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News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
November 30, 2016 - Visit us this holiday season!
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 President's Message
by Tim Horvatich, President, Friends of Lovers Key

As we approach the end of 2016, I want to take a moment to thank all of our FOLKS members for their support through active participation in our events and generous gifts and donations throughout the year. 

I’m sure that you will agree that Lovers Key State Park is a very unique and special place. With your partnership, this precious resource and pristine beach is being protected and enhanced for our children and grandchildren to enjoy and cherish.  Your generous donations also support a variety of key environmental programs including the protection of shorebird and sea turtle nesting habitat and the propagation of native plants in our native plant nursery.

Great progress is also being made on our campaign to build a new Visitors/Education Center at the park.  We are excited to announce that an architectural firm has been selected for the design/construction of the building and a final contract is being negotiated. It is anticipated that the contract will be completed by year end.  A contract has already been signed with a very prestigious and well known exhibit design and construction firm.  Initial exhibit design concept meetings will begin in the first quarter of 2017. Things are definitely moving forward but we need your continued support to make it happen.

We sincerely thank you for all you have done in the past.  Please consider Lovers Key and the new Visitors/Education Center again in your year-end giving. Please know that your generous gifts not only support the new Visitors/Education Center but also help to protect and preserve the unique habitats and wildlife of Lovers Key.

Your continuing partnership is sincerely appreciated and is making a real difference at the park.  Thanks again and have a joyous holiday season!

Lovers Key State Park Welcomes
New Park Manager, Robert Steiger

Robert Steiger is no stranger to Lovers Key State Park. Bob served as Park Manager for both Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and Lovers Key from 1994 - 1996; the parks were jointly administered at that time. Bob continued on at Delnor-Wiggins after Lovers Key merged with Carl Johnson County Park in 1996 and was assigned its own Manager.

Bob's years of experience are particularly relevant to our Park. For example, Bob and his team of rangers and volunteers eradicated nearly all of the invasive plants from Delnor-Wiggins and restored much of the park's native landscape. At Lovers Key he will apply his expertise to removing Australian Pine seedlings, Brazilian Pepper, and Ear Leaf Acacia from the landscape.

As is the case at Lovers Key, Delnor-Wiggins' beautiful beaches have faced being “loved to death.” Bob and his team worked with the community to improve access for visitors while protecting wildlife and habitat, and he'll bring lessons learned to his new position.

Leadership for the FOLKS is among Bob's new responsibilities, and it is clear that he'll add important insights for protecting, preserving, and supporting the Park.

About Bob

Bob, a Florida native, was born in St. Petersburg.  “Growing up,” Bob said, “I watched developments swell and the dredging going on…I felt a need to protect the resources we had.” Bob adds, "As Park Manager…we’re preserving Florida for future generations. I have a granddaughter who will get to reap the benefits of what we do now."

Bob also enjoys meeting people with the same mind set, "people who are environmentally minded," he says. "I love the natural world!”

Bob felt that if he joined the Park Service, he would learn about the nature of Florida. While fishing one day, Bob met two rangers from Hillsborough River State Park who influenced that decision. At that time, 33 years ago in 1983, he started to volunteer at Weeden Island State Preserve.  After 12 Park Ranger interviews in various parks around the State, Bob was hired for as a Park Ranger/ Law Enforcement Ranger at Honeymoon Island State Park.

He also spent time as Assistant Park Manager at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach, and Anastasia Island State Park in St. Augustine. From there he was promoted to Park Manager at Paynes Creek State Historic Site on the Peace River. He came to the Lee Island Coast as Manager of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in 1994.

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events


Back for a second season!

Songwriters at Sunset - December 1


Mark your calendar with the 2016-2017 Free Acoustic Concert Schedule at Lovers Key State Park. All shows are on the first Thursday of each month and start 2 hours before sunset. Here are the dates and times:

Dec. 1    3:30pm     March 2  4:30pm
Jan. 5     3:45pm     April 6    5:30pm
Feb. 2    4:00pm

The first Concert on December 1 features Roy Schneider, Kim Mayfield, and J. Robert, and runs from 3:30pm to sunset.

Roy Schneider is a singer songwriter in the grandest tradition of Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Guy Clark, and Lyle Lovett, with a voice, songwriting skill, stagecraft and instrumental talent all his own. Kim Mayfield has toured with Roy for years across America and abroad as part of a duo.

J. Robert is a musician, composer, songwriter, and producer, recently named Marco Island Artist of the Year. He has been singing, playing acoustic and electri guitars, violin, and steel drums for over 15 years.

Park entry fees are $8.00 for vehicles with 2-8 people, $4.00 for single person in vehicle, and $2.00 for pedestrian/ bicycist.

 

Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
December, 2016

Fri. Dec 9 and Sat. Dec 24, 10am
Black Island Bike Tour

Sat. Dec 10 and Tues. Dec 13, 10am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Fri. Dec 16, 10am
The American Alligator

Fri. Dec 23, 10am
Walk on the Wild Side

Fri. Dec 30, 10am
The Gopher Tortoise talk

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


More exciting events!

Nov. 30 – Star Gazing on the beach with the Everglades Astronomical Society 5:30pm (Members Only)

Dec. 3 – Great Outdoor Adventure Day

Dec. 19 – Santa on the Sand, 1pm to 4pm (Partnered with the Bonita Springs Rotary Club)

Jan. 18 – Educational Talk from CROW,  5pm to 7pm (Members Only)

Florida Everblades host Park Recognition Night 
December 10, 2016, Germaine Arena, Everblades vs. Elmira Jackals

The FOLKS will host a table at “Recognize the Parks Night" during the Saturday Dec. 10 Everblades game at the Germain Arena.  

Purchase your tickets by Dec. 5 to take advantage of a discounted $20 per person ticket price – $10 from each advance ticket purchased goes to the Friends of Lovers Key.

For more info, contact Mike Kelly at 239-948-7825 ext. 1500.
Download ticket order form | Email Mike Kelly Or Get Tickets Online now!

It’s also Teddy Bear Toss night!  Bring a stuffed animal to the game and toss the bear on the ice when the Everblades score their first goal. Stuffed animals will be donated to local children’s charities.

Members Only Events!

Join the FOLKS today to join in

Nov. 30 5:30pm, Dec. 29 Raindate

Stargazing on the beach with the Everglades Astronomical Society

Join us on the beach by the gazebo for an up close look at the night sky! Members from the Everglades Astronomical Society, a group of amateur astronomers, will be on hand with multiple large telescopes to observe the night sky with us on the beach at Lovers Key.  

Space is limited for this special program.  Light refreshments will be served.

Free for FOLKS members with Park Entry.  RSVP to Judy Greenwood #708-359-0466 or email: fjgreenwood@gmail.com  


Tuesday, January 24 at 6:30pm

Annual Meeting Notice

Members! Join us at the gazebo on the beach for the FOLKS 2017 Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature a Special Guest Speaker from  Shy Wolf Sanctuary at 7:00 pm. 
Saturday, December 3rd, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Great Outdoor Adventure Day 
Let's Get Outside!

Join us at the Kayak Launch/ Picnic Area of the park for food, touch tanks, children’s activities, as well as Ranger-led programs. This fun-filled day is geared towards encouraging us all to recreate responsibly while enjoying the park’s unique habitats and wide variety of wildlife.

Rangers and volunteers will offer guided kayak tours, walking nature tours, bike tours (bike and helmets provided), geo-caching, fishing clinics, and more! Exhibitors will include local environmental organizations, as well as outdoor equipment and healthy lifestyle vendors. Great door prizes will be given away throughout the event. Make sure to check out one of the exciting paddle boarding clinics for kids, beginners, and advanced paddlers!

There will also be lots of children’s activities throughout the event as well as a Scavenger Hunt. Young people (or those young at heart), can pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Kit and use the self-guided program to earn yourself a certificate, member card, and earn a Junior Ranger patch, badge, or pin.

This community-based event is free with regular park entrance of $8 per vehicle of up to eight people, $4 for a single occupant and $2 per pedestrian or bicyclist. Guided Kayak tours will be $10/per person, kayak rental included. Bring your family to Lovers Key State Park on December 3rd, 2016 and discover why everyone is “Lovin’ it at Lovers Key!”


Monday, December 19th, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Santa on the Sand at Lovers Key State Park

Sponsored by the FOLKS and Rotary Club of Bonita Springs

Bring your children, grandchildren, and friends for an afternoon of lunch, games and prizes on the beach near the gazebo with Santa. We will be collecting unwrapped toys, which the Rotary Club will distribute to local children.

Each child (aged 8 and under) who donates an unwrapped toy will visit with Santa and receive a small gift. Bring your camera or cell phone to take photos! Lunch will be provided for the children, and snacks for adults. 

Each family in attendance will be given a chance to win a fully decorated Christmas Tree donated by the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs.

CONTACT: Pre-registration required; space is limited to 100 children. For additional information or to RSVP please contact Judy Greenwood #708-359-0466 or email: fjgreenwood@gmail.com

Event Cost:   Donation of one unwrapped toy for each child age 8 and under.

Park entry fees are $8 for vehicles (2-8 People), $4 for single person in vehicle, $2 for pedestrian/bicyclist.

Why not give the gift of a FOLKS tee shirt, tank top, polo shirt, hat or cookbook?  

FOLKS new polo shirts and hats are now 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 FOLKS1997@yahoo.com.

FOLKS colored tees and tanks are always available on our website. To see all styles and colors visit http://friendsofloverskey.org/shop.html.

The sale of merchandise, shirts and cookbooks is our top 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.

Holiday treat from the FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook
 

Holiday Triple Chocolate Yule Logs

1 3/4 C. All Purpose Flour
3/4 C. Powdered Sugar
1/4C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1C. (2 sticks) Butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. White Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine flour, powdered sugar, cocoa and salt in Medium bowl.
  • Beat butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer at medium-low speed until fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap: refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  • Shape dough into 2-inch logs about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake 12 minutes or until set.
  • Cool cookies 2 minutes on cookie sheets.
  • Remove to wire racks: cool completely.
  • Place white chocolate in small microwavable bowl.
  • Microwave on High 45 seconds: stir until completely melted.
  • Place chocolate sprinkles in another small bowl.
  • Dip ends of cooked cookies first into white chocolate and then into chocolate sprinkles.
  • Place on wire racks: let stand about 25 minutes or until set.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.
– from the kitchen of Judy Greenwood

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.​
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