Friends of Myakka River
Dr. Mary Jelks
Drs. Allen and Mary Jelks were well-known Sarasota pediatricians. After they retired, their passions were redirected to the environment and in 1994, Dr. Mary (as she was affectionately known) founded the Friends of the Myakka River, a nonprofit organization that monitored the health of the river.
Dr. Mary inspired other pillars of the community to join FOMR and adopt the preservation culture of the river through annual cleanups.
FOMR helped the park staff preserve the natural habitat of forests and prairie grasslands by identifying the invasive species and creating programs to restore it. FOMR worked as a catalyst in the drive to get the river designated as a “Wild and Scenic River” in Florida. Their legacy is appreciated by hundreds of thousands of park visitors each year who enjoy the “real Florida” preserved and maintained by park staff and volunteers. FOMR has been an innovative and resourceful organization providing substantial support to aid in better management of both Myakka River State Park and the “Wild and Scenic” Myakka River.