The ground-breaking on December 6 represents the culmination of 9 years of vision, planning, and hours of work. Some seven years ago the FOLKS Board of Directors shouldered the daunting task of creating a Welcome and Discovery Center for our Park. It made no sense that the second most visited Park of 174 Parks in the State system did not have a Welcome and Discovery Center. As you may have seen in the media, the Florida Legislature with the Governor’s approval has granted the Park Service the funds to make this dream a reality! Design of the building is now underway! (See new renderings of the Welcome and Discovery Center at the FOLKS website.) Budgets are being developed and FOLKS is staying closely involved in the process.
Park visitors will experience a new and exciting range of classes, lectures, special events, fundraisers, community programs in our planned facility. We also plan to incorporate state-of-the-art exhibits that explain the unique variety of the ecosystems featured in our beautiful barrier islands.
There is still much to be done in the days ahead, and we pledge to keep you informed of progress through this letter. For now we wish to thank the many of you who have helped in realizing the dream. It has been the support of friends, certain individuals, community groups, and the efforts of the local governments of Bonita Springs, Estero and Fort Myers Beach that have brought us to where we are today. So stay tuned, there's more exciting news to come! And we will be asking for your continuing support! Thanks.Rich Donnelly, President FOLKS.
The Fort Myers Beach news Island Sand Paper hit the highlights of the FOLKS Birthday Bash in an article titled, "Lovers Key State Park Turns 20!" They quote Pamela Jones-Morton, former president of the Friends of Lovers Key State Park (FOLKS) who provided a brief history: “Go back in your mind over one thousand years,” she instructed, “and close your eyes and just listen,” as waves lapped against the shore, complemented by gentle migratory bird calls just after sunset.
FOLKS member Mark Generales stressed, "... it is the combination of the place and the people, because the park would not exist if it were not for the people saying that this site is too important to be just another beachfront housing development…People are dedicated to Lovers Key State Park, not only because they understand what it needs, but appreciate what it provides us in return.”
Park Manager Robert Steiger told the crowd he feels the park's finest days are just ahead: “This time next year, the new Welcome and Discovery Center will be under construction, and that will provide people a better understanding of Southwest Florida’s coastline ecosystem…Remember most visitors and even residents are not native Floridians, so it is crucial they know its history, as one of our missions is education.”
Although a heavy rain cut short the 4th Nnnual Lovers Key Boat Show, Market and Seafood Fest on January 25 and 26, the event scored well with Friday marking the busiest single day in the 4 year history of the Show. And Saturday wasn’t far behind. This year, Bonita’s own Justin Satttler offered 60 feet of fresh seafood; from fresh grouper, crab legs and shrimp to paella, Low Country boil and Jambalaya – there was something being served for everyone. Full time residents mingled with vacationers picking through a variety of wares ranging from nautical shirts, hats, art and more. Bargains were to be had and sales were strong. FOLKS will earmark this years’ earnings to provide furnishings for the soon-to-be constructed Welcome and Discovery Center.
It might have been a touch chillier than we wanted, but the music was hot, the food delicious and the atmosphere incredible. We started the evening with a tram ride and a spectacular sunset. Johnny Caribe kept us entertained with his music and his patter and even got a few of us dancing. Texas Tony's really cooked up some great BBQ, and the bar was hopping. Even the appetizers and desserts were “nummy”. Many, many thanks to the many, many folks that made this such a success!
The ocean and gulls provided background music for the occasion, and Love was in the air on the beach at Lovers Key State Park. Couples were young and old, from newly married to past their golden anniversary. This hallmark FOLKS event is so popular that three ceremonies were scheduled to meet demand.
Southwest Florida is home to some of the best winter outings in the nation. An article in The Naples News calls Lovers Key State Park, "one of the most popular beaches in Southwest Florida, regularly showing up on various top 10 beaches lists." The article, titled Get outta' here: Places to get away from the usual holiday grind, names five Real Florida places to visit, saving Lovers Key (the best, we think!) for last.
A baby manatee, no more than two weeks old, was rescued Wednesday after stranding itself or washing upon the beach at Lovers Key State Park. Read about the rescue and learn fascinating facts about the development of infant sea mammals in this informative article. Words and images courtesy of Andrea Stetson.
Andrea Stetson captured the spirit of the Lovers Key Songwriters at Sunset Series in her recent News-Press article. You can almost feel the enjoyment of attending one of the concerts when you read her descriptions and the quotes from attendees, including our own Shelley-Sue Williams and Judy Greenwood.
January, 2019 E-News
Welcome and Discovery Center, Christmas Tree Event
December, 2018 E-News
Peggy Wood, FOLKS 2019 Calendar, FOLKs - A Fun Fundraising Retailer
November, 2018 E-News
Message from the Park Manager, Welcome and Discovery Center, Creature Feature - Iguana Invasion!
September, 2018 E-News
Groundbreaking Scheduled, New Park Manager, QLC Lovers Key State Park Visit
August, 2018 E-News
Note from Your President, Red Tide Challenges Coastal Communities, 2018 Lovers Key Sea Turtle Season Update
July, 2018 E-News
Welcome and Discovery Center, Park Manager Bob Steiger Retires, 2018 Lovers Key Sea Turtle Season
June, 2018 E-News
Grandview at Bay Beach, Donation from Fort Myers Beach Foundation, Turtle Trot 13
May, 2018 E-News
Songwriters and Luau Reports, Turtle Trot 13
April, 2018 E-News
Songwriters Season Finale, Tropical Beach Party Report, Final Yoga
March, 2018 E-News
SWFL Woodpeckers, Boat Show and Valentines Vows Reports
February, 2018 E-News
Annual Meeting Report, New Welcome and Discovery Center
January, 2018 E-News
Yoga, 3 New Rangers, Horse Conch Shells
December, 2017 E-News
Holiday Gifts, Birthday Bash Report, Wentletrap Shells
November, 2017 E-News
Shorebirds, Record Sea Turtle Season, Upcoming Events
October, 2017 E-News
Hurricane Irma Report, Park Reopens, Baby Manatee
September, 2017 E-News
Geocaching, 3 New Faces, Sea Turtle update
August, 2017 E-News
Upcoming Educational Talks and Events, Gumbo Limbo, Nesting Update
July, 2017 E-News
Visitor Center, Native Plant Restoration, Turtle Nest Update
June, 2017 E-News
Turtle Trot Success, Turtle Time Again, 2 New Faces
April, 2017 E-News
Volunteer and Staff Appreciation, Birds of Lovers Key, Memorial Gifts
March, 2017 E-News
Top 10 Things at LKSP, Reggae and Ribs Report, 2017 Board and Chairs
February, 2017 E-News
FOLKS 20th Anniversary, Valentines Vows Report
January, 2017 E-News
FOLKS Membership Meeting, President's Report, Park Manager's Report
December, 2016 E-News
FOLKS Give Energy, Upcoming Events
November, 2016 E-News
President's Message, Welcome Robert Steiger, Triple Chocolate Yule Logs
October, 2016 E-News
President's Greeting, Golden Silk Weaver, Upcoming Events
September 26, 2016 E-News
Grant for New Tram System, Sea Oats, Fundraising Goal Met
August, 2016 E-News
Pledge for Promos, National Public Lands Day and other Upcoming Events
July, 2016 E-News
Park Manager's Message, Online Store Opens, Slippersnails