News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
 August 8, 2017 - Mark your calendars! 
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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
August, 2017

Fri. Aug 11, 10 am
A Walk on the Wild Side

Tues. Aug 15, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Fri. Aug 18, 10 am
Black Island Kayak Tour

Fri. Aug 25, 10 am
Sea Turtle Talk

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

Educational Talks Calendar 2017-2018

More info to follow in future E-News, on the website and on Facebook.

Oct 11, 2017 –  All About Butterflies, Pamela-Jones Morton, PhD. 

Nov 8, 2017 – All About Shore Birds, Adam Dinuovo

Jan 23, 2018 – Annual Membership Meeting at the Fort Myers Beach Woman's Club
Come hear what is happening with the FOLKS and the future Visitors Center. A Special guest speaker from the Fort Myers Beach Historical Society will  speak about the history of Lovers Key.

Mar 14, 2018 – All about Stingers and Biters

Oct 10, 2018 – All about Manatees

Nov. 14, 2018 – All about the Calusa Indians

Welcome to Collin Jacobs,
our newest OPS Park Ranger.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Collin is currently a Senior at Florida Gulf Coast University pursuing an Environmental Studies Degree. His hobbies include canoeing, playing musical instruments and playing fetch with his dog Spot.  He plans to become a Law Enforcement Officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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.

Lovers Key Sea Turtle Nesting July Update

Photo by T. Srock.Total nests as of August 1:  68
Non-predated nests: 14
Partially predated nests: 23
Completely predated nests:  29
Lost Nests (Storm Surge): 2
False Crawls: 135
Hatched nests:  9
Total Hatchlings away: 353

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."                 

Gumbo Limbo, Anyone?

By Jan Kaymen, Staff Writer

Gumbo limbo is known as the “tourist tree,” since its bark resembles skin peeling from a bad sunburn.

When I excitedly told a group of friends that I had encountered plenty of gumbo limbo at Lovers Key State Park, one lady piped up with a question. She mentioned that she loves plenty of seafood in her gumbo — is that how they make it at Lovers Key?

Well, yes and no. While there IS plenty of (live) seafood swimming around the lovely beaches of Lovers Key, you certainly won’t find it IN the gumbo limbo tree. (Just to set the record straight, Lovers Key State Park does not sell gumbo.  However, you may purchase plenty of other yummy treats from the concession stand during your visit).

Formally known as Bursera simaruba, the gumbo limbo tree is easily recognizable by its peeling coppery red bark. This wonderful specimen thrives with minimal care and grows quickly. It drops its leaves in early spring and during dry spells. The gumbo limbo produces a dark red elliptic fruit (about 0.5 inches long), a favorite food of kingbirds, flycatchers, and other birds.

Many people refer to the gumbo limbo as the “tourist tree,” due to its resemblance to someone who stayed out in the sun too long. But ironically, in some parts of the world its bark is actually used as a remedy for sunburn, insect bites, and rashes. (Please note: Never remove plants or plant parts during your visit to the park.)

The gumbo limbo tree is native to South Florida, as well as parts of Mexico, Central America, and the northern regions of South America. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Florida is the only state in the U.S. in which this tree grows naturally. Several stunning specimens grow strong and sturdy at Lovers Key State Park. Easy to spot and intriguing to view, this tree enhances the beautiful landscape along the Black Island Trail and Eagle Trail.

However, the gumbo limbo tree is more than just a “pretty face” or interesting piece of peeling bark! Trees play a vital role in most every ecosystem. Their benefits are almost too numerous to mention, but here are just a few to keep in mind. In a single day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and into the air. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, and release oxygen back into the air. Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife.

Consider spending a day in Lovers Key State Park. You never know what sights you might encounter! Alligators, osprey, gopher tortoises, dolphins, manatee, and other magical creatures wander by frequently…but always on their own time table. One thing is for sure, you can always find a majestic gumbo limbo or two along the Eagle Trail or Black Island Trail. And maybe you will even come home to impress your friends with a new “gumbo” recipe of your own: one part tree trunk, two cups of sunshine, three tablespoons of caring, and a dash of observation. Simmer for half a day. Yield = plenty of fun in the Florida sun, and a reason to come back and visit Lovers Key again!

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.
Join the FOLKS Today

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.

Lovers Key #1 on Trip Advisor

TripAdvisor currently lists Lovers Key State Park as #1 of the 52 "Things to Do" for Fort Myers Beach. In fact, the culmination of positive ratings earned the park the Certificate of Excellence for both 2015 and 2016.

"Easy access to wonderful sugar sand beach. Lot of trails to explore. Good place to spot frigate birds and swallow tail kites and Rudy turnstones and lots of other shore birds. Shelling was above average as well. "
– Visitor from Grand Marais, Minnesota
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.

Spotlight on our Sponsors

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, Maureen Guenther IS the realtor for you. With 18 years of experience on Fort Myers Beach, she has comprehensive knowledge of the local markets and loves learning about new ones.

Maureen has lived in Florida for over 40 years, and specializes in listing and selling homes, condos, and lots. She has extensive knowledge of waterfront properties, single family homes, condos, beach front condos, beach front homes, re-sales and new construction. She brings her expertise to every real estate transaction, whether it is in in Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Naples, Fort Myers, Sanibel or Estero.

If you own real estate and are thinking of selling or buying, call Maureen today. She will give you consistent quality service. Honest and ethical, she has had a high repeat client rate for many years.
Maureen Guenther Real Estate Agent
Fort Myers Beach Realty (map)


Sharky’s Pizza Pub serves up more than their well known thin crust pizza! Sharky’s takes great pride in all of their homemade-from-scratch family recipes, which were handed down for many generations.

Using only the highest quality ingredients, their pizza dough is made fresh daily. All of you pizza lovers will love that Sharky’s specializes in Ohio Pizza. They also serve great appetizers, fresh salads, sandwiches, homemade soups and special desserts.

Open for lunch and dinner daily, most nights you’ll find owner Lorie greeting guests or busy in the kitchen preparing all of her homemade family recipes, including homemade Mama’s meatballs, and specialty Italian Dishes.
Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with your meal, and stay to shoot a game of pool or watch a game. Football fans will love that Sharky’s has the Big 10 network. Come on down to watch all of the NFL football games. Carry out, and on and off premise catering is also available.

Call ahead for daily specials, and stop in to enjoy their daily happy hour.
Dine in, Carry Out, and Catering either on or off premises.

Sharky’s Pizza Pub
4450 Bonita Beach Road Unit 10
Bonita Springs, FL (map)
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.

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

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