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Supporting Seven state parks in the Upper and Middle Keys

The Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks is a 501c3 organization supporting seven state parks and preserves throughout the Florida Keys.  

Meet the Board

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Jill Patterson

President - Karen Sunderland

I look back at the honor it was to join an enthusiastic group of community members sharing a common passion that included preservation of natural areas, preservation of history, education, and maintaining and expanding our local state parks. Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks, a citizens’ support organization, incorporated in 1987. 

I enjoy sharing my passion and enthusiasm regarding the importance of conservation and preservation of both history and environment, and as development impacts much of the area, the state parks provide examples of the diversity and uniqueness of our area.

I currently volunteer as a master gardener, serve on the Monroe County Extension Horticulture Advisory Committee, native plant society, and Daughters of the American Revolution Coral Gables chapter officer.  I am a former volunteer EMT/Firefighter and have served on various boards and committees.  My hobbies have included SCUBA diving, sailboat racing, and tennis.  I have run my environmental consulting business since 1989. 

I have called Plantation Key my home since 1968. 

Vice President- lou Caputo

Colonel Lou Caputo is the Undersheriff for the Monroe County Sheriff Office, he started with the Sheriff office in 1984 as a reserve deputy and worked his way through the ranks to his current position. Lou served two tours in Vietnam as a Tracker dog Handler with his dog Bruce they were assigned to the First Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne Division. After his military service he returned to the Keys where He married his childhood sweetheart Anita and have been married for 44 years. They have three adult kids and 9 grandchildren the family has lived in the keys for over fifty years. Eventually Lou started his own business and became a State Certified Electrical Contractor.  Along the way he has earned his Associate of Arts in Criminals Justice, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and his Masters in Administration of Justice and Security. He has also attended the prestigious FBI National Academy earning the Excellence in Leadership award. He is past president and current board member of Leadership Monroe and is an Alumni of Leadership Florida.

As a long time resident of the keys Lou has seen the decline of eco systems that surround the keys and the Everglades. For the past fourteen years he has been very active leading the Environment session for Leadership Monroe and Educating Leaders about the water flow and the quality of the water that impact The Keys. Lou was instrumental in working on getting a pump out boat for the upper Keys and getting the rules change for the Everglades to become a no Discharge zone for boats in the park. Lou’s love  and passion for the Keys and of the state parks locate throughout Monroe County,  sparked Lou’s Interest Into joining  the Friends of the parks which has been supporting the parks and their programs since the 80’s.

Treasurer- Sharon Sherman 

Secretary-Jill Patterson

As a 40-year resident of the Florida Keys and now retired from running a construction company with her husband, Jill remains active in community and environmental projects.    

 Jill’s eyes opened in the mid-1980s when the Florida Keys faced losing the last remaining large stand of Tropical Hardwood Hammock.  Hundreds of acres on North Key Largo were slated for major development to support an estimated population of 50,000.   She realized that once land is cleared it is gone forever and with it the habitat that supports wildlife.  The island would become a city and lose the small island feel.  

 It became evident that balancing environmental needs with the human desire to develop would be a constant challenge, especially during building booms.  Inspired by visionary, grassroots community leaders, who worked without compensation and understood the need to protect our natural resources, she joined efforts to give endangered species a voice. 

 Jill continues to support initiatives that provide blue, green, and open space which offers us an opportunity to connect with nature and educate ourselves about the value of preserving habitat for future generations of humans and wildlife.  She believes our collective well-being depends on it.   

Director-Kathleen McKinney

I have worked for the Florida Highway Patrol since April 18, 1983.  I’ve been assigned in South Florida during this time.  I was born and raised in Miami and graduated from North Miami Senior High School. 

I’ve been living and working in Monroe County, the beautiful Florida Keys, since November 2008.  I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors.  Over the last few years, as a member of the Mangrove Swamp Band, I’ve performed at Fort Zach in Key West, as well as Christmas on the Island and Island Fest.

I found out the “Friends” were hoping to boost their numbers.  As a long affiliated state worker, I know and understand many of the challenges that can face state entities.  I hoped that this knowledge would help me as part of this group and I was looking forward to continue to give something back to our community.


As a former state park ranger for Florida State Parks, including three years at Long key State park, I am excited to be back on this team working to support our beautiful Florida Keys Parks. 

An Invitation from the Board

We invite like-minded community members to join us and help support our mission statement. The experience is rewarding, knowing that we are making a difference and helping to ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the wonders and diversity of the seven state parks under our umbrella.

Mission Statement: A volunteer non-profit, citizens’ support organization created to generate public awareness, education, financial support, preservation, and maintenance of our local State parks.

 If you are interested in receiving more information or in attending a meeting, please send us an email today.  We would love to have you join us!

About US

Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks Inc. is a 501c3 organization helping to support the State Parks in the middle Keys mainly through fundraising activities. 

Learn about Our Parks

Become a Member

We are looking for new members!

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Contact Us


Phone: 305-664-4339

PO Box 236, Islamorada, Fl 33036-0236

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