A dedicated section titled ‘Connect with Keys Life’ has debuted on the Florida Keys tourism council’s visitor website, www.fla-keys.com, highlighting one of the Keys' greatest ‘natural resources’ — the friendly, easy-going people who call the island chain home.
The new section, www.fla-keys.com/connect-keys-life, encourages visitors to connect with local residents to glean insights and recommendations for off-the-beaten-path adventures and ways to immerse themselves in the genuine Keys experience.
Content emphasises how local charter boat captains, artists, restaurateurs, animal rescuers, eco-tour operators, musicians and others can offer a unique window into the Keys' distinctive lifestyle and eco-conscious mindset.
Through video vignettes and short profiles, visitors can ‘meet’ some of the ‘Stewards of the Keys’, creative, independent people striving to preserve the environment and local culture that make the Florida Keys unique. Video and story content explores their lives, work, passions, and reasons for living in the island chain.
Featured ‘Stewards of the Keys’ spotlights point out ways residents weave eco-consciousness into their everyday lives by protecting wildlife, supporting fishermen, reducing plastic waste, eating local foods, and giving back to their island communities.
Stewards of the Keys include:
- Captain Sam Zeher of Keyz Charters, an eco-tour operation specialising in wildlife tours out of Islamorada’s popular Robbie’s Marina
- Elena Muratori of the Florida Park Service who has spent more than two decades working at Upper Keys state parks to restore and preserve natural resources
- Rob Oliverio, a Steward of the Keys’ Backcountry, who traded corporate city life to work as an eco-entrepreneur and owner of Key West’s Mellow Ventures which helps visitors learn to appreciate, respect, and protect the beauty of the Keys
- Kelly Grinter, founder of the Marathon Wild Bird Center who estimates that she’s rescued and released more than 20,000 injured birds since 1995
- Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary who has conducted more than 600 dives in its waters
‘Connect with Keys Life’ encourages visitors to follow their example, engage in environmentally responsible behaviour, explore eco-attractions, and take advantage of voluntourism opportunities to enrich their holidays.
Also highlighted are creative wares and wearables that are ‘Crafted in the Florida Keys’ including honey, ales and spirits, sandals, candles, coffee and chocolates, art and apparel. Keys-crafted items can serve as a tangible and enjoyable reminder of the Florida Keys for visitors, while their purchase supports small- and mid-sized local businesses.
The Keys is home to an underwater paradise. Discover it at John Pennekamp State Park, Key Largo_Credit Frazier Nivens