News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
September5, 2017 - Spotlight on Geocaching
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A warm welcome to our new Marketing Director,
Leslie S. Kern

No stranger to not-for-profit organizations, Leslie S. Kern brings her expertise in marketing to FOLKS in her new role as Marketing Director. 
As Executive Director for a 501(c)(3) in Maryland, Leslie initiated an extensive marketing plan including re-branding the organization and building community awareness and support. With increased exposure, consistent and powerful advertising, and re-invigorated events, revenue for the local charity increased more than 100%.

Previous roles include Director of Marketing at the University of Maryland University College and most recently, Managing Partner at J.Hilburn Men’s Custom Clothier.
Leslie has a keen ability to create appropriate branding based on an organization’s mission. As a new resident in Florida, she looks forward to helping the FOLKS develop its message as they work towards raising the necessary funds to complete the highly anticipated Visitor’s Center. Although she continues to split time between Maryland and Florida, Leslie expects to continue her work on behalf of FOLKS year-round. 

Leslie is married to Andy Kern, Vice President of Hotel Brokerage with Newmark, Knight and Grubb. They are blessed with three sons - two of whom are in college, and the oldest who is beginning his career as a Financial Analyst with SpaceX. Lastly, they are also doting parents to two adorable pups, Harley and Tucker, who keep them smiling and always on their toes!

Geocaching, aka Pirate Treasure Hunting

by Lovers Key State Park Ranger J. Tanner Keilty

Geocaching, or Pirate Treasure Hunting as I like to refer to it, is using some means of navigation to find a hidden container with tokens – that is, a treasure chest with treasure. With today’s technology, most geocachers use GPS or a smart phone instead of a map and compass. Some still use maps and compasses – my preferred method – as it adds an element of challenge to the treasure hunt.

Log on to to get started and look for caches in your area.  They are rated 1 to 5 on difficulty and terrain and then size of the container. Choose a cache and then choose whether to use your smart phone to navigate to the cache, or plot the coordinates with a GPS. Then go find your cache! 

When you get to the location, you’ll have to look hard, as most of the time the caches are hidden. Usually along with the coordinates, there is a hint on what to look for, like a bench or a type of tree. When you find the cache, it’s normally a container with a paper log for you to sign and has tokens or “Pirate Treasure” inside that people have left behind. Tokens can be anything that you wish to leave in the cache. Some tokens are random items, and others are well thought out, such as a mini garden gnome.

One of the rules of etiquette for Geocaching is that if you wish to take a token, then you must leave one in its place. Some caches have clues or riddles in them for you to gather from several caches for you to then be able to solve, which leads you to a hidden cache that you won’t see on the website's map.

Florida State Parks has a challenge much like this called Operation Recreation GeoTour. After finding 20 caches, you can get an Operation Recreation GeoTour coin. Here at Lovers Key State Park, we are currently updating ours to include these clues for this program.

At Lovers Key State Park, we are working to expand our geocaching to have a Pirate themed challenge, since Black Island inside Lovers Key State Park was the hideout for Black Augustus, a Portuguese pirate who sailed under the flag of Gasparilla. So, who knows? You may find some real pirate treasure – or pirates! – in the future here at Lovers Key State Park.

Some Vocabulary to get you started
Cache - A waterproof container that has been hidden by a fellow geocacher, who has posted the GPS coordinates on a website, such as Some caches are easy to find. They are simply camouflaged. Others may be highly disguised and hard to notice. Virtual caches are simply an unmistakable landmark or park feature.
Coordinates - A set of numbers that describe your exact location on the earth's surface. Latitude/longitude (lat/long) coordinates are the most typical lines of reference.
Earthcache - These virtual caches provide Earth science lessons for middle school students. A cache is not hidden, the coordinates of an earthcache mark the location of a significant formation or landscape.
EcoCache - A 'green' variation of a cache. Placed by geocachers at environmentally significant locations, an EcoCache site helps raise awareness of the role humans play in restoring, preserving and sharing the environment.
Geocaching - An outdoor game of hide-and-seek using a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. Geocachers use location coordinates and a variety of clues to find caches. The visitor may be expected to leave or replace items in the cache or deliver items to another cache. The cache may be a small waterproof box or simply an unmistakable landmark.
Global Positioning System (GPS) unit - A device that reads satellite signals and then, through the use of mathematics, calculates your position on Earth as a latitude (how far north or south of the equator), longitude (how far east or west of Greenwich, UK) and altitude (how far above sea level).
Travel Bug - An Item found in a cache that is meant to travel from one cache to another. These are sometimes called 'hitch-hikers.' You can track the location of a Travel Bug at
Waypoint - A (usually two-dimensional) coordinate representing a position on Earth.

More info on geocaching at Lovers Key State Park may be found at FL State Parks Geocaching and at

Ranger Keilty guards treasure from pirate attack.

Meet J. Tanner Keilty, our newest LKSP Ranger!

Tanner was born in 1980 and raised in Portland, Maine. After graduating hgh school in 1999 he enlisted in the US Marine Corps as a Military Police Officer. Throughout his military career he held a multitude of jobs including SWAT and Police Academy instructor, ATV Patrols, Search and Rescue, Iraqi Police Liaison, Foreign Police Training team member, and a position at the Marine Corps National Museum.

Tanner recently retired from the Marines and spent a year traveling around the US visiting National Parks and Wilderness areas, seeing as much as he could of our beautiful outdoor areas of the US. Since then he's been active in the Search and Rescue Community on a national level.
His hobbies include a lot of outdoor activities, including scuba diving, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, hunting, shooting, traveling, cooking, and K9 training for SAR.

Watch for more upcoming articles written by Tanner on our website and in future E-News.

Welcome Lauren Leonard,
our newest OPS Park Ranger

Lauren is originally from St Louis, MO and has lived in Florida over 5 years. She is currently a Junior at Florida Gulf Coast University, pursuing an Environmental Studies Degree. Lauren's hobbies include playing the violin, singing, and photography.

A special message from our Volunteer Coordinator
Sharon Downey

Up Coming Volunteer Opportunities with FOLKS – We need your help, sign up today!

Our Season is rapidly approaching and the need for volunteers is greater than ever!! Please consider helping FOLKS in 2017-2018.

As you know by now, we are all excited about building a Visitor Center at the park. FOLKS has the responsibility of raising funds to complete the interior exhibits. We want this to be state-of-the art, which is another way of saying we need to raise a considerable amount of money. You can help by volunteering for the opportunities listed below. These are two of our immediate needs.
One of our most successful and on-going fund raising efforts is selling FOLKS merchandise at the tram station. You can choose to work one day a week or one day a month. The more people selling, the easier it is for everyone.

No selling experience is necessary. Visitors will flock to your table! You will meet guests from all over the world, plus you can spread the word about our Visitor Center and our fundraising efforts!! We will start selling the first week of November. So please email me the day or days you are available. Once I make a schedule, I will email it to those who have graciously volunteered to be sellers.
The next opportunity is to volunteer at the FOLKS booth at the Fort Myers Beach Sandsculpting Championship Event. We will be premiering our first ever FOLKS 2018 Calendar for sale at this event! We will also be selling FOLKS tee shirts, promoting FOLKS memberships and promoting the new Visitors Center. Volunteers will report to the Wyndham Garden Hotel on Fort Myers Beach for their shift. This event runs for 10 days, Nov. 17– 26. We will support our booth for 7 of the 10 days.

There will be two shifts a day, 8am–12pm and 12pm–4pm. We need two volunteers per shift. Ideally, two volunteers could stay all day. Following is a list of dates where volunteers are still needed:

  Nov. 17th both shifts
  Nov. 23rd both shifts (this is Thanksgiving so perhaps our Canadian friends can help)
  Nov. 24th both shifts
  Nov. 25th both shifts
  Nov. 26th both shifts
Please email me, Sharon Downey, at and once I have a schedule I will email it to those who have volunteered. You can also sign-up to volunteer online at SignUpGenius. Many thanks for your generous donation of your time!!

Calling all Volunteers! 

Our 13th Annual Turtle Trot 5k and Family Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 12, 2018. We are currently putting the committee together to begin planning for this special event. This event is one of our signature fundraisers, and we would love you to get involved by volunteering for the FOLKS. Please contact Todd Richards at if you are interested in lending a hand for this year's event.

Wear your Support for FOLKS

The  FOLKS merchandise sales are growing every month!
Merchandise sales account for the largest portion of our fundraising efforts.

If you haven't yet purchased a FOLKS tee, tank,cap, or cookbook, consider one for yourself or for a friend, and you'll be contributing towards our fundraising efforts towards our future Visitors Center. All of these items make excellent gifts too!  

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.

Join the FOLKS Today

Lovers Key Sea Turtle Nesting Update

Photo by T. Srock.Total nests as of Aug 30:  70
Non-predated nests: 15
Partially predated nests: 24
Completely predated nests:  29
Lost Nests (Storm Surge): 2
False Crawls: 134
Hatched nests:  17
Total Hatchlings away: 989

According to Park Service Specialist, Robert Hughes, "Sometimes predators, such as raccoons, get to the nests before we do, and they eat some or all of the eggs. If they eat some, the nest is partially predated; if they eat all, it's completely predated. If they don't get to the nest at all, it's non-predated."                 

Spotlight on our Sponsors

Southern Trust Financial Planning is an independent full service firm that has been serving Southwest Florida for years. With several financial awards given to the talented members of the Southern Trust team, you are sure to be in good hands.

Southern Trust Financial is both a Registered Investment Advisor and also does brokerage through Securities America. They specialize in all fields of financial planning, including investments, insurance, and tax and real estate planning. To put it simply, their goal is to provide personalized and unbiased advice to their clients so as to help them pursue their financial goals in the most informed manner possible.

As an independent firm, Southern Trust Financial Planning is well equipped to offer personalized advice to every individual that walks through their doors, recognizing that people come from all different walks of life and have different financial goals and burdens. With that in mind, Southern Trust is an excellent choice in helping you to grow and protect your assets through all of life’s stages.
Don’t wait! Call today and get started on planning your finances for the future!
9240 Bonita Beach Rd Suite 2211 | Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Office: (941) 308-0041
Toll-Free: (888) 610-0041

Friendly and familiar, the Kathy Nesbit Vacation Rental Team have played hosts to thousands of guests and visitors to the Island by helping them enjoy the best vacation experience on one of our country’s top rated beaches right here in Southwest Florida - Fort Myers Beach – celebrated for its old-fashioned charm, beautiful white sandy beaches and quiet back bays.

From our well-known Beach location in the Santini Marina Plaza, the Kathy Nesbit Vacation Rental Team has been graciously accommodating new-to-the-island visitors and returning guests on the Island since 1975.

With over 40 years of experience and over 150 Fort Myers Beach Vacation Rental Properties to choose from – Luxury to Economical, Beachfront to Bayfront, Studio Condos to Four-Bedroom Private Waterfront Homes – Kathy Nesbit Vacations offers an unparalleled level of service and accommodations for the Best Prices In Town!

Call or go online now to plan your next fabulous Florida vacation on Fort Myers Beach!

7205 Estero Blvd. Suite #707
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Toll Free: 800-662-4995
FOLKS would like to thank the following Business Sponsors for their support as we fund raise for the future Visitors Center. Please consider visiting their businesses and supporting them as well. Business Partners help support the environmental education mission of the Park.

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


Save the Dates!
Mark your Calendars!

2017/2018 Season of FOLKS Special Events

Check our website and upcoming E-News for more details as these events draw near.

Songwriters at Sunset Free Live Acoustic Musical Concerts in the Gazebo
First Thursday of the Month
Dec. 7, 2017
Jan. 4, 2018
Feb. 1, 2018
March 1, 2018
April 5, 2018
Dec. 6, 2018

Great Outdoor Adventure Day
Dec. 2, 2017

Santa on the Sand
Dec. 10, 2017

Tropical Beach Party on the Beach
Jan. 18, 2018

FOLKS Annual Membership Meeting
January 23, 2018

Nautical Market and Boat Show
Feb. 9-11, 2018

Valentines Vow Renewal on the Beach
Feb. 14, 2018

Wine Tasting on the Beach
March 21, 2018

Luau on the Beach
April 11, 2018

13th Annual Turtle Trot and Family Fun Day
May 12, 2018
Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
September, 2017

Fri. Sept 8, 10 am
Manatee Talk

Fri. Sept 15, 10 am
A Walk on the Wild Side

Thurs. Sept 14, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Thurs. Sept 21, 10 am
Beach Walk

Fri. Sept 22, 10 am
Beginning Birding

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

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.
Copyright © 2017 Friends of Lovers Key State Park, All rights reserved.

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