News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
June 5, 2017 - Another successful Turtle Trot!
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12th Annual Turtle Trot was a success!

Nearly 400 participants enjoyed the challenging and unique course where runners  experience three completely different ecosystems - uplands, wetlands, and coastal.

by Todd Richards

The 12th Annual Turtle Trot was another successful 5k Run for FOLKs, with almost 400 participants who ranged in age from 7 to over 70 years old.

Lovers Key is one of the few places in Southwest Florida that offers uplands, wetlands, and coastal environments, and Turtle Trot runners were able to experience all three in this unique and challenging 3.1 mile course.

The course was in great condition and the weather was fantastic. Many of the runners and their families stayed after the race to enjoy the beach and other amenities available in the park like kayaking, paddle boarding, and biking.

First Overall Male, Michael McHugh of Fort Myers, finished with a time of 18:15.38 and a pace of 5.53. First Overall Female, Ali Gardino of Naples, finished with a time of 24:05.53 and a pace of 7:46.

We want to thank the Fort. Myers Track Club for all of the help and support that they give us year after year; we could not execute this event without them. In particular, we thank JoAnne Hertel, who has been an invaluable resource.

The Friends of Lovers Key appreciate all the supporters that join us every year and those new ones that raced this year as well. We are looking forward to an Amazing 13th Annual Turtle Trot in 2018 and we hope to see all of you and all of your friends next year.  Please contact Sharon Downey at if you would like to help with the 2018 race.

Remember, Lovers Key State Park is open 365 days a year so you don't have to wait until next year to come out and enjoy everything the park has to offer!!! Contact Lovers Key Adventures for rentals and events at 239-765-7788 or online at

Lovers Key State Park Featured on

Lovers Key State Park has been featured as a "tranquil escape" where visitors can enjoy the quiet, natural trails, beaches, and waterways. Photo courtesy of LKSP.

The blog article,  A Tranquil Escape: Lovers Key State Park, presents a well-rounded summary of the many pleasures of Lovers Key State Park. With numerous photos of the varied ecosystems, and great quotes from Park Services Specialist Robert Hughes, readers can really get a feel for the park. Don't miss this wonderful piece!

"... this one-of-a-kind beach is a destination worth marking on the map for any traveler."

Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
June, 2017

Fri. June 9, 10 am
A Walk on the Wild Side

Fri. June 13, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Fri. June 16, 10 am
Sea Turtle Talk

Fri. June 23, 10 am
American Alligator Talk

Tues. June 30, 10 am
Black Island Bike Tour

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

Welcome new Park Ranger Katie Schulman!

Katie grew up in Plantation, Florida (near Fort Lauderdale). To get away from the busy and hectic lifestyle associated with living in a popular city, her parents took her kayaking, biking, hiking, and camping about twice a month. Their destination of choice almost always included a state park in Florida or the neighboring states.

Katie's fondest memories are of those weekends, so while she was young, she knew that she wanted a career relating to the environment. Lucky enough for Katie, she lived next to a magnet high school which focused on environmental restoration.

Katie enjoyed learning about Florida’s environment so much that she pursued an Environmental Studies degree at Florida Gulf Coast University, while working at a botanical garden in their conservation department. After graduating from college in late 2015, she decided to follow her childhood dream of becoming a park ranger. She is so happy to be at Lovers Key State Park and that she achieved her goal!

A Park Ranger's work is (almost) never done!

Park Rangers' duties are centered on day-to-day park operations. Rangers construct and maintain the grounds, facilities and equipment. They also perform many administrative tasks, communicating through reports, correspondence, and conversation, as well as standard office procedures. Other vital duties are the patrols and actions they take to insure visitors' safety.

Rangers also observe, maintain and protect the natural, cultural, historic and archaeological resources of the park. They remove non-native vegetation and conduct restoration projects. Park Rangers are the personification of both the park and the park service. Visitors rely on Rangers to answer their questions, as well as resolve their park problems, while maintaining the good public relations they have come to expect.

Next time you see one of our hard working Park Rangers, tell them, "Thanks!"

New volunteer: Sarah Adams

Sarah grew up right here in Fort Myers. She graduated from Fort Myers High School and currently is studying environmental chemistry at FGCU. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, traveling and cooking. Passionate about the health of the environment, Sarah is excited to learn from the amazing staff at Lover's Key State Park. 

Creature Feature
It's Turtle Time again!

by Eve Haverfield, Founder of Turtle Time Inc.

It is that time again when loggerhead sea turtles leave their far-away foraging areas and return to the nesting beaches from which they once scrambled to the Gulf as tiny hatchlings.  Now, several hundred pounds heavier, they are coming ashore to nest on their natal beaches.  Sea turtle nesting and hatching season officially begins May 1 and ends October 31 of each year.

After dark, female loggerheads emerge from the gulf, crawl to the dune vegetation, dig a deep hole with their rear flippers and deposit 100 or more ping-pong ball sized eggs in the egg chamber. They cover the nest site with sand and return to the gulf for a couple of weeks, or so. They will return to nest several more times during the summer.   

Sometimes sea turtles will crawl ashore to nest, but then return without nesting – maybe it just wasn't the right place! This is called a 'false crawl' or non-nesting emergence.

Sea turtles may be disturbed by people with flashlights, or dogs, and return to the gulf without nesting, leaving a false crawl. Marine turtles, amazing travelers at sea, are awkward on land…they are working against gravity. Please, never disturb a turtle as she comes ashore to nest. Sea turtles and their nests are protected by local, state, and federal laws.  

After two months, tiny turtles will emerge from the nest and quickly scramble to the water, hoping to survive the thirty years or so before they return to the same area to nest. Unfortunately, very few hatchlings survive to adulthood; many are eaten by fish.

Of the seven species of sea turtles in the world, five are in the Gulf of Mexico and four of them are classified as endangered. The loggerhead sea turtle, once the most prevalent marine turtle in Florida is classified as threatened, but is now facing the same fate as the other species. Sea turtles play a vital role in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans. If they are to survive, we humans must be willing to share the beaches and oceans with these time-honored animals.  

It does not take much on our part. Turn off or shield lights that are visible from the beach so that hatchlings can find their way to the water instead of heading away from the Gulf, toward the lights. Amber LED light bulbs in canisters are recommended where outside light is necessary. Remove all beach furniture, toys, boats, etc. so that female turtles can reach their nesting area. Leave dune vegetation in place…dunes provide elevation for nests so that they don’t flood, drowning the hatchlings. And, please, properly discard plastic bags and fishing line so that sea turtles and other animals do not become victims of our pollution. What is healthy for sea turtles is also healthy for people…clean, natural beaches and clean oceans.

Lovers Key Sea Turtle Nesting Update

Photo by T. Srock.
Total nests as of June 2:  20
Non-predated nests: 9
Partially predated Nests: 3
Completely predated Nests:  5
Lost Nests (Storm Surge): 3
False Crawls: 31
Hatched nests:  0

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."                 

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.
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

Chunky Gaspacho

–  Serves 8-12
1 lg. can V-8 juice
3 lg. ripe Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 or 4 dashes of Tabasco
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. Olive Oil
  1. Mix and chop vegetables with salt and pepper in large bowl.
  2. Add Tabasco, Worcestershire, olive oil and V-8.
  3. Stir, cover, refrigerate at least 8 hours of overnight.
– from the kitchen of Ginny Garesche

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
Donnelly Design Build
Florida Everblades
Guest Services, Inc.
IconDo Design
Johnson Engineering
​Lovers Key Adventures
Lovers Key Resort
Newlove Vacation Rentals
Presstige Printing

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

FOLKS would like to thank the following New  Business Sponsors for their support as we fund raise for  the future Visitors Center.  Please consider visiting their businesses and supporting them as well.

  • ACMA
  • Artichoke & Company
  • Beach Bum Bike Rentals
  • Good Time Charters
  • Island Fit
  • Kathy Nesbit Vacations
  • Leani’s
  • Lovers Key Adventures
  • Maureen Guenther
  • Myerside Resort
  • Rodes Restaurant and Fish Market
  • Sharky’s Pizza Pub and Grill
  • Sneaky Petes
  • South Beach Grille
  • Southern Trust Financial
  • Sweetwater Outfitters
  • The Island Jewel
  • Truly Scrumptious
Donate to FOLKS
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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