeth Gardner; two framed, limited-edition Ikki Matsumoto prints; and handcrafted kite, manatee and anhinga bronze necklaces by Anisa Jewelry Designs.

Those unable to attend the event may bid on auction items remotely by contacting DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or

"For this year's theme we showcase osprey calls, a distinct audio feature at 'Ding' Darling," Miller said. "A big thanks to Diane Valerian and Kathy McCabe for their help organizing this year's event."



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