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Friends of Myakka River

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  • August 17, 2022 11:30 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    Friends of Myakka River recently received $1,500 in grant funds from Adventure Cycling Association and The National Environmental Education Foundation.  The funds will be used to support the organization's Bike Myakka! initiative, and the upcoming National Public Lands Day / Bike Your Park Day event Bike Myakka! for Biodiversity.  This event will take place at Myakka River State Park on September 24, 2022, in partnership with Myakka River State Park staff . 

    “We are thrilled to support Friends of Myakka River and Bike Myakka!” said Carmen Aiken, of Adventure Cycling Association. “Their ability to share such a beautiful natural resource and the joy of biking with their community through incredible events while promoting stewardship via bicycle is something we hope inspires people across the bike community”.

    Read about last year's award-winning Bike Myakka! for Biodiversity event in a current feature on Adventure Cycling's website HERE

  • June 24, 2022 10:51 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    We are pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to the Friends of Myakka River Board of Directors.  Their appointments reflect the board's continued commitment to growing Friends of Myakka River's impact in our community, and to our new Outreach and Environmental Education Program.

    Dr. Helen Jelks King, the daughter of Friends founder Dr. Mary Jelks, and longtime Friends of Myakka River member, is recently retired from her optometry practice in Sarasota.  She has a long and significant personal history with Myakka River State Park and the Myakka River, and is excited to forge a path for the future of the park that will benefit people and nature alike.


    Tracey Long Beeker brings her impressive background in communication and public relations to the Friends along with her passion for the Myakka River State Park. She has significant experience helping non-profit organizations improve their fund-raising activities, strategic planning and community impact.


    Jeannie Hendrick Perales is a 4th generation Floridian who is committed to protecting Wild Florida in general and Myakka River State Park in particular. Her strong connections to the local non-profit community experience building meaningful community outreach programs will be invaluable as we explore future opportunities to serve the needs of the park, our community and our members.

    To learn more about our new board members, please see their profiles HERE.

  • June 10, 2022 10:32 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    Friends of Myakka River are extremely pleased to report that before, during and after the 2022 Giving Challenge, we won $11,100 in awards,  including the coveted First Place for Best Overall Campaign - A $5,000 prize!    

    Our 2022 Giving Challenge Video Commercial, highlighting our new Outreach and Environmental Education Program was one of 10 selected from over 40 applicants as a recipient of a $1,500 Best Video Commercial Prize.

    We also won $2,000 prizes for Best Giving Challenge Turnaround, awarded to the organization with the best turnaround performance from the 2020 Giving Challenge, and a prize for Best Use of Social Media. And thanks to our online voters, our Giving Challenge Photo submission (pictured below), which used evocative photos from our social media campaign, and screen captures from our video commercial to illustrate how we Share Myakka's Magic through our new Outreach and Environmental Program, was one of 20 to receive the most public votes, and a $500 for Best Giving Challenge Photo!

    "We are extremely grateful to our members, volunteers, the community at large and our local philanthropists, whose incredible support helped make this fundraiser such a huge success!" said Miri Hardy, PhD, Executive Director, "And we are thrilled by this resounding support for our new program."

    The award monies bring our 2022 Giving Challenge fundraiser total to over $38,000.  And, thanks to these funds, we look forward to continuing to increase the Friends of Myakka River's impact in the areas of outreach, community engagement and environmental education moving forward!   And if YOU would like to get involved in our new program, we'd love to hear from you.  

    For more information about our new Outreach and Environmental Education Program, visit our Giving Partner Profile or contact Miri Hardy.


  • May 13, 2022 2:48 PM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    After 10 years of service to Friends of Myakka River as a board member, including, most recently, 5 years as president of the board, Miles Millwee has resigned from the organization's board of directors.

    “We are extremely grateful for Miles's many contributions, and for the dedication, enthusiasm and countless hours he has given to the Friends, and the park, over the past 10 year.” noted Executive Director Miri Hardy.  Most recently, largely thanks to his leadership, the organization has been successfully expanding their impact in the areas of outreach, community engagement and education.

    “It has been my honor to serve on the board of directors of Friends of the Myakka River.” said Millwee.  “Our organization is in a unique position to benefit the preservation of this amazing ecosystem that is right in our back yard” he added.   “I am proud of all the work and passion that has contributed to making the Friends the successful organization that it is today, which will allow the organization to continue its important work in the future.”

    Miles will be succeeded as president by Bob Frank, PhD, who joined the board in February.

    “I am grateful to Miles for his superb leadership of the organization for so many years” remarked Frank.   Reflecting on his role moving forward, he noted that “Myakka River State Park and the Wild and Scenic Myakka River are treasures that must be supported and protected both now and in the future.”  Moreover, he pointed out that “There are real opportunities to grow the level of support the Friends provides and I look forward to continuing to work on programs that will help us share Myakka’s magic with more people more often.”

    To learn more about Bob Frank, please see his Board of Directors PROFILE


  • April 28, 2022 4:53 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)


    Friends of Myakka River recently participated in the 2022 Giving Challenge, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by the Patterson Foundation.   The nonprofit organization, which exists to support Myakka River State Park, and the Wild and Scenic Myakka River, fundraised to support their new Outreach and Environmental Program, which augments the park's offering through use of social media, print media and in-person programming. 

    Using the theme "Be the One to Share Myakka's Magic", the organization raised $28,178 during the 24-hr challenge, thanks to donations from 142 donors, matching funds from the Patterson Foundation, as well as two dedicated Friends of the Friends and prize money from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.  Due to their fundraising success, the non-profit was included in the top 20 Small Organizations Leaderboard.

    "We are grateful to our members, volunteers, the community at large and our local philanthropists, whose incredible support helped make this fundraiser such a huge success" Executive Director Miri Hardy said.  "We are thrilled by this resounding support for our new program, and look forward to continuing to increase the Friends of Myakka River's impact in the areas of outreach, community engagement and environmental education”.

    For more information about the Friend of Myakka River new Outreach and Environmental Education Program, visit the Friends of Myakka River Giving Partner Profile or contact Miri Hardy.

  • April 13, 2022 9:17 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)


    Sarasota, FL - Friends of Myakka River, a local nonprofit organization that supports the Myakka River State Park and the Wild and Scenic Myakka River, will be holding a free, Earth Day Celebration on April 23rd, from 9am to 12pm.

    Thanks to the generosity of our 2021 Giving Tuesday donors, we are able to cover park admission fees for 250 cars, during our Earth Day Celebration" said Miri Hardy, Executive Director of Friends of Myakka River.  "And all visitors who attend our celebration will be able to enjoy a range of free nature connection activities, suitable for all ages” 

    As part of the Earth Day celebration, Jan Williams and Richard Skaare will be read from their children's book, “https://herotheheron.com/Heronymus Heron Discovers His Shadow (and a whole lot more)”. Storytime will take place at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30. Self guided and guided activities will be available throughout the event.

    For more information, visit friendsofmyakkariver.org/events or contact miri@friendsofmyakkariver.org.


  • April 11, 2022 5:20 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    Friends of Myakka River, a non-profit organization that exists to support the Myakka River State Park, and the Wild and Scenic Myakka River,  was one of the 10 organizations selected from over 40 applicants by the 2022 Giving Challenge judging committee as a recipient for the Best Video Commercial – a $1,500 prize. 

    The Giving Challenge, a 24-hour community-wide fundraising event, is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by the Patterson Foundation.  During this year's Giving Challenge, Friends of Myakka River will be raising funds for their new Outreach and Environmental Education Program.

    Click HERE to view the Friends of Myakka River award-winning Video Commercial.

    Click HERE to see the Friends of Myakka River's 2022 Giving Challenge Campaign.

  • March 21, 2022 11:04 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)

    The Board of Directors of Friends of Myakka River is pleased to announce that we recently elected Robert (Bob) Frank as a new member of Friends of Myakka River's board of directors.

    Bob has been visiting Myakka River State Park for over 25 years. During his working years, he was a professor and dean at several universities in Ohio. Trained as a neuroscientist, he conducted research in the areas of drug abuse and human taste and smell perception. Bob retired several years ago and moved to Osprey, allowing him to visit the park more frequently.

    In joining the board, Bob looks forward to supporting projects that help inform more people about the value of the park and the remaining natural areas in Florida. And he is excited to, together with the organization and Florida Park Service staff and volunteers, work to ensure that Myakka River State Park is here to inspire future generations.

    We are excited to add Bob's enthusiasm and skill-set to our board” noted Miles Millwee, President of Friends of Myakka River. “With his commitment to our new Environmental Education and Community Outreach program, he has already added an important element to our board, and we look forward to working together in the future”.

    In his spare time, Frank and his wife enjoy wildlife photography, cycling and summer trips in their travel trailer

    To learn more about Bob Frank, please see his Board of Directors PROFILE.

  • February 07, 2022 5:43 AM | Friends of Myakka River (Administrator)


    Friends of Myakka River recently launched a monthly program called “Bike Myakka! for Good”.

    Biking at Myakka is good for the body, mind and soul” Executive Director Miri Hardy said. And, as a low impact form of transportation, biking is also good for Myakka. “Our new service rides offer our Greater Sarasota community an opportunity to give back to this beautiful place, while learning about Myakka's delicate ecosystems, and history.”

    With a free lunch, waived park admission fees and camaraderie also included, the inaugural ride on February 5thquickly reached capacity. Participants enjoyed a “Wild and Scenic” bike ride to the Clay Gully Pavilion, learned a bit about the history of roads and waterways in the park and completed an invasive plant removal project. In under an hour, the group removed enough Caesar Weed, a highly invasive plant which damages Myakka's habitats and displaces native plants, to fill 18 large trash bags.

    Future rides will take place on the first Saturday of each month, with preregistration required. For more information, visit friendsofmyakkariver.org/events or contact miri@friendsofmyakkariver.org.

    Photo by Miri Hardy


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Friends of  Myakka River
13208 State Road 72, Sarasota FL, 34241
941-373-7839


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