Ann Helmers, President
A South Florida resident for over 40 years, Ann retired from a career as an educational administrator (Go ‘Canes) and with her husband relocated to live full time in the beautiful Florida Keys. On the water she enjoys diving and boating to explore the underwater treasures, and on land has discovered the incredible community of concerned residents working to preserve that beauty. Ann served on the organizing committee that created the Friends, is currently President and is honored to work with the amazing board of directors building the dream into reality.
“My favorite spot at the park is the lagoon at Cannon Beach, where I did my checkout dives during SCUBA training. That was my first introduction to the amazing underwater world of Pennekamp!
My wish for the park is to bring in support from the local, national and international community to help create great educational and recreational programs for everyone.”
Lynda Munshower, Vice President
Lynda has been a Keys resident for 35 years as a successful. business owner as well as a world sailor who spent several years circumnavigating the globe with her family. Lynda volunteered to serve on the initial Friends of Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson organizing committee, which was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for outstanding team performance in 2019. Lynda is the Vice President of the Friends of Pennekamp, a member of the board of directors for the Friends of Key Largo Cultural Center, and serves on the board of the Upper Keys Sailing Club where she is a passionate advocate for youth sailing. Lynda has organized many youth regattas and sailing programs in Keys waters.
“My first snorkeling experience was at Pennekamp Park and that experience fueled my desire to live in the Florida Keys.”
“My goal is to protect and improve our Pennekamp Park for generations to come.”
Dennis Caltagirone, Treasurer
Dennis has been a Florida resident for the last 68 years. He enjoyed an extensive career as an educator for 42 years and has brought his talents in creating events and building communities of passionate volunteers to his retired life. Dennis currently serves as the Board Chair of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Chair of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Sanctuary, District Rotary Chief of Staff, and Treasurer of the John Pennkamp CSO. As Board Treasurer his skills in fiscal management and fiduciary excellence have been invaluable to the Friends and our fundraising efforts.
“The best memory of the park is the first encounter with the natural and preserved beauty of the location.
My greatest wish is to both preserve the natural beauty and wonder of the park along with enhancing facilities to further serve both local residents and visitors”
Lindsey Crews, Secretary
Lindsey Crews first became involved with the Friends as a park ranger at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and now serves as a volunteer on the board, sharing her love of science and the environment with locals and visitors. Lindsey holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s degree in environmental education and interpretation from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and previously served as an educator for the North Carolina Aquariums. Lindsey serves as Chair of the Communication committee and is the enthusiastic and skillful voice of the Friends as emcee and organizer of programs and virtual sessions. Lindsey is an avid paddler, snorkeler and camper who is always looking for new places to explore.
“My favorite thing to do in the park is to explore the mangrove creeks!
My wish for the park is for an awesome playground that families can come and enjoy, and that more locals will come and enjoy the park.”
Tom Pennekamp, Director
Tom, a 3rd generation Miami native born and raised in Coral Gables Florida, attended Christopher Columbus High School, Dartmouth College and the University of Florida College of Law. Tom has worked as a trial attorney in South Florida for his entire career, opening his boutique trial law practice Pennekamp Law, P.A. in 2007. Tom is past President of the Dade County Bar Association and served on and chaired various Florida Bar committees as well as being a founding Director of the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Citizens Support Organization and a past Director of the Friends of Florida State Parks Foundation. Tom is a lifelong SCUBA diver, fisherman and boater and member of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. Serving on the fundraising committee, Tom also provides a valuable advisory perspective on legal and regulatory issues that affect the Friends.
“Favorite park memories for me include my childhood visits to the Park with my family and my grandfather John D. Pennekamp and boating, camping and diving throughout the park over my lifetime. My goal is to see our Park remain one of the premier properties and experiences in the entire Florida State Park system.”
Jack Salisbury, Director
Jack Salisbury, a graduate of Louisiana State University, had a successful career in the Apparel and Textile industries serving as President and CEO of a number of organizations. Following his retirement he purchased a residence in the Florida Keys to pursue his passion for fishing. He became involved in many philanthropic and environmental organizations seeing the need for protection and preservation first hand. He is Chair of the Ocean Reef Conservation Association, serves of the Ocean Reef Marine Advisory Committee, Friends of John Pennekamp Board and serves on the Florida Bay Committee of the Alliance for Florida's National Parks. As a member of the Friend's Board, Jack's leadership was instrumental in the donation to support the first Friend's major project to install needed mooring buoys in park waters.
Donna Dietrich, Director
Exploring the subtropical area is what drew New Yorker Donna to move to the Florida Keys in 2007, following a career as a photojournalist that took her from the White House beat to international postings for TIME, Newsweek and the Associated Press. Here she writes and photographs stories for regional publications when she’s not working in her garden, kayaking, swimming or whipping delicious meals in her kitchen. In addition to her position as Events Chair for the board, Donna generously shares her writing, editing and photographic skills on the Communication committee to support marketing pieces, the Friends’ newsletter and our website.
“Pennekamp park has always been a favorite, so a friend tricked me into going to the first Friends [organizational] meeting and I got hooked.
More activities for local folks is my wish for the parks. I want to have yoga classes on the beach in the mornings and dance under the stars in the evenings”
Jack Kardys, Director
Jack was born, raised, lived and worked in Miami until 2016 when he moved permanently to Key Largo. Jack is the past Chairman of the Board for the National Recreation and Park Association and former director of Miami-Dade County Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Department from which he retired after 36 years of service, having worked his entire career for park, recreation and conservation issues. He is currently president of J Kardys Strategies
country, and currently developing the Miami-Dade/FIND Waterfront Recreational Access Plan (WRAP). In 2018, Jack was contracted by Monroe County and developed the master plan for Rowell's Waterfront Park. Jack has been instrumental on the board in creating a strategic plan to move forward with becoming a world class support organization for Pennekamp.
“I live in Winston Waterways and kayak through Pennekamp regularly and because it has the best boat ramp in the keys, it is where retrieve my boat when it is ready for servicing. My family began summer camping in Pennekamp and Key Lago Campground and Marina when I was 12 years old and I have never left, having bought my home here in 2001, as soon as i could afford to do so. My one prerequisite for buying my home here was to be connected to Pennekamp.
My wish for the park is to be a part of a group of park champions who ensure that Pennekamp preserves our marine environment and develops as the world class recreational resource is was intended to be, one where those who use it leave profoundly impacted and committed to sustainable stewardship practices!”
Elena Muratori, Director
Park Services Specialist Elena serves as the primary resource for volunteers at John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson state parks. Her responsibilities include coordination of programs and projects to support park management initiatives as well as the ongoing volunteer contributions to park maintenance, visitor services and park resources. Elena also organizes park visitor outreach programs including an annual plant giveaway of native flora and the popular Delicate Balance of Nature series, which brings scientists to speak and which this year was presented virtually for the first time!
John Davidson, Director
John and his family have been enjoying the Florida Keys since the mid seventies. John is a member of the Ocean Reef Club and avid outdoorsman, fisherman, diver, sportsman and conservationist. He is also the CEO of Parmenter Realty Partners, a board member of the Bonefish Trust and a board member of the Young Presidents Organization. On the board, John serves on the fundraising committee where his managerial skills and innovative spirit bring creative ideas to the Friends, including the Coral Cam project among many others.
“I got involved as a result of the mooring buoy project and the donation from the Ocean Reef club.
I would like to make the park more accessible and create more awareness of the park and its issues”