Wellness Week


As part of our 40th anniversary celebration this year and to connect individuals with the natural world, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society announces Wellness Week: Mind. Body. Heart. February 7-12 in partnership with the Refuge; Tarpon Bay Explorers, the Refuge recreation concession; and and the Sanibel Rec Center’s Heart Healthy Month.

Highlights of the week will include a ribbon cutting for the new self-guided Mindfulness Trail at the Bailey Tract with the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, a ranger-led bike tour of Wildlife Drive, sunrise yoga at the beach, guest expert speakers on healing through nature, and guided mindfulness walks.

“Wellness Week makes that connection between physical and mental health and the healing properties of being out in the natural world, especially coming off the stressful holiday season and entering into our resolutions for a more centered new year,” said Jessica Barry, DDWS Development and Outreach Assistant and project leader. “We are excited to debut our Mindfulness Trail, which has been something so close to my heart since I joined the refuge staff as an intern in 2020.”

“We are grateful for Jess and others for encouraging us to enhance the work at the Refuge in the area of true  mindfulness in nature,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. “It has resulted in this wonderful Bailey Tract trail with QR codes and podcasts so hikers can self-guide their mindful journey. We also welcome two visiting and one resident nature therapy guides who will be leading hikes and presentations that week.”

Guest presenters include Dr. Joseph Blanda, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon who now helps people with well-being and mindfulness; resident Cristina Shaul, who leads guided meditation and mindfulness walks; and Kim Sowinski, who teaches ayurveda-inspired nature yoga in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pre-register for activities through the Wellness Week Eventbrite page. Event participation is limited to 10 individuals.