Learn about campfire cooking at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Dec. 27

campfireDate/time: Saturday December 27, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you to learn about campfires and campfire cooking. This all ages program will take place outside at one of our tent camping sites. You will learn safety, cooking techniques, and a host of other useful ideas that will make your campfires more enjoyable. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse.

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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Choctawhatchee and Bay Audubon programs and events for January 2015

 Choctawhatchee Audubon programs and events:

8 January: Monthly meeting and program “Adaptive Wild land Fire Management at Eglin AFB” by Brett Williams, Fire Management Office, Eglin AFB Florida.  The presentation will be an introduction to the importance of fire to the longleaf pine ecosystem and the rare species it supports and how prescribed fire supports the military mission at Eglin AFB.  Eglin AFB’s science-based approach to managing fire and the tools the Eglin fire team uses to measure ecological restoration success will be shared and discussed in the context of ecosystem management.
The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the new Student Services Building at Northwest Fla. State College. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM, and the program begins at 7:00. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Gary Parsons at 850-678-1461 for more info.

24 January: Bird Walk: Bird the shorelines of Niceville and Valparaiso with bird photographer. Enjoy a bird walk with birding enthusiast Walt Spence. Spence will showcase Boggy Country’s winter visitors, such as mergansers, loons, grebes, and buffleheads. Also see waders, raptors, and shorebirds. Bring cameras and binoculars. Meet at 7:30 a.m. in front of Badcock Furniture in Bayou Plaza Shopping Center at the intersection of John Sims Parkway and Hwy 85 South. Call Walt for more info at 850-582-7064.

Bay County Audubon events:

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015 Bird Walk at PCB Conservation Park. Meet in the parking lot of the Conservation Park at 7:30 a.m.
Fri & Sat, January 16 & 17, 2015 Overnight trip to Panacea area and St. Marks Nat. Wildlife Refuge.
We will carpool down to Panacea on Friday, the 16th, birding along the coast, and spend the night at the Inn at Wildwood near Panacea. We will spend Saturday at the refuge. You will need to make your own reservations. 1-800- 878-1546. Rates are very reasonable. Mention that you are with the group from Bay County Audubon Society. This is one of our favorite trips since we always see over 100 species of birds and have a great time and enjoy some good local food. Plan to meet at the mall by Starbuck’s under the theater sign at 7:00 on the 16th. If you are going, let Ron know to exchange phone numbers. 763-7485/ cell 381-5651.
Sat, Feb. 14, 2015 Sneads/Lake Seminole/Jim Woodruff Dam area.
This area is good for a wide variety of birds, including occasional rare ones like western kingbirds. Meet at the mall by Starbuck’s at 7:00am with snacks, drinks, birding gear. We will probably eat lunch at a local restaurant. Call Ron for any questions, 763-7485.

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Walton county fishing report for Dec. 17

 Fishing is good!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Trout bit still on, however on the smaller size and biting on Zoom flutes. Sheepshead along the causeway.

River: Crappie biting good along the river.

Hunting: Duck hunt and hog hunt on.  Coyotes have been troublesome for some and seem to be in abundance this year.

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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Merchants of Seaside hosting family fun New Year’s Eve

seasidenewyearsThe Merchants of Seaside are proud to present a fantastic, family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in the twinkling, holiday town of Seaside. On Wed., Dec. 31, the 5th Annual Countdown Seaside activities will welcome in 2015 with live entertainment, kid’s art projects, street performers and fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. and last until the last firework lights up the sky.

For kids of all ages, Abrakadoodle will be on hand from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. offering unique art projects as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration. There is no cost to participate in the projects, which include making noisemakers, as well as celebratory New Year’s hats. Families can enjoy face painters, balloon sculptors, stilt walkers and street magicians to foster both the young and young-at-heart festive spirit all under thousands of Seaside’s holiday lights.

Spectators will be entertained under the stars in the final hours of 2014 by The Dirty Guv’nahs, then at the stroke of midnight, Seaside will then light up the skies over the Gulf of Mexico and welcome the first minutes of 2015 with its exciting fireworks display from a barge in front of Bud & Alley’s. Colorful bursts of light will be visible from the beach, as well as in the Seaside Amphitheater in Central Square. A synchronized music soundtrack will be simulcast in the Amphitheater.

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30A Songwriters Festival is set for January 16, 17 and 18

grahamnash

Graham Nash one of the many songwriters featured during festival.

The sixth annual 30A Songwriters Festival is set for January 16, 17 and 18, 2015 in South Walton County. The initial line-up for the 2015 celebration of singers and songs features performances from esteemed artists Graham Nash, Indigo Girls, Leon Russell, Jason Isbell, Shawn Mullins, Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket). Also confirmed are Jeffrey Steele, Chely Wright, Bobby Bare Jr., Steve Poltz, Angaleena Presley, Over the Rhine, Jesse Harris, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, Ellis Paul, Allison Moorer, Deana Carter, Peter Karp & Sue Foley and David Ryan Harris. For ticket information, click HERE

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Learn about sharks and dolphins at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Dec. 20

 Date/time: Saturday December 20, 1 -2 p.m.

Often times these two animals can be seen from the beach, this program will help you identify the differences between the two which will help you discover who’s who. There will be a discussion on what to look for and certain behaviors that can useful in spotting both creatures from the beach.

Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse.

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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Learn about beach mice at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Dec. 19

 Date/Time: Friday December 19, 1 – 3 p.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park presents a program on the endangered Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse. They live in a fragile habitat near the beach and only come out at night. Come learn what we to do monitor and protect this important species and why Topsail plays an important role in its survival.

Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse.

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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South Walton Fire District offering home for the holidays transportation program

swfdlogo1For the fifth consecutive year, South Walton Fire District (SWFD) is offering a “Home for the Holidays” program. This program is designed to allow patients in skilled nursing and adult living facilities the opportunity to share the Christmas holiday with their family at home. Patients must be self-supporting while at the residence, and be left in the care of a responsible family member.

The South Walton Fire District will be offering free transportation on a space available basis to local residents who would otherwise be unable to come home for the holiday celebrations. The “Home for the Holidays” program will provide transportation on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only from the hours of 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. All requests for Christmas Holiday transportation must be received by Monday December 22, 2014.

South Walton Fire District will provide free roundtrip transportation originating in “South Walton” and ending in Walton County or within the Destin City limits. “The Home for the Holidays program is a way that we (SWFD) can give back to our wonderful supporting community. We look forward to providing this special service to our residents,” stated Ryan Crawford, Operations Chief.

If you need additional information or would like to schedule transportation, please call our Communications Center at 850-267-0167.

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Have breakfast with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Dec. 13

rangerDate/time: Saturday December 13, 9 – 11 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you and your family to Breakfast with a Ranger. Join the Rangers of Topsail Hill to learn about the park, its history and to ask them all the questions you can think of about the park its wildlife and anything in between. This program is ideal for the whole family to enjoy. To cover the cost of food, please bring $5, which goes to Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to enhance the park or bring your own breakfast. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the clubhouse.

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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South Walton Community Council hosting forum on proposed changes to coastal dune lake protection Dec. 16

greategretwesternlakeJoin South Walton Community Council, along with Wayne Dyess, Walton County planning and development services director and Mac Carpenter, County planning manager, for a panel discussion on the nature of the changes proposed to our coastal dune lake protection ordinances, the need for the changes and the impact of the changes on our coastal dune lakes and surrounding environment.

The free public forum will be held on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Coastal Branch Public Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

For more information, call 850-460-4342

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