MDC’s Powder Valley Nature Center welcomes a visit with conservation legend Ding Darling May 16

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KIRKWOOD, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a chance to meet one of the great founding fathers of the modern conservation movement. Ding Darling may have had a whimsical name, but he left a serious impact on how we look at natural resources even to this day.

MDC’s Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center will host a live performance of The Art of Conservation, a Visit with Ding Darling Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. The performance features actor Tom Milligan in a first-person portrayal of the legendary conservation activist. It is part of the Legends of Conservation series.

Jay Norwood, known best by his nickname “Ding Darling”, was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist who lived from 1876-1962. He was also a key influencer in the early days of the modern conservation movement, helping it gain momentum in the early-to mid-20th Century. He used his creative talent through his cartoons to promote conservation and wise use of natural resources.

At the appointment of President Franklin Roosevelt, Darling served as head of the U.S. Biological Survey (the later to become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). In that capacity he secured $17 million for wildlife habitat restoration. He also helped found the National Wildlife Federation. His close ties to art lead him to establish the Federal Duck Stamp program. Darling was recognized by the National Audubon Society for his achievements with the Audubon Medal in 1960.

Actor Milligan, a 45-year veteran of theater, gives an insightful performance that will bring to life Darling’s passion for nature, his wit, and his journey as a pioneer of modern conservation. It will be a rare opportunity to reflect on the life and step into the mind of one of conservation’s forefathers.

The program is free and open to all ages, but advanced online registration is required at

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood, near the intersection of I-44 and I-270.