News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
April 27, 2017 - Here comes the Turtle Trot!
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FOLKS Celebrates gifts of time and talent to Lovers' Key State Park

On April 5, all of the Park's volunteers and FOLKs volunteers were invited to the beach gazebo for an appreciation luncheon and awards ceremony. Attendees were treated to a delicious lunch catered by Moe's Southwest Grill, and many won gift certificates donated from local businesses.

Park Manager Robert Steiger shows sweet appreciation for the volunteers that make everything possible at Lovers Key State Park. The beautiful beach view made everything even more tasty.

Special awards were given to the Volunteer of the Year, Jack Delancy,  and Park Staff Employee of the Year, Robert Hughes.

Originally from Clinton, Illinois, Jack Delancy split time between his hometown and Florida for 12 years; he now lives full time in S. Fort Myers. Eleven years ago Jack saw an article in the paper seeking park volunteers — he has committed one day a week (during season) to Lovers Key State Park ever since. His expertise as a general handyman on maintenance projects has proved invaluable to the park staff. Once Pamela Jones-Morton, Ph.D. enticed Jack to join FOLKS, he served first as a Director, and then as Treasurer during the launch of the Capital Campaign. Jack earned a reputation for keeping the books with a keen eye on finances.

Jack was nominated by FOLKS Board Member, Shelia Armstrong.

    "Jack has devoted countless hours organizing and expanding our FOLKS merchandise for our fundraising efforts. He improved our presentation of the shirts, added colors and items based on customer demand (hats, tank tops), and has set up online sales through the website. He sells at the park once or twice a week, at events, and stays until dark when needed. He maintains inventory, and devotes many hours to ordering, folding and bagging shirts. Now he has his wife Judy helping out! Truly an exceptional volunteer, thank you Jack!"

More about Jack.
Jack endorses South beach with its great view as his favorite spot in Lovers Key State Park. When it comes to wildlife, Jack favors the manatee, and treasures the memory of viewing a manatee mother with two nursing calves from an overlook.

After two years in the Army, Jack studied Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri in Rolla. He then worked as a Materials Inspector for the State of Illinois Department of Transportation for over 30 years. Fifty-four years ago Jack married his next door neighbor, Judy, 13 years after they first met. They have 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters. In his free time, Jack is researching his family ancestry via the web, and has so far discovered that one branch on the Delancy family tree is of French origin.

     Bob Steiger, Park Manager (left) and Matt Kruse Assistant Park Manager (right),
     recognize Robert Hughes, Park Service Specialist, as Staff Employee of the Year.

As the Lovers Key State Park Service Specialist, Robert Hughes has many responsibilities including working with park Volunteers, coordinating Special Events, and community outreach.

In his role working with official park volunteers, Robert recruits, interviews, processes, trains and schedules the projects. He maintains the park's volunteer database; he is responsible for recruiting community organizations for special volunteer work days.

Special events within his purview include Great Outdoor Adventure Day, National Public Lands Day, Literacy Day, Global Youth Services Day, and a Coastal Cleanup with the City of Bonita Springs. Robert serves as the liaison for the park with the media and press, attends local events, and represents the park in the community.

More about Robert.
Robert is originally from Southern Idaho and has lived in Southwest Florida for 17 years. Robert Joined the Florida Park Service in 2006 as a Park Ranger at Lovers Key State Park. He was promoted to Park Services Specialist in 2016. Robert loves cats, Egyptology, and mountains.

Welcome to our new Park Ranger, Chris Tretter

If you see Chris around the park, please join us in giving him a big welcome!

Chris was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and moved to Lehigh Acres, Florida in 2003. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University. In his spare time Chris enjoys fishing, kayaking, and playing golf.
When asked what interested him most in becoming a Park Ranger, Chris said, "Protecting Florida’s natural habitat is something I strive for, and being able to share my knowledge about Florida’s environment makes being a Park Ranger all the more meaningful."

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events

May 13, 2017 – 8:00 AM

12th Annual Turtle Trot

This unique 5k trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem. It ends at the pavilion over-looking the beach, where awards are presented, refreshments are served, and everyone can enjoy the park.


Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
May, 2017

Fri. May 5, 10 am
Black Island Kayak Tour

Fri. May 12, 10 am
A Walk on the Wild Side

Wed. May 17, 10 am
Beginning Birding

Fri. May 19, 10 am
Estuary Wading Trip

Tues. May 23, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Thurs. May 25, 10 am
Cast Netting

Fri. May 26, 10 am
Sensational Sharks!

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

Season Finale of the Songwriters at Sunset

The season finale of the Songwriters at Sunset capped off a musical season of original acoustic music performed by members of the Americana Community Music Association (ACMA). Co-sponsored by FOLKS and the ACMA, the six concerts for the 2016/2017 Season entertained over 1,500 listeners from the gazebo stage right on the beach. Most of these listeners had never visited Lovers Key State Park before. Mark your calendar for next year's season which will begin in November and run through April, on the First Thursday of every month.

Creature Feature
Birds of Lovers Key

by Bill Schroeder, FOLKS Staff Writer

The diverse habitats located within Lovers Key State Park allow birders to see a large number of species even during brief visits. For shorebird observation, stop at the first parking lot after entering the park and walk or take the tram to the beach. To access the Black Island hiking trail, park at the second lot. If you wish to bird watch while kayaking or canoeing, the third lot is best place to park.

Many gulls, such as laughing gulls with their black heads, and ring-billed gulls, visit the beach areas. Willets, among the largest of the sandpipers, and plovers may be seen foraging in the sand at waves' edge. Overhead you may see brown pelicans flying or diving for their meals.

It's easy to spot cormorants or anhingas as they perch with their wings spread to dry. Both swimming and diving birds lack oil in their feathers, hence the drying behavior. A way to tell them apart is anhingas have straight bills; cormorants' bills have a obvious hook on the tip.

Great blue herons, great egrets and smaller snowy egrets also frequent the inland waters, fishing by walking and stalking their prey.

Osprey visit both brackish and fresh waters and are quite interesting to watch hunt. They fly slowly, sometimes hovering above the water until they find a fish. Then they fold back their wings and dive in to catch it.

Wooded areas of the park, such as Black Island Trail, are home to birds associated with fields and forests, such as cardinals. Near the beginning of the trail look up to see screech owl nest cavities at the tops of some trees.

This article is excerpted from a longer version soon to appear in Spotlight Magazine.

Please Join Me in Volunteering for FOLKS

by Sharon Downey, FOLKS Treasurer

Allow me to share my story. Like so many of you, I found that I had some time on my hands. Lover's Key State Park (LKSP) had always been a favorite destination of mine, so I decided to see what opportunities might be available. After a grand tour of the park and hearing what needs the park had, I decided to volunteer driving the tram. What an experience!! Talking to people from all over the world was wonderful. One visitor from Germany got so excited just seeing a turtle cross the road. Something most of us would think nothing of.

It wasn't long before the President of FOLKS approached me about becoming a member. I jumped at the chance. Long story short, I am now a member of the board. One of my board duties is directing our volunteer program. We have over 500 FOLKS members, but only a handful volunteer.

I need you to help me to change that. When FOLKS has a special event such as the Nautical Flea Market, Valentine Vow Renewal or the 5K race – just to name a few – we look to our members for support. I email those members who have indicated they want to be involved when needs arise.

We now have a need for 2 very special volunteers!!

The first opportunity is for someone with a bookkeeping background who is willing to spend several hours a week working from home. The second position is for a person with grant writing experience. As the development of our Visitor Center is realized, the board is aware that we may qualify for private/public grants.

If you can volunteer your time and talents in either of these areas, we would very much like to meet with you!! Please email me of your interest at and let's get the conversation started!

Hope to hear from you soon! Until then I'll see you at the park.

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.

FOLKS Membership Update

FOLKS membership has been on the rise! This month for the 3rd month in a row, we exceeded our membership numbers. We now have 512 members, which is our largest membership in the FOLKS history. If you have not renewed this year's membership, if you would like to become a new member, or if you would like to gift a membership to a loved one, click the button.
Join the FOLKS Today

Showing Love for Lovers Key State Park


A Very Special Thank you

A sincere thank you and our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Linda Dillon. Linda enjoyed spending time on the beach at Lovers Key State Park. She was a lover of nature, marine life, animal life, and sea shelling which brought her frequently into Lovers Key Park. In lieu of flowers her family suggested that donations be made to the Friends of Lovers Key.

Generous donations were received from several donors, including Elaine Davis, Denise Hawkins, Kristen Snider, James Cavanaugh, Michael Kozich, friends of Scott Dillon, Rose Trunbull, Karen Moore, and Heather Leavitt.

A donation in honor of a loved one is yet another way to support Lovers Key. If you would like to honor a special someone in your life, please consider making a donation to the FOLKS today.

Thanks to Members who keep giving

FOLKS would also like to send out a thank you to members who recently made donations to fundraising efforts: 
$5,000 recent donation from new lifetime member Deb Wyman
$2,500 recent donation from former FOLKS Director Joe Maccarone
$1,000 recent donation from new lifetime members Leslie and Andy Kern
Donate to FOLKS

2017 FOLKS Board and Committee Chairs

Officers                                             Directors

Rich Donnelly – President                               Frank Cassise
Flo Alexander – Vice-President                        Mark Generales
Sharon Downey – Treasurer                            Judy Greenwood
Shelia Armstrong  – Secretary                         Neeley Murphy
                                                                   Todd Richards
                                                                   Shelley-Sue Williams

Board Meetings are the FIRST TUESDAY of the month at 2pm at the shop at Lovers Key State Park. All meetings are open. Members and potential members are welcome to attend.

Committee Chairs

Membership Committee Chair – Rosie Cordes
Building/Exhibits Committee Co-Chairs – Rich Donnelly and Tim Horvatich
Event Committee Co-Chairs – Judy Greenwood and Flo Alexander
Capital Campaign Committee Chair – TBD
Communications/Media Committee Chair – Shelley-Sue Williams
Executive Committee Chair – Rich Donnelly
Nominating Committee Chair – Flo Alexander
Finance Committee Chair – Sharon Downey
Audit Committee Chair – Todd Richards
Legacy Society Chair – Flo Alexander
E-Commerce/T-Shirt Sales Chair  – Jack Delancy

Wear your Support for FOLKS

The  FOLKS merchandise sales are growing every month!
Merchandise sales account for the largest portion of our fundraising efforts.
The outdoor merchandise table by the tram was open for 15 days in March and merchandise sales were up with an18% increase over February.  

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.

From the FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook

Chocolate Chip Walnut Pie

1 9" pie crust
3 eggs
1 c. dark Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. walnuts
1 c. chocolate chips
  1. Beat together eggs, Dark Karo, vanilla and sugar
  2. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Pour into pie crust and bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until filling is set and pastry is nicely browned.
– from the kitchen of Ethel Pitcher, Long Branch, NJ

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 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.

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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