March Newsletter

The Mission of the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation is to enhance the beauty and experience of Lakes Park. 

Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation President Barbara Manzo

Message From the President:

I hope you are enjoying our new Newsletter. Thanks to our creator, Stephanie, for a great job. While February was cold (for us Floridians) and the beach was off the agenda, the Parks were jumping! Lakes Park was no exception. The Wednesday Farmer’s Market is super busy, and folks are out walking the Gardens and Trails on a daily basis enjoying the natural beauty. Attendance was high and we were able to introduce a lot of new people to the wonders of Lakes Park.
The Foundation is working to add new amenities to the park and your donations are helping us to accomplish this goal. Don’t forget to buy those bricks they make great gifts for everyone!
Our website is being updated so bear with us as we work through some issues.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news!
See you in the park!

Barbara Manzo

Leadership Team

At the Annual Meeting, the following were elected:

Barbara Manzo, President – former Director of Lee County Parks & Recreation
Marsha Asp, Vice-President – Realtor, CornerStone Coastal Properties
Kathy Busick, Secretary – former educator, now LPEF’s volunteer Gardens
Kathleen Johnson, Treasurer – CPA and shareholder at Miller, Helms & Folk, P.A.

Laura Davis, Director – Amavida Resort Retirement Community.

Welcome Back Bill

After a two year hiatus Bill Gray has returned to service on the LPEF Board. Bill was one of the founding members in 2003 and has served since. Bill lives in a community adjacent to the park and is an avid park user. Bill is originally from Ashland, Kentucky with several degrees and a very diverse life of work and hobbies. Among his accomplishments he was the #1 salesman for Pfizer in 1966.
If you see Bill at the Farmers Market or in the Park stop and say hi!

Roger Tosch Estate
Dabney Turley
Anthony Yemin
Lawrence & Libby Smith
Phil &Andi Hourican
Beth & Tuck Nason
Jonathon Busa
Jackie Thompson
Elizabeth Dosoretz
Tim & Angie Young
Vicki McEntaffer
Enterprise Holdings Foundation
John A. Mayer
John & Joann Soyka
Katy Chiang
Maria Pan
Blackbaud Giving Fund

Their gifts made possible multiple additions and improvements to the Gardens, new educational signage and enhancements to the Summer Camp program!
Donate here today to make a difference.

Come celebrate the 30th Anniversary!

Lakes Park plant sale!

Come to the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation plant sale held the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month from the first week in October until the last Wednesday in April.
All of the plants we sell were propagated here at Lakes Park. Master Gardeners Paula Novander and Robin Brocious will answer your plant questions and help you choose the best plants for you.

Lakes Park Farmers Market

We are Celebrating World Tai-Chi Day!

LPEF is partnering with Ellio Pilates to bring you Tai-Chi in Lakes Park for free! Now is your chance to learn the basics of Tai-Chi. It is proven to improve your balance, breath, and cardiovascular health among other benefits.
Join us on April 30th at 10am on the big field at shelter A-8 for a free class.
Over 80 countries will be participating around the world!

Family greenhouse article by Debi Brown

On February 14, 2022, the Family Greenhouse, located next to the playground behind the train station, was given a refreshing new look to the outside and inside of the structure!

The inside was rearranged to accommodate a Monarch Butterfly House to raise and protect them from natural predators and diseases.
The life cycle consists of obtaining eggs (size of a pin), which then emerges as (larva) caterpillars, and proceed to turn into 5 stages of the caterpillars(instars). The caterpillars need to eat enough milkweed to obtain a very plump (pupa). Once it finishes the last stage it forms an “J” and turns into a green chrysalis.

They actually can grow 100 times their original size during these stages. The chrysalis is lined with gold beading around the top and is completely changed during the metamorphosis into a (imago) single Monarch butterfly. We monitor, if they are male or female and then release them after their wings are dry.

Our volunteers who take care of the butterflies are called, “Wing Mammas”. They collect milkweed daily and inspect for any abnormalities. Many of them have become attached to these little critters and are amazed at how the caterpillars turns upside down to form their chrysalis right in front of their eyes.

They enjoy providing education to our visitors and love watching the sparkle in their eyes when they see a tiny caterpillar or point out the chrysalis. It is so rewarding to hear children’s stories of their experiences with butterflies while we patiently await our first butterfly release.

The Family Greenhouse is collecting butterfly friendly plants as well as a collection of books that helps kids learn how to keep butterflies safe and healthy!

Come sneak a peak at our creation the next time you visit our Lakes Park.

Alison Lovett – Shed Project

Talented artist, Alison Lovett, and her side kick husband Al, began the challenge last April to beautify the sheds in the back of the Fragrance Garden. This Fall, they returned to finish their labor of love Project. Thank you Alison and Al for all your hard work in transforming this Ugly duckling, into a sight to behold.

Lakes Park Community Garden

A portion of this week’s contribution from the Community Garden to the local food bank is shown including volunteers doing the harvesting, ready to be loaded and in the back of the car before delivery. Also on the display table at the Food Bank.
Ron and Julie Swanson are enjoying the fruits of their labors in their garden and the scarecrow keeps watch 24/7 in all her glory.

Check Out the Railroad Museum of South Florida!

The Railroad Museum of South Florida located inside Lakes Regional Park has a miniature train ride and train museum! Their gift shop is open Monday Through Friday 10:00 am t0 2:00 pm.
Weekends and Holidays it is open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Stop in and see their ever changing inventory of train related items! Check out their website here.

Education in the Park!

Michael Weston, the Forestry Resource Administrator for the Florida Forest Service, led groups of students through some various courses and exercises in the park this February. The students were fully engaged, and enjoyed their time learning.
By Toni Ferrell

Staghorn Fern Donation

Scot Anderson, Howard Holden, and Norm Baziniet are installing a Staghorn Fern in the Children’s Garden. This fern is 26 years old. Special Thanks to Sandy Lowe for her generous donation.

Bird Patrol led nature walk at Lakes Park

1st Saturday of every month!

What: Nature Walk offered by Bird Patrol in conjunction with Lee County Parks and Recreation. This easy walk along clear paths offers an opportunity to see birds in native vegetation with experienced Bird Patrol guides pointing out the many species in Lakes Park, a Lee County birding hot spot and crucial nesting area for many birds.
Parking: $1/hour or $5/all day.
When: 8 A.M. the FIRST Saturday of every month. Please arrive a few minutes before 8 A.M. for a brief intro and to sign waivers. Walks start promptly at 8 A.M.
Where: LAKES REGIONAL PARK, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, Fl. 33908
Meet: at Shelter A7. Enter Lakes Park gate from Gladiolus. Turn right. Drive to end of road, continue through the parking lot. Shelter A7 is located near the Train Station.
Information: Call (239)533-7275 or (239)229-0559 or online at
Please wear comfortable shoes and dress to be outside. Bring water, sunscreen and binoculars.

Summerlin Road bike path extended!

New bike path along Summerlin Road has been completed. The northbound bike path was previously stopped at our Summerlin park entrance. Now, it continues north on the park side of Summerlin road thanks to a state grant.

Leave Your Mark On The Park

Pave the Park Fundraiser

Bricks are a great gift and make a lasting memory. They are located in three areas of the Park. Purchase your brick here and fill out the form by choosing your location and wording.
Only $100!
We now have a data base of all the bricks in the Children’s Garden, Fragrance Garden, and Train Museum thanks to Scot Anderson and Howard Holden!
If you can’t find your brick e-mail and we will find it for you. Please include location, and inscription along with your name.

Become a volunteer

Volunteers are the very backbone of our ability to carry out the Foundation’s mission. We call our volunteers “Lakes Park Ambassadors” because of their tendency to share their passion and knowledge with park visitors.

Individuals wishing to volunteer should e-mail for more information.

The six acres of gardens at Lakes Park that include the Children’s Garden, The Community Garden and the Botanical/Fragrance Garden are managed and maintained by an amazing crew of volunteers. The regular work days are Monday and Thursday mornings from 8 AM to 11 AM. These hours vary depending on the Florida weather. Our current need is for full time residents who are willing to help when the snowbirds fly north at the end of April.

Bench Dedication Program
The bench catalog, pricing, terms and conditions, availability, etc. can be found by visiting our Bench Dedication landing page.

Pave the Park – Buy a Brick!
Bricks are a very popular way to support the park. Three locations to choose from! Find out more by visiting our Pave the Park page.

Donate through the PayPal Giving Fund
PayPal has a special program – no one gets charged any credit card merchant fees! Click this link to find out how quick and easy it is to donate through the PayPal Giving Fund

Interested in the Community Garden?
We get many requests for a bed in the Community Garden. Whenever a bed becomes available, we hold an “email lottery” to engage a new Community Garden member. Get details and put your name on the Community Garden Notifications List – click here to find out more.

Join the Board of Directors or the Advisory Board
We’re looking to build out our Board of Directors and Advisory Board with community leaders who love Lakes Park and are willing to tap their personal and professional networks as well as their own skills, knowledge, and wisdom to support the Foundation in achieving its mission – Enhancing the Beauty and Experience of Lakes Park. CONTACT US at if you are interested in attending one of our Board meetings to see if this is the right mission for you.