Friends of Lake Apopka recognized Adam Lovejoy with the fifth annual Jim Thomas Environmental Hero Award during its Tuesday, Sept. 12, meeting.
“They snuck that in on me,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming. … Having grown up in Winter Garden and hearing all the stories of the heyday of Lake Apopka, it’s nice to play a part in the ongoing restoration efforts for the lake.”
The Jim Thomas Environmental Hero Award is awarded to recipients who exemplify the passion and commitment of FOLA founder Jim Thomas and who contribute to the continued restoration of Lake Apopka.
The first four recipients of the award were Jim Peterson, FOLA science adviser (2019); Betsy VanderLey for helping connect the West Orange Trail to Magnolia Park (2020); Daniel Whitehouse and Scott Bisping for creating and organizing the FOLA Fish Tag Challenge (2021); and, Erich Marzolf for his restoration work in Lake Apopka (2022).
“We wanted to honor Jim for all the work that he did throughout his life,” FOLA Executive Director Joe Dunn said. “We also wanted to honor all the people who have followed in his footsteps and are making a difference.”
Lovejoy is the district’s governmental affairs director at the St. Johns River Water Management District. He graduated from the University of Central Florida and has devoted his career to serving the legislative process.
Lovejoy started helping Lake Apopka in 2018, when he offered counsel on how to navigate the process of attempting to obtain state funding to connect West Orange Trail to Magnolia Park.
Although the attempt was unsuccessful, the process provided FOLA — and Lovejoy — the foundation for all of FOLA’s future legislative successes. These include getting state funding for the Green Mountain connector — which was vetoed in 2020 due to COVID-19 revenue shortfalls but was granted in 2021.