News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
January 30, 2016 - It's time to hit the beach!
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Recap: FOLKS Membership Meeting 2017

The FOLKS held their Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 at The Fort Myers Beach Women’s Club. Presentations included the President's Report by Tim Horvatich (above), and the Park Manager's Report, as well as an update on the new Visitors/ Environmental Education Center from Rich Donnelly.  The meeting concluded with a special program from the Naples Shy Wolf Sanctuary.

Park Manager’s Report

Bob Steiger, Park Manager at Lovers Key State Park reported that the 95+ volunteers at the park donated over 14,000 volunteer hours throughout 2016. This is the equivalent to 7 full-time staff members. Bob thanked all of the FOLKS volunteers, whose 2,000 hours counted towards that total.

With over 1,200,000 visitors in 2016, Lovers Key State Park came in a close second to Honeymoon Island State Park in the Florida State Parks system. Bob stressed that the economic value of Lovers Key State Park to the local economy is important, with an average of $116 per visitor spent at local hotels, restaurants and other purchases.

Bob also reported that 2016 was a successful year for Sea Turtle nests with 49 nests and over 1,000 hatchlings. The park received a $90,000 grant towards the purchase of a new 1 ton vehicle and 2 new trams. Over 400 people attended the Great Outdoor Adventure Day, and the park sponsored a successful Global Youth Service Day and Annual Coastal Cleanup. FOLKS sponsored the Valentines Day Vow Renewal, The Nautical Flea Market and the Annual Turtle Trot 5k.  Bob concluded by stating that he is happy to be back at Lovers Key State Park, and said, “I can’t say enough about the park. I’m glad to be back.”

FOLKS President’s Report

The FOLKS President, Tim Horvatich, reported that FOLKS has over 450 members and that the organization remains committed to the conservation and protection of shorebirds and coastal habitat at Lovers Key State Park.

This year saw successful partnerships with the Florida Everblades, the Florida Track Club, and The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs. In 2016, FOLKS fundraising events produced 45% of its income. Events are marketed through E-News, the FOLKS website, the local papers and magazines, and through Facebook. Merchandise sales of tee shirts, hats, and cookbooks account for 28% of the income.

The President thanked three outgoing FOLKS Board members: Jack Delancy, Rosie Cordes, and Joe Maccarone. Although they will no longer be on the FOLKS Board, all will continue to volunteer for the FOLKS and for the park. New Board member Frank Cassise was unanimously elected to serve a 3-year term.

Lovers Key Visitors Center Update

Tim announced that private citizens have worked with Tallahassee to obtain $450,000 in state funding for the initial development of the Proposed Lovers Key Visitors / Education Center. Rich Donnelly, the Chairman of the Building Committee, explained that plans for the new Environmental Education Center include an Exhibit Hall, restrooms and a Multipurpose Room for meetings, weddings, civic events, and educational programs.

The Park Service has hired an architect and engineers who will present three sets of potential plans in March. The new Center’s state-of-the-art exhibits will be designed by Split Rock, the same company hired for the Ding Darling’s Visitor and Education Center. The first meeting on the exhibit hall design has occurred; once the architecture and preliminary exhibits are determined, FOLKS will continue targeted fundraising.

Following the regular business of the Board, representatives from Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center gave a presentation to the FOLKS members about their mission and facility in Naples. Two Wolf Dog ambassadors from Shy Wolf were available to meet and greet the members at the end of the presentation. Thanks to Shy Wolf Sanctuary for sharing their story.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events

Thursday, February 2, 2017 – 4:00PM

Songwriters at Sunset Second Season

If you have not yet experienced this popular event, you just might want to give it a try this month. The musicians share their original music in the intimate style of Nashville's acclaimed Bluebird Cafe. The February 2 show features two couples:  Boz & Bon “Togetha Forevahand Toni & Scotty 

Boz & Bon “Togetha Forevah is a husband and wife popular acoustic/vocal duo. They perform original material as well as covers for classic rock, rock, country, and folk.  This show will be all originals.
Toni & Scotty are a local couple that perform regularly.  Toni’s original southern bluesy style lyrics and Scotty’s northern rock style guitar are always well received.

All shows are on the first Thursday of each month and start 2 hours before sunset. Here are the upcoming dates and times:

Feb. 2   4:00pm      April 6    5:30pm
March 2  4:30pm

Park entry fees are $8.00 for vehicles with 2-8 people, $4.00 for single person in vehicle, and $2.00 for pedestrian/ bicyclist.
Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
February, 2017

Fri. Feb 3, 10 am
Walk on the Wild Side

Weds. Feb 8 and Feb 22, 10 am
Florida Manatee Talk

Wed. Feb 15, 10 am
Estuary Wading Trip

Thurs Feb 16 and Tues Feb 21, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Friday. Feb 17, 10 am
Black Island Bike Tour

Fri. Feb 24, 10 am
Beach Walk and Estuary Tour

Space is limited – Call for Reservations: 239-463-4588  

More events!

Feb. 14 – Valentines Vow Renewal, 10am or 3pm

Feb. 22 – Joy of Birds Educational Talk, 11am to 1pm (Members Only)

Mar. 31 - Apr. 2 – Nautical Flea Market and Boat Show

May 13 – FOLKS 12th Annual Turtle Trot 5K, 8am

The Benefits of Membership: Special Events

Stargazing on the beach with the Everglades Astronomical Society

FOLKS sponsored a Stargazing event on the beach at Lovers Key State Park on January 19 with volunteers from the Everglades Astronomical Society.  The event was well attended with FOLKS members and guests who enjoyed a beautiful sunset, refreshments, and a crystal clear evening sky. Multiple large sized telescopes were focused on Mars, Venus and various other stars and constellations giving attendees a chance to see up close, the wonders of the night sky.

Join in on the fun, and support Lovers Key State Park at the same time. Join the FOLKS today!

February 14, 2017
Renew your vows of love at Lovers Key

The Valentines Vow Renewal continues our year of celebration with twice the fun on February 14. Each year dozens of couples come to Lovers Key State Park to renew vows and celebrate the moment on our beautiful beach. There are two ceremonies to choose from, Brunch at 10 AM or Lunch at 3 PM. This event is usually a sell-out: reserve your spot early!

Wear your Support for FOLKS!

FOLKS new polo shirts and hats are for sale at the tram station every
Friday and Saturday!

Hats are one size with a velcro adjustment, made of 100% cotton twill, embroidered with the FOLKS logo. They come in 4 colors – white, oyster, blue and neon yellow at $17 each.

Polo shirts are available in White, Banana, Maui Blue and Mint Green, with the FOLKS logo embroidered on the left chest. Polos come in sizes L and XL only and are $35 each.

For information on how to order hats and polos, call Jack at #239-470-9556 or email

FOLKS colored tees and tanks are always available on our website. To see all styles and colors visit

The sale of merchandise, shirts and cookbooks is an important fundraising activity. All proceeds go to the support of Lovers Key State Park. A primary goal of the Friends of Lovers Key is to help fund the development and construction of a Visitors Center at the Park.
Start 2017 with a Donation to Support Lovers Key State Park

From the FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook

Artichoke Dip

1  cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated cheese (Chef's choice)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, cut in chunks
1 can Artichoke Hearts, squeeze to remove water
  • Place all ingredeients in a food processor. Process only until no more big chunks.
  • Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 until crisp around the edges.

Note: If you don't have a food processor just chop onion and artichoke fine and mix with all other ingredients and bake.

– from the kitchen of Barb Donnelly, Bonita Springs, FL

The FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook gives you 200 pages of delicious and inventive recipes from FOLKS members and local chefs. Original illustrations throughout by FOLKS Board Member Rich Donnelly. Purchase yours at the FOLKS online store.

Lovers Key #1 on Trip Advisor

TripAdvisor currently lists Lovers Key State Park as #1 of the 45 "Things to Do" for Fort Myers Beach. In fact, the culmination of positive ratings earned the park the Certificate of Excellence for 2015.

"We have visited Lovers Key every time we are in this area. The scenery is beautiful, peaceful, definitely not like other beaches around this area. We have seen manatees on our walks on the beach in the past as well as birds of all types. "
– Visitor from Cincinnati, Ohio

Calling Volunteers!

Photo by T. Srock.There are many ways to volunteer your time and talents at Lovers Key. Whether you're a people person or more hands-on, we need you now! You don't have to be a full-time resident to lend a hand. Please take our Volunteer Interest Survey to let us know what you like to do, and that you're willing and able to help.

The Friends of Lovers Key, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by the citizens of the community to support Lovers Key State Park and is registered as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, your Membership and Donations are tax-deductible.

Business Partners help support the environmental education mission of the Park.

Ashmore & Associates
Bonita Beach Jewelers
John Brady/Everglades Wonder Garden
Donnelly Design Build
Florida Everblades
Guest Services, Inc.
IconDo Design
Johnson Engineering
​Lovers Key Adventures
Lovers Key Resort
Newlove Vacation Rentals
Presstige Printing
Maureen Guenther & Tom Reed: Sunshine Team-Sunstream Realty
The Sand Lovers

Add your business to the list! Contact Contact Shelley-Sue Williams at (516) 381-3518.

The Environmental Education work of the Friends of Lovers Key is made possible thanks to our generous sponsors.​
Copyright © 2017 Friends of Lovers Key State Park, All rights reserved.

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