A Message From the President


December , 2017

FODIP “Dreams” on the way to Fulfillment


Friends of Deerfield Island Park, (the island known by long-time residents as Capone Island), are at last on the way to havingour goals fulfilled.  The group was formed three years ago. As  president and founder, my  desire was  to impart greater value to the island  by providing local input,  and to have it remain forever green,  and as an educational  resource for future generations in Deerfield Beach.

These goals are on the way to reality as announced by Katharine Hendrickson, Naturalist, at our last meeting.  The Friends group (friendsofDIP.org) has worked over the past three years to encourage the preservation of the island as a natural wildlife area, providing habitat to the endangered gopher tortoise and other species. To accomplish this, we have been seeking volunteers,  new members, and donations.  An Ambassador program has been started to acquaint visitors with the island and provide educational and activities for adults and children.  New members are encouraged to join.

The Friends of Deerfield Island Park recently presented a check for $45,000 to The BROWARD Department of Parks and Recreation, part of a grant that they received from the JM Family Enterprises Inc. for the creation of an ADA compliant walkway to the soon-to-be-created Environmental Education and Research Center, where the caretaker’s cottage now sits.

BROWARD County Commissioner, Chip LaMarca has awarded $20,000 from the Safe Parks Land Preservation Bond Program to this Environmental Education and Research Center.  Additional grant funds from the JM Family Enterprises of $40,000 will be added to the Center for exhibits and programs.

A grant of $15,000 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission of Gopher Tortoise Habitat invasive plant removal will continue.  The FRIENDS group has already provided new chairs and benches for the recently converted picnic shelter to an outdoor classroom.  This is adjacent to the butterfly garden we helped install.

The long closed Mangrove Boardwalk will finally be renovated through an award of matching funds of $900,000 from Florida Inland Navigational District(F.I.N.D).  The boardwalk has been the “Crown Jewel” of the island, and its restoration has been long awaited.

The Parks Department is also seeking an educational partnership with an institution for research projects, while providing volunteer and internship opportunities for students and educational opportunities for the public.  It is hoped that eventually, the park will be open on additional days.

The Friends of Deerfield Island Park have taken on a new project: the creation of an outdoor, ADA compliant, three-dimensional Wingspan Exhibit. This is an exhibit of six local birds, with their wings extended, allowing individuals, children and adults,  to measure their extended arms against the bird. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for this exhibit and we are seeking donations and funding from individuals and businesses, and any other group willing to participate.   

After 3 years, I am amazed at what started out as one individual’s thoughts, could have this kind of impact in our community.

Wishing you all a Happy and healthy Holiday season.