Seminar on renewable energy savings and property values Jan. 7

greenenergyHomeowners and business property owners in Northwest Florida will want to attend a free educational seminar on January 7, 2015 to learn ways of adding value to their property while saving energy and/or generating renewable energy.

The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) will instruct participants in ways to get funding for a home or business energy project, including which improvements are qualified as energy efficiency, wind mitigation and/or renewable generation systems. Access to these funds are not based on credit scores.

Meeting times are 3 to 5 p.m. for becoming an authorized contractor for PACE and 5 to 7 p.m. for information on obtaining funds for homeowners and business property owners. The location is the East of Eden Retreat & Spa, 234 Dog-Hobble Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459.

Refreshments are provided and admission is free to this educational, money-saving event. Seating is limited, so email RSVP to Erin LaGrosse, at Erin@GulfCoastnsulation.com by January 2. Pre-qualify for a PACE project online at EvestFlorida.com.

See Natural Awakenings PACE article for additional information:

http://www.nwfnaturally.com/NWFL/December-2014/PACE-PAYS-TO-GO-GREEN/

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Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park in Chipley offers miles of trails

Photo courtesy Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park.

Photo courtesy Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park.

Are you into off road trail riding? Northwest Florida’s newest offering in Chipley might have just what you’re looking for.

Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park opened in 2010 by off road bike enthusiasts Ted Everett and Dexter Leadbeater. Custom groomed trails transverse and wind around more than 700 acres in the pinewoods off Hwy. 277.

“It’s all about the passion,” said Leadbeater, a life long fan of the sport.

The trails are designed for all skill levels and ages. Several races are held during the year including training classes hosted by nationally ranked competitors.

The park is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in winter, until 6 p.m. in summer.

Video footage of Florida Trail Riders Hare scrambles 2013 competition:

Chipley Preview from Robbie Carstens on Vimeo.

Trail map.

Trail map.

Admission: Riders age 13 and older:  $20/day, $30/weekend
Riders Age 5 – 12:  $15/day, $20/weekend
Non riders:  $10/day, $15/weekend
Kids under 5 years:  FREE

Groups: The park is available for rent Monday through Friday for groups of 8 or more. Please contact Dexter or Ted 5 days in advance for pricing and availability.
Tent camping:  $8/night + 7% FL State Sales Tax & 3% Bed Tax / Total 10% Tax

Motor home /yoy hauler/pop up:  $10/night + 7% FL State Sales Tax & 3% Bed Tax / Total 10% Tax. There is 30 amp and 50 amp with water camping hook-ups, no sewer. 30 amp with water:  $20/night. 50 amp with water:  $25/night. Showers, private flush toilets and dressing areas available.

Helmets or boot rentals:  $5/day + tax

Hard Labor Off Road Park is located at 2009 Highway 277, Chipley, Florida 32428
Tel: (850) 527-0615 or (850) 867-4026

For more information, go to: hlcorpark.com

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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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