“Every day a new adventure” – Phyllis Mansfield
Cocoa Beach, FL (Aug. 19, 2022) – The Lori Wilson Park Maritime Hammock has been renamed the Mansfield Maritime Hammock to honor the hard work and inspiring efforts of Phyllis and Howard Mansfield, volunteers who worked to protect this habitat for migratory and local birds that call it home.
The naming of the hammock was approved by the District 2 Merritt Island/Beaches Recreation Advisory Board in August of 2021. The Board of County Commissioners followed up with its approval the following month. The dedication ceremony took place at Lori Wilson Park the morning of August 19, 2022 and was well attended by Phyllis Mansfield, her son, grandson, and friends, Jim Stahl and other members from the Audubon Society, friends from Courtenay Springs where Phyllis now lives, Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik, former Cocoa Beach Mayor Janice Scott, and representatives from the Brevard County’s Tourism Development Office, Parks & Recreation Department, and District 2 Commission Office. Regrettably, Howard Mansfield passed away in 2017, but was with everyone in spirit.
As long-time residents of Cocoa Beach, the Mansfields were deeply concerned about the health of the hammock, along with the dozens of types of migratory birds that visited the area, as the Hammock is a part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. They removed exotic plants and litter from the hammock, cleaned bird feeders, maintained a watering pond, communicated local conditions to bird watchers, and planted hundreds of native plants and trees in the city. Phyllis Mansfield recounted how she and others had thwarted potential plans to build another road through the hammock. Phyllis said, “This maritime hammock is a wonderful part of the greater Lori Wilson Park, and I hope my friends – county residents, birders and volunteers – will all work to ensure this maritime hammock’s wildlife habitat will be restored by removing and replacing invasive plants with desirable bird attractors and a water feature.”
The Space Coast Office of Tourism is in the middle of a major renovation of the park and the Mansfield Maritime Hammock, ensuring visitors will have the ability to enjoy peaceful strolls through the Hammock for generations to come. $4 million is being spent replacing and refurbishing all of the crossovers and boardwalks, bathrooms, showers, the dog park, the maritime hammock, and more. Over 2 million people visit Lori Wilson Park each year, 80% of whom come from outside the county.
Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik thanked the Tourism Office for funding these renovations through the Tourism Development Tax. He went on to remind the crowd that the tax comes from people staying at hotels, rather than from residents. “We are glad to get something from the visitors that come to our area and thank you for investing in the community and keeping this asset preserved for future generations.”
“Our wildlife and habitats are an important part of what makes the Space Coast so special, so we’re proud to acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Mansfields with this dedication,” says Peter Cranis, Executive Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism. “Their inspiring work saved this incredible habitat and it remains a favorite for locals and visitors alike.”
Phyllis concluded her speech by touching on her motto of every day a new adventure. “You all being here today and making this possible for me has made this day for me a wonderful new adventure and I thank you so much.”
Watch the video of the dedication on Space Coast Daily here.
Meagan Happel, PR Manager