Learn about animal tracks at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Nov. 7

raccoontracksmDate/time: Friday Nov. 7th, 3 – 4 p.m.

This all ages program is designed to be a hands-on learning experience in the art of tracking. You will learn different types of tracks and which animal makes them. Then you will get to make your own tracks using the same techniques used at the parks and go on a short hike to see tracks in the wild. This program will take place in the clubhouse and will utilize the surrounding area as you track different animals.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Flutterby Children’s Arts Festival in Rosemary Beach Nov. 8-9

Master Gardener Snookie Parrish helps children plant native flowers. Photo courtesy Shelley Swanger

Master Gardener Snookie Parrish helps children plant native flowers. Photo courtesy Shelley Swanger

The monarch butterflies have finally made their way to our Gulf coast so has the Flutterby Children’s Art Festival which celebrates the Monarch butterfly migration. The festival will be held Nov. 8-9 on the East Long Green in Rosemary Beach from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

10:15 a.m. – 30A Ballet
10:30 a.m. – Kids’ Zumba
11: a.m. – The Magical Metamorphosis Show
12:00 p.m. – Seaside Repertory Theatre Storytelling
12:30 p.m. – The Magical Metamorphosis Show
1 p.m. – 30a Dance Wave
1 p.m. – Stiltwalker/Balloon Animals
1:30 p.m. – Seaside Repertory Theatre Storytelling
2 p.m. – Hula Hoop Contest with prizes
2-4 p.m. – Izzie the Fairy & “Glitter” her Dragon
3:45 p.m. – Izzie leads the Butterfly Parade

This year’s festival will also include a local “celebrity” dunking booth, paint-your-own butterfly wings, butterfly bushes with Master Naturalist Snookie Parrish, Imagine Faces face-painting booth, a science area, food vendors, live music, numerous children’s activities and a chance to win exciting custom raffle prizes.  Justin Lyons, Mary Kay Samouce, Chandler Williams with Modus Photography, Moore Family Folk Art, Visit South Walton’s Artist of the Year Juan Fransisco Adaro and Visit South Walton’s Photographer of the Year Shelly Swanger will all exhibit their works during the festival. Additionally, Swanger will conduct 20-minute family photo sessions for $100, perfect for holiday cards and to capture your family photo in the beautiful setting of Rosemary Beach®. E-mail shellysphoto@gmail.com to reserve your space and for more details.

Admission is complimentary and open to the public, although some activities within the festival may require a fee.

About The Cultural Arts Alliance:

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to make Walton County a creative place in which to live, work and visit – a destination for cultural and artistic excellence where lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened.  Learn more at CulturalArtsAlliance.com.

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Cottages For Kids at Grand Boulevard Oct. 31 – Nov. 9

Kids cottage by O.B. Laurent Construction gets final touches. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Kids cottage by O.B. Laurent Construction gets final touches. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The eighth annual Cottages for Kids will take place in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin from October 31 through November 9 and will debut designer cottages for all to see.  Grand Boulevard’s Grand Park will be transformed into a small village with cottages that look like they have popped out from the pages of a fairytale to modern creations brimming with creativity. Using a lot of imagination, hard work and a little elbow grease, area builders are hard at work finalizing their creations for this year’s event.

This year’s builders include Corestruction, Dancor Construction, Davis Dunn Construction with Studio A Architecture and O.B. Laurent Construction.

“These builders are amazingly generous people,” said CVHN Executive Director, Zach Billingsley. “They are stepping away from their own businesses to donate time, materials and labor all to help raise funding for our local kids who are in dire need of medical and dental care. These builders are going change lives right here in our community.”

The cottages make ideal Christmas presents for children who love to play outside. Three of the cottages will be up for bid this year and one will be raffled.  Raffle tickets are only $5 dollars, so a lucky winner can own one of these creations for only $5 dollars.  Anyone can bid or purchase raffle tickets at the event site or online at cottagesforkids.org.

Gates open on October 31st at 12 p.m. noon and will be open at various times through November 9. All open times are available online at cottagesforkids.org and will be posted at the event site.

Grand Boulevard’s Halloween on the BOOlevard of Fun will also take place on October 31 from 4 p.m. -7 p.m. Children are invited to trick or treat in the Town Center and visit the merchants as they provide Halloween treats. Enjoy an amusingly spooky, live storytelling performance by characters from the Emerald Coast Theatre Company at 5:30 p.m. in Grand Park, while visiting the whimsical display of Cottages for Kids. A costume contest will take place after the story telling.

2014 Cottages for Kids sponsors include Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Visit South Walton, Alys Beach, Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Tommy Bahama, Sowal.com, Roberts Creative, Sandestin Real Estate, Junior League of the Emerald Coast, H&M Tents and South Bay Ace Hardware & Lumber.

Come out and enjoy the fun while helping to raise funding for kids who are uninsured or underinsured in Walton and Okaloosa Counties. For more information visit cottagesforkids.org or call 850-622-3200 ext.101.

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Living Shoreline Trail opens at Eden Gardens State Park

A new interpretive about oyster reef restoration along the Living Shorelines trail.

A new interpretive about oyster reef restoration along the Living Shorelines trail.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College in partnership with Eden Gardens State Park have completed a ‘Living Shoreline Trail’ to promote CBA’s living shoreline initiative and showcase the diverse vegetation at Eden Gardens State Park.

The 161-acre park is home to cultivated gardens, as well as many diverse native plants. These include the famous “wedding tree”- an impressive live oak that is more than 600 years old, and the “kissing tree”- two intertwined trees that are joined in at least three places, both of which are landmarked in the new Living Shoreline Trail. Bordering the northern-most shoreline of the park is the beautiful Tucker Bayou, adorned with salt marsh vegetation and a CBA constructed Living Shoreline.

The Kissing Tree is one of the features along the Living Shoreline Trail.

The Kissing Tree is one of the features along the Living Shoreline Trail.

A living shoreline is a shoreline management option that uses living plants, oyster shells, sand fill, and offshore breakwaters to protect property from erosion. CBA began constructing living shorelines in 2006, with the goals of providing habitat for oyster settlement, increasing intertidal salt marsh habitat, and decreasing shoreline erosion. Living shorelines provide increased nursery, feeding and refuge habitat for estuarine organisms, while improving water quality by water filtration from oysters on the reef and storm water run-off purification by shoreline grasses.

Click here to download: Eden Gardens Living Shoreline Trail Brochure

“The Living Shoreline trail is a great addition to Eden Gardens. The trail showcases some of our natural beauties. We are pleased that the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance chose our beautiful park for this trail.” said park manager, Sasha Craft.

With this partnership, CBA is able to reach a larger audience of the importance of protecting our natural environment. CBA uses different outreach opportunities to encourage people of all ages to become Stewards of their environment and local waterways.

For more information about the ribbon cutting event at Eden Gardens State Park and CBA’s living shoreline initiative, or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Gwin at (850)533-0343 or gwinr@nwfsc.edu.


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Walton county fishing report for Oct. 29

specktroutFishing is good!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Lots of small trout being caught. Reds biting too on gold spoons.

River: Hybrids at the mouths of the river, biting on shrimp right now.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439

(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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Historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve Nov. 12

coffeenTime: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles) were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the resident manager, and explore the site where America’s strategic missile program began. You will view the original military photographs inside the “mess hall” and learn about the generous gift of the founder, the late Dorothy Coffeen.

This will be followed by a hike of approximately 1. miles around the property, which will include walking along two original missile launch ramps, stepping down into concrete launch bunkers and viewing other military buildings. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Preserve and Fuller Lake. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

Participants are encouraged to wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant and to bring bottled water. Closed-toed or other suitable walking shoes are a must.

Space is limited to 16 participants. Minimum of 2 required.

Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $20

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Walton County Master Gardeners host container garden lecture Nov. 5

Tmasterlogohe Walton County Master Gardeners are pleased to resume their popular lecture Series: How Does Your Garden Grow?  The first one of this season will be November 5th from 10 – 11:30 a.m. at the Coastal Branch Extension Office.  It is located at 70 Logan Lane in Grayton Beach, just north of the 4-way stop off CR 283.

Eddie Powell, UF / IFAS Extension Walton County Horticulture Agent will present a program on designing containers with vegetables and ornamental plants for fall and winter.  Learn how to select plants that last through our mild winters into spring to beautify your porches and patios.

These lectures are designed for local gardeners and are open to the public, free of charge.  Light refreshments will be served.  Space is limited to 40 participants and reservations are required.  Call Cheryl 892-8172 by November 3rd to reserve a place.

Soil testing supplies and instruction will be available for $8 and Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions.  This is a program provided by the UF/IFAS – Walton County Extension.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon Society programs and events for November 2014

CAScolorlogoNovember 1: Field Trip to Laidlaw Preserve: Ron Houser of the Bay County Audubon Society will host a tour of the magnificent Laidlaw Preserve north of Vernon, FL. A wide variety of habitats ensure an interesting trip. Meet at the Bluewater Bay Winn-Dixie on Hwy 20 at 7:15 AM. Bring binoculars, lunch, water, insect repellent, and wear long pants and walking shoes. Call Ron for more information at 850-381-5651.

November 6: Monthly Meeting/Public Program/Workshop: The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will host Dr. Steve Shippee, member of the Okaloosa County’s RESTORE Advisory Committee, who will provide background and RESTORE project criteria to members and other attendees. Dr. Shippee will then depart, and the Chapter will conduct a workshop to discuss ideas for potential RESTORE Act funding, select one or more ideas for further evaluation, and establish a committee to prepare potential programs for consideration by the Chapter Board and the County’s RESTORE Advisory Committee. The meeting and program will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Rm 130 of the Student Services Center of N/W Florida State College’s Niceville Campus, and it is free and open to the interested public. Call Gary Parsons at 850-678-1461 for more information.

November 8: Bird Walk: Join Carole Goodyear for a bird-walk highlighting the Bluewater Bay and Lake Pippen areas. See loons, shorebirds, ospreys, and woodpeckers. Meet at the Bluewater Bay Winn-Dixie under the sign at 7:30 AM. Wear close-toed shoes, and bring a sack lunch and binoculars. Call Carole at 850-897-2555 for more information.

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Take a guided kayak tour of Western Lake Nov. 13

greategretwesternlakeTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

This tour is kayak only. Travel from the water entry point of Western Lake to the lake outfall into the Gulf of Mexico. Discussion topics will include history, coastal dune lake ecology, and local anecdotes, as well as, efforts to preserve the lakes and how the lakes preserve us.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring at least one quart of water/person, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 4. Location: Meet at the Boathouse at WaterColor, 34 Goldenrod Circle

Fee: $60 for kayak, $45 if supplying own craft

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Energy Expo in DeFuniak Springs Nov. 8

greenenergyTime: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The City of DeFuniak Springs will be hosting the third annual Energy Expo on Saturday, November 8, 2014. The expo is scheduled to start at 8:00 am with exhibits beginning at the caboose on Circle Drive.

The Expo is FREE.

The expo will be an excellent opportunity to explore and discover the technologies and initiatives that can help us individually and as a community to save money and reduce waste. There will be many hands-on activities and demonstrations with field experts available to explain and answer any questions.

There will be displays of compressed natural gas conversions and equipment, solar energy, geothermal units, different types of commercial and residential insulations, smart technology for energy production and savings, lighting and other energy saving tips. Come see the Tesla car, an electric motorcycle and other energy efficient vehicles.

Shred-it will be shredding your sensitive documents and records for a donation of non-perishable food items or a monetary donation to The Matrix.

Exercise is a good form of building energy in our bodies and soul. Take a brisk walk around beautiful Lake DeFuniak. Watch or join the Zumba class, Tai-Chi class and other exercise programs that will be

happening throughout the Expo. Natural Awakenings, a monthly health and sustainable living magazine will be present showcasing their magazine and website. They will have copies on display.

Several of the vendors will have presentations at the amphitheater. DJ Shane Schiller will be providing entertainment. Several food booths will be available for your eating pleasure.

There will be a farmers market at the Expo. Vendors will offer jams, jellies, honey, eggs, soaps, plants as well as handmade crafts, aprons, jewelry, wood craft, and various items for children.

Come to historic DeFuniak Springs to EXPLORE, LEARN, RECYCLE, EXERCISE AND SHOP at the 3rd annual Energy Expo on November 8, 2014. It will be “A world of Discovery”.


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