Upcoming Events

Log in

Log in


  • 11 Jun 2022 6:33 PM | Anonymous

    Coral Cam is now live on Youtube for a limited time!

    Check it out here!

    We will be migrating the camera to our website later this year and it will be available in our new "Members Only" Pages. Become a friends today to have access! 

  • 8 Jun 2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous
    Underwater 360 Camera in Key Largo Florida, Pennekamp State Park

    Watch the Undersea World of the Florida Keys From Anywhere!

    This summer Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park will install a webcam at the Mosquito Banks patch reef, one of only a handful of underwater webcams throughout the country, and the first in the Florida Keys.

    Once installed, viewers can watch, in the moment, fish swimming and coral swaying under the sea, from the ease and comfort of dry land, on their computers.

    Download the Press Release by clicking the link below.


    The 360 degree view camera will be mounted on an existing post, so as not to disturb the seabed. The self cleaning camera is manufactured, and will be installed by, "View into the Blue" out of Boulder, CO. It will include a sensor that can read ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen and light levels in real time, letting us learn more about our local ecosystem, according to their managing Director, Trevor Menelow. He added:

    "it is a much different experience than diving or snorkeling. When watching an unattended underwater camera, with no human present, animals carry on their normal activities and interactions".

    Financial partners in this project are the Ocean Reef Conservation Association, and Rod and Gun Club, and Bass Pro Shops. Jack Salisbury, chairman of the Conservation Association, said "we are pleased to continue our support and involvement with Friends of John Pennekamp, and the coral cam initiative will facilitate support for other important projects to be completed".

    The constant live webcam recording of our undersea reef world will be available to members of the Friends of John Pennekamp (join at pennekampparkfriends.org), and participating dive and fishing shops.

    A second camera, at a different reef location, is currently under consideration as well. 

    The Friends of John Pennekamp is a volunteer non-profit corporation supporting conservation and stewardship and enhancing exceptional environmental, educational and recreational experiences at your John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson State Parks

    Contact: Friends of John Pennekamp PO Box 372501 Key Largo FL 3303



  • 7 Mar 2021 7:30 AM | Anonymous

    Mooring Buoys Project at the Reef Complete!

    The first major project that our Friends CSO group researched, raised funding for, and implemented, and we did it all since forming only one year ago!

    Underwater crews from Sea and Shoreline have successfully replaced the 11 mooring balls that were lost during hurricane Irma and even added 7 additional moorings. Boats can stop at the reef, tie onto a mooring ball, and never damage any of the precious corals below with anchors.

    Read the Press Release from Sea & Shoreline below:

    Sea & Shoreline Is Protecting Coral Reef Habitats With Buoy Installations At John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

    Florida's foremost aquatic restoration company is making efforts to minimize the threats to coral reefs and shield them from future anchor damage

    WINTER GARDEN, Fla., Feb. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Sea & Shoreline announced the completion of a coral reef protection effort at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Fla. Eighteen individual mooring buoys were installed, allowing boats and vessels to tie up to the buoys versus using anchoring methods that damage the reefs.

    The project is a collaboration between Sea & Shoreline, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Friends of John Pennekamp, a volunteer non-profit organization, all in an effort to support conservation and environmental enhancement.

    "Coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. Not only do they provide food and protection for sea life, they also play an important role in the development of new medicines to treat cancer, arthritis and other viruses and diseases," said Sea & Shoreline's President Carter Henne. "By installing mooring buoys, it will decrease the dependency on coral reefs for anchoring purposes, allowing them to flourish."

    "We are thrilled to partner with Sea & Shoreline and our community on this effort to protect these fragile underwater communities and ensure their growth, survival and enjoyment for years to come," said Ann Helmers, President of Friends of John Pennekamp.

    The Ocean Reef Conservation Association, Ocean Reef Club, Ocean Reef Community Association, and Ocean Reef's Rod & Gun Club provided funding for the project. "Ocean Reef strives to be a good neighbor to our State and National Parks; the conservation effort ensures the natural environment surrounding us remains healthy and thriving," said Jack Salisbury, the Association Chairman. "Our organization was eager to support Friends of Pennekamp's initiative to preserve this park that so greatly enhances life for all visitors and residents of the Florida Keys."

    Since its inception in 2015, Sea & Shoreline's unparalleled experience with scientifically validated methods of aquatic restoration has proven successful across more than 150 environmental projects. The company continues to be the industry leader in rehabilitating threatened and corrupted aquatic environments. Other current and upcoming projects include the restoration of nearly 50 acres of seagrass habitat within the Kings Bay Restoration Project in Crystal River, FL., a coral aquaculture nursery in Barbuda, creation of oyster reefs for the City of Naples, and seagrass restorations in the Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River.


    Sea & Shoreline, LLC is a Florida-based aquatic restoration firm with two decades of experience restoring fresh and saltwater habitats to healthy and self-sustaining ecosystems. Sea & Shoreline has completed over 150 habitat restoration projects. Services include dredging, seagrass, oyster reef, coral reef, and propeller scar restorations, living shorelines, vegetated retaining walls, wetland plantings, and seagrass mitigation banking. For more information, please visit seaandshoreline.com.

    About Friends of John Pennekamp

    The Friends of John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a volunteer non-profit corporation supporting conservation and stewardship, and enhancing exceptional environmental, educational, and recreational experiences at John Pennekamp and Dagny Johnson State Parks. This is accomplished through events and activities, special work projects, outreach programs, educational activities and communications, and through fund raising activities such as memberships, donations, and grants to seek additional funds to augment the state parks' existing funding to maintain, enhance, and expand the parks' services to the public and the conservation of the natural areas of the two parks. For more information, please visit pennekampparkfirends.org.

    Contact: Heather Herold


    (321) 626-6760

    SOURCE Sea & Shoreline, LLC

    Related Links


  • 4 Mar 2021 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteer Spotlight! - Lindsey Crews, active volunteer and board member.

    Lindsey Crews began her association with John Pennekamp in 2015 as a ranger. She loves the park so much, that she continues to be an active volunteer even after leaving for a new job in another agency.

    Her best park memory is of the first education program she put on at the park: Sharks-Fact or Fiction? “It was Christmas Day and we had 85 people. It was awesome!”

    For a favorite spot, Lindsey loves the “cathedral” – an area in the kayak trails where the mangrove tops arch over and meet overhead to form a church like ceiling.

    When dining out in Key Largo, Lindsey prefers Evelyn’s, a local family run place.

    Lindsey recently received a Life Saver Award when she swam out to a boat and resuscitated an unconscious park guest .

  • 26 Feb 2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Paul Rice Named Resource Manager of the Year for 2020

    Paul is the park manager at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. He was honored with this award for his commitment to the parks’ habitat restoration, protection of natural resources and stewardship of state lands.

    “Since 1981 I have been living my dream of protecting and restoring the delicate ecosystem of Florida” said Paul Rice. “ It’s an honor to receive this prestigious award especially since it’s something I’m so passionate about”

    The Jim Stevenson Resource Manager of the Year award is given annually, established by Florida Department of Environmental Protection,  by proclamation from the Governor and his Cabinet.  It is one of the highest environmental honors.

    Paul Rice’s interest in preserving the environment began back in grade school on trips to educational programs at local parks and marine centers. He grew up in rural Florida with thousands of acres of natural areas as his playground.

    Now Rice likes to see families exploring and relaxing at the park, making memories for the future.  He hopes he can instill a passion in future resource managers, so environmental programs are important to him.

    “Keeping Florida’s natural areas pristine and available for my child and future generations to enjoy is what drives my passion” said Rice.

    Please join us in congratulating our park manager on this accomplishment! 

  • 7 Sep 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteer Spotlight! - Laurie Brooks, volunteer Assistant Manager of the Native Plant Nursery

    Welcome to the Volunteer Spotlight! Here, we will gain insight into these amazing members of our park team.

    This month we are spotlighting Laurie Brooks, who is our volunteer Assistant Manager of the Native Plant Nursery!

    Laurie’s favorite spot at John Pennekamp is the Butterfly Garden. She likes to sit on one of the two benches that she and her husband donated to the garden in memory of their parents.

    Laurie moved to Key Largo in 2013, but has been coming to John Pennekamp since childhood. Her family would come down from New Jersey on Easter break and camp at the park. Her dad particularly loved this park, thus the memorial bench in his name. Her mother in law died around the same time as her dad, so they donated a bench in her memory as well.

    Her favorite park memory from childhood was marveling at the beauty of the roseate spoonbills that used to winter in the lagoon near the campground. Also, mom would put Spanish moss in paper bowls, topped with hard boiled colored eggs, and this was what Laurie long thought an Easter basket was.

    Her favorite recent memory is of her grandkids all sitting on great grandpa’s memorial bench for a photo.

    Her favorite local eatery was Snappers until hurricane Irma destroyed it! Now she likes to sit outside and dine at Buzzards Roost.

  • 3 Sep 2020 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    Visitor Center Projects are Underway

    The Visitor Center and Aquarium may currently be closed, but there is a lot of work happening on the inside!

    Did you know our aquarium team changes over 6,000 gallons of water in the tanks per week? All of the animals in our care are getting plenty of love and attention, as well as some new upgrades. In addition to the minimum care the aquariums require, volunteers and staff have worked hard to improve the electric and plumbing behind the scenes. These critical upgrades keep our staff and animals safe!

    Animal care isn’t the only thing happening right now. Working with our local partners, our park team is in the process of planning, creating, and installing for new educational exhibits. Exhibit work is currently being completed with assistance from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Florida State Parks Foundation, and the Florida State Parks’ Central and District 5 offices.

    Construction will be happening while the Visitor Center and Aquarium is closed and we are looking forward to the building's reopening when it is safe to do so!

  • 1 Sep 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Final Phase of Critical Restoration Work Complete at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park's

    May of 2020 saw the completion of the final phase of restoration at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park's former Port Bougainville site. This project represents the dedication of many representatives, non-profits, land managers, and citizens who have insisted on the preservation of The Real Florida.

    When originally purchased in the 1980s, construction of a large marina, hotels, and housing had already been initiated on the site. Restoration began in 1994 with the goal of returning coastal hammock and wetlands “as closely as possible to the original habitat composition.” Federal, state, and county partners cooperated to remove old buildings and fill deep-water channels, gradually eliminating potential sources of water pollution. Meanwhile, citizen and volunteer organizations reforested the site with native plantings for the benefit of local fish and wildlife.

    The Department of Environmental Protection prioritizes the improvement and preservation of Florida’s water quality for the benefit of our residents and visitors, especially in critical habitats like those found throughout North Key Largo. Port Bougainville’s legacy exemplifies the success of these efforts in improving the health of our marine resources, including offshore seagrass meadows and delicate coral reef ecosystems.

    At completion over 35 acres of disturbed land have been restored. This final phase of restoration required 24,600 tons of clean fill to be placed and graded for the entrance channel for the former marina. The volunteers for the park's native plant nursery have plans to continue planting where needed to restore the open spaces left by the work.

Upcoming Events

Give Us a Like

Learn About our Projects

Mooring Buoys


Coral Cam


Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park

102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
PO Box 372501


The Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Tax identification number: 84-3717252.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software