American roots music concert at Camp Helen State Park lodge Feb. 7

camphelenlodgeThe Friends of Camp Helen State Park are hosting a Saturday concert series. The concerts will be held in the lodge from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

On Sat., Feb. 7, Camp Helen presents the New 76ers, a Tallahassee trio of young singers/songwriters/musicians. The 76ers have appeared on many stages throughout the south. With a sound like Neil Young, Allison Krause and Tom Petty, this family of performers has a “collective respect for acoustic and electric music,” one that depends on their Southern musical heritage.  Their mission is “to give love through their music.” Learn more about the 76ers at

Come join in for a unique series of concerts featuring the best American Roots musicians touring the country today. This impressive series of indoor concerts at Camp Helen’s historic log cabin style lodge is sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park. The series is hosted by Lucky Mud.

Free admission into the park, with donation requested. Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to be used to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs. Refreshments available. Call 850-233-5059 for more information.

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Volunteers needed for oyster shell bagging Feb. 9

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance is looking for volunteers to help bag oyster shells on Feb. 9, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.

You will be bagging at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

RSVP to Rachel Gwin at (850) 200-4173 or

What to bring/wear: Wear clothes and close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Bring sunscreen, snacks, a water bottle and a hat. Water and gloves will be provided.

What you will do: You will be bagging recycled oyster shell for use in future oyster reefs.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon Society programs and events for February 2015

CAScolorlogo5 Feb: Monthly Meeting and Program:  “A Green Fire – a presentation of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic” by Professor Emeritus Don Baltz, Louisiana State University.  This Green Fire DVD explores the life and legacy of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold and the many ways his land ethic philosophy lives on in the work of people and organizations all over the country today.  The film shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement.  It also illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence, exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. Meet ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties, and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts.  Meet wildlife biologists who are bringing threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, back to the landscapes where they once thrived.  And learn how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land ties all of these modern conservation stories together, and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the new Student Services Building at Northwest Fla. State College. Socializing begins at 6:30 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Gary Parsons at 850-678-1461 for more info.

13-15 Feb: Annual Retreat to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge at Ellisville, Mississippi. Meet this rare and magnificent bird on a guided tour of the refuge, and then engage in general birding in this ecologically interesting and beautiful location. For more information, including lodging info, call Margaret Benner at 850-678-6665.

28 Feb: Bird Walk: Join local ornithologist, Alan Knothe, for a bird walk to the Okaloosa County Landfill and FWB Spray Fields. Tour the most productive birding area in S. Okaloosa Co. with a seasoned expert. Expect to see raptors, waders, ducks, and wintering songbirds.  It is common to see more than 50 different species of birds in a single morning at this unlikely-sounding spot. Bring binoculars, good walking shoes, water, and sunscreen. Meet-up is at the parking lot of the Coach and 4 Restaurant at 1313 N. Lewis Turner Blvd. at 7:30 AM. Call Alan at 850-208-1780 for more info.

For more information about future events, and birding in general, visit their website at  or find them on Facebook at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

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Take a guided paddle tour of Western Lake with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance

greategretwesternlakeDates/time: Feb. 10, Feb. 26, March 10, March 31, April 14, April 28, May 7, May 19
- 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County! This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake; one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey. Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions.  Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, 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 3. Location: Meet at the Boathouse at Watercolor, 34 Golden Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Fee: $60 per person Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided hike to Campbell Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 31

campbelllakesmDate/time: Saturday January 31, 1-2 p.m.

Coastal dune lakes are extremely unique and rare worldwide. Come join us as we hike through some of Topsail’s best ecosystems culminating with a stop at Campbell Lake. This is an approximately 3 mile round trip hike on a paved surface. There are restrooms and water at the halfway point. Entry fee into the park is $6.00 per car, the hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area.

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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Residential turf, fertilizer and herbicide workshop Feb. 4

masterlogoThe Walton County Master Gardeners continue the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” lecture series on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 from 10 – 11:30 a.m.  The subject this month will be saving time, money, and Mother Earth.  This program will be given by Len Ross, certified master gardener and licensed commercial fertilizer applicator, and Eddie Powell, UF/IFAS Walton County Extension horticulture agent.

They will cover using residential turf and ornamental fertilizers and herbicides.  Learn how to safely use these products to stimulate turf growth and to control broadleaf and grass type weeds without overdoing it. Do you know the best way to control pre and post emergent weeds in your flower beds?  Find out from experts – don’t guess.

These lectures are designed for local home gardeners. Light refreshments will be served and Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions. Soil testing supplies and instruction will be available for $8.

This program will be held at the Padgett Park Community Room again this month.  The location is 810 JD Miller Road; north off US-98 just west of the intersection with US-331 in Santa Rosa Beach.  The lecture is free and open to the public, however, seating is limited and reservations are required.  Call Cheryl at 850-892-8172 to reserve your place by Monday, February 2, 2015.

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Walton county fishing report for Jan. 20

specktrout23Fishing is good

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Trout bite on with a few big ones being reeled in. Good redfish bite as well.

River is falling.

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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Astronomy for kids at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center Feb. 7

starsDate/time: Saturday, Feb. 7 – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Go out of this world with the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center and connect with the wonders of astronomy. Explore the galaxy without blasting into space in an inflatable planetarium. Learn all about constellations and the mythology behind them, make moon craters, play in moon sand, create a take home sun dial, gain observation tips from the experts of the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association. Three planetarium shows every hour (check in for times at front desk).  Activities and crafts available until supplies last.

General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Children two and under Free. Please visit to learn more about this non-profit educational center or call 835-1824.
E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center
4956 State Hwy 20 East
Freeport, Florida 32439​

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Learn about alligators at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 24

 Date/time: Saturday January 24, 2-3 p.m.

These formidable creatures were once hunted to near extinction, but have made an incredible recovery. Come learn the full history of Florida’s most famous reptile at this informative slideshow presentation. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse, entry fee is $6.00.

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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Florida Forest Service giving away 400 trees in DeFuniak Springs Jan. 23

redmapleThe best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is on Arbor Day with the Florida Forest Service.

It has been over 140 years since J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day after moving to Nebraska from Michigan. His simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting is now more important than ever.

Arbor Day is recognized nationally on the last Friday in April, but many states observe it on different dates according to their best tree-planting times. In 1886, the first Arbor Day celebration in Florida was held in DeFuniak Springs. The ideal tree planting time in Florida is January, so Florida’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday of the month.

To commemorate this day, the Florida Forest Service, in conjunction with the annual Chautauqua Assembly at Camp Conservation, will be giving away trees in one-gallon containers to the public on Friday, January 23rd from 7:00 am – 4:00 pm in DeFuniak Springs, the birthplace of Florida’s Arbor Day.

Several species will be offered, including sawtooth oak, red maple, white oak, chickasaw plum and pignut hickory. Along with the tree giveaway, several foresters will be on hand to offer advice such as planting and care for your trees through the weekend as part of Camp Conservation.

“Trees planted on Arbor Day show a concern for future generations,” said Rick Bray, Walton County Senior Forester. “The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will someday provide wildlife habitat, shelter from wind and sun, beauty and inspiration for generations to come.”

For more information on Arbor Day Events in Walton County, contact Rick Bray at (850) 892-8010 or by email at

The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land, while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. For more information about the Florida Forest Service, visit or call Hannah Anderson at (850) 625-6621.

Information courtesy WZEP.

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