E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center Camp Longleaf groundbreaking Dec. 16

The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, local non-profit Environmental Nature Center, invites you to become a part of the Adventure and celebrate the groundbreaking of a new sleep away summer camp called Camp Longleaf. The celebration will take place on Saturday, December 16th from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. with the Groundbreaking Ceremony starting at 11:00 a.m.

The day will include food for purchase by Barefoot BBQ, music by the Graytones, hands-on animal encounters, exhibits, camp crafts, guided hikes, raffle prizes and more.

Members get in Free while general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 children at the door. Become a member online in advance or that day for special member/VIP benefits including hayride, snacks, festive beverages, and more.

The groundbreaking ceremony will introduce the new project and highlight the nature based summer camp facility that will also be utilized for team building retreats, community programs, and house out of state visitors for other learning opportunities. The campus will include multiple cabins, dining hall, infirmary, canteen, and campfire landing. Camp Longleaf will incorporate hands-on programs similar to what the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center has become known for, but with a fun and new Summer Camp twist!

The E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center hopes you will become a part of Camp Longleaf’s legacy by providing a donation and pledging your support so others can create lasting camp memories. Permanent pavers, benches, cabins, etc… are available for dedication.

For more information go to www.eowilsoncenter.org or call 850.835.1824.

The E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center is located at 4956 State Hwy 20 East, Freeport, Florida 32439

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30A Tour of Homes benefits Toys for Tots Dec. 8

In this season of giving, broker-owner Larry Davis announced that his sales team at Davis Properties of NW Florida located in Seagrove Beach, Florida, is excited to participate in the annual Toys for Tots holiday gift drive this Christmas season.

The drive will kick off on Friday December 8th during the 30A Holiday Tour of Homes. Attendees of the Tour of Homes will not only get to see five amazing beach properties located throughout Seagrove Beach and Seaside; but will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Toys for Tots gift drive. Homes will be open to tour between the hours of 11am and 2:00 pm with refreshments available at select homes.   Click here for map: —-> 30A Holiday Tour of Homes Locations

Beginning December 11 – 15, the company will also gladly accept donations Monday – Friday from 10 – 4 PM at their corporate office located at 4130 E Hwy 30A, Seagrove Beach Florida. (Look for the watermelon bench by the 30A bike path in Seagrove!)

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Toys for Tots gift drive should drop off an UNWRAPPED toy.    Come help us spread some holiday joy and drop off a toy for a special boy or girl.

ABOUT Toys for Tots: The Toys for Tots program is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks.

About Davis Properties of NW Florida:  Established in 1993 – Davis Properties first opened its doors in Downtown Seaside Florida and later moved to their own location on the south side of Hwy 30A in Seagrove Beach in 2012. The company was started by company owner/broker, Larry Davis with the vision of not being the biggest real estate firm along 30A, but one with the reputation known for relationships built on honesty, integrity, and being the most knowledgeable in the industry. A real estate company renowned for working with a variety of interesting, intriguing projects and developments.

Davis Properties has consistently ranked in the top 5% of sales for brokerages in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors overt the last five years.

For additional information about the 30A Holiday Tour of Homes and Toy for Tots Gift Drive contact: Nancy Abraham:   850.960.4066 or nancy@davisprop.com or Rob Augustine:  850.226.3727 or rob@davisprop.com

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Walton County moves forward with plans for bay side park, public workshops Jan. 11 and 18

The BCC unanimously agreed to move forward with the permitting process for the boat basin area at the bay side park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

On Nov. 28, 2017 the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) discussed preliminary plans for the 6 ½ acre bay side park located at Bay Grove Road and U.S. Hwy. 331 in Freeport.

Click to view larger image.

Before final plans are approved, the Walton County Public Works Department will hold public workshops on Thursday, January 11, 2018 and Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Freeport City Hall, 112 Highway 20 West, Freeport. The purpose of these workshops are to discuss the conceptual plans.

At the BCC meeting the commissioners unanimously agreed to start moving forward with the permitting process for the boat basin area.

The conceptual plans for the basin area include a seawall, boat ramp, floating kayak launch, and 10 ft. wide concrete walkway/viewing area on the southern side. Additional plans include boat/trailer parking, playground, restroom, picnic tables, grill, and showers.

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Cultural Arts Alliance selects designs for underwater museum of art

Propeller In Motion by Marek Anthony.

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) and South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) are proud to reveal seven sculpture designs selected by jury for permanent exhibition in the first installation of the Underwater Museum of Art (UMA).

The 2018 Spring/Summer installation will include the following sculpture: “Propeller in Motion” by Marek Anthony, “Self Portrait” by Justin Gaffrey, “The Grayt Pineapple” by Rachel Herring, “JYC’s Dream” by Kevin Reilly in collaboration with students from South Walton Montessori School, “SWARA Skull” by Vince Tatum, “Concrete Rope Reef Spheres” by Evelyn Tickle, and “Anamorphous Octopus” by Allison Wickey.

UMA is presented as part of CAA’s Art In Public Spaces Program and will augment SWARA’s mission of creating marine habitat and expanding fishery populations while providing enhanced creative, cultural, economic and educational opportunities for the benefit, education and enjoyment of residents, students and visitors in South Walton.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Visit Florida and the Alys Foundation, UMA will be deployed with SWARA’s existing USACOA and FDEP permitted artificial reef project that includes nine nearshore reefs located within one nautical mile of the shore in approximately 50-60 feet of water. A one-acre permit patch of seabed off Grayton Beach State Park has been dedicated for UMA, the nation’s first permanent underwater museum, which will be installed in the late spring or early summer of 2018.


PROPELLER IN MOTION is a design by artist and contemporary custom furniture creator Marek Anthony who resides in Dallas, Texas via Madrid, Spain. “Propeller in Motion” is an abstraction of a moving ship’s propeller being swallowed into the sea bed. The sculpture is designed to be permeable to light, sea water and living things and will be constructed from individual propeller-shaped concrete pieces mounted on a stainless steel central tubular support, capped with a stainless steel cone. “My work is as much about the mass of the material as it is about the space between it,” said Anthony. “I enjoy site specific projects and manipulating the viewer’s experience by relating the sculpture and the environment. Often the sculpture will frame aspects from the environment giving the viewer an added dimension to explore.”

JYC’s Dream by Kevin Reilly.

JYC’s DREAM is a creation by American designer Kevin Reilly as an homage to the “Aqualung,” arguably Jacques Cousteau’s greatest invention, and is a collaborative effort with the South Walton Montessori Academy primary students and their teachers. The sculpture, a larger-than-life diver’s head, is a model of captain Cousteau wearing the original version of his invention. Ascending from the mouthpiece will be a trail of bubbles, many of which will serve as a framework for the students’ individual designs and allow the sculpture to function as fish habitats. “The children of today will become the caretakers of tomorrow,” said Reilly. “It was Cousteau’s dream for all people, especially future generations, to access the underwater world, and it is our hope that the student involvement in this project will help lead them in the direction of Captain Cousteau’s dream. Our incredible underwater world will be left to them.”

Self Portrait by Justin Gaffrey.

Justin Gaffrey’s SELF PORTRAIT is inspired by other recent sculpture the Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. artist has created, however this sculpture will be created from welded stainless steel bar. Standing eight feet tall, “Self Portrait” consists of a bumble bee sitting on a rabbit sitting on a deer with antlers. Gaffrey is internationally known for his primary body of work in heavy acrylic impastos often one to six inches thick, but he enjoys challenging himself in vast mediums and creates free-standing sculptural works and paintings in his local studio. As a self-taught artist, Gaffrey’s work challenges the norms of art, pushing boundaries and constantly changing.

Grayt Pineapple by Rachel Herring.

THE GRAYT PINEAPPLE by Florida-based artist Rachel Herring is an 8-foot tall stainless steel sculpture of a pineapple designed to help small fish thrive. The inside of the piece will remain hollow, and the outline of the leaves on top will look like the sun when viewed from above. Herring has painted most of her life but has recently begun working with discarded wood and other found pieces.  “What better way to bring new wildlife to the area than with a pineapple, the symbol of welcoming and hospitality,” said Herring, who has paired her love of working with her hands with mastering new tools and techniques.

ANAMORPHOUS OCTOPUS by artist and 2011 South Walton Artist of the Year Allison Wickey will be comprised of 16 metal bars, each approximately one-half inch thick and 8 feet tall by 8 feet wide.  “As soon as this project became a possibility, my mind went to anamorphosis, which is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image,” said Wickey. “You can find beauty in any object or situation, any way you look at it.” A cultural fixture on 30A for eight years, Allison is known for her rustic depictions of gulf coast landscapes inspired by the thought of the area before any man-made structures were built.

Rope Reef Spheres by Evelyn Tickle.

Evelyn Tickle’s CONCRETE ROPE REEF SPHERES are made using a patent pending clean concrete formula developed by the artist to match the chemical makeup of an oyster shell, specifically for underwater reef use. The rope spheres will have artificial concrete oyster shells attached to the concrete rope, and the nooks and crannies in both the spheres and the shells will provide places for embryonic oysters and other creatures to attach. Over time the interstitial spaces will be filled in with living oysters and other marine species. Tickle has invented hundreds of concrete formulas to enhance color, structure, sustainability and most recently, for underwater use to enhance marine habitat.

SWARA Skull by Vince Tatum.

SWARA SKULL designer Vince Tatum’s career as an Art Director and Production Designer in the film industry, along with his NAUI SCUBA Certification, make “the UMA project a diver’s dream.” Standing 8 feet tall, “SWARA Skull” will have a stainless steel jaw, nasal cavity and eye sockets, which will be the shape of Southern Stingrays. The dome of the skull will be cast of clean cement embedded with limestone to attract corals. “For a diver, one of the most exciting things to do is shine your dive-light in a dark hole and see who is staring back at you,” said Tatum. “A large skull covered in coral and marine growth, teaming with life, makes for one hell of a photo-op.”

Deployment of the 2018 UMA installation is scheduled for late Spring/early Summer. Visit CulturalArtsAlliance.com for more information on timeline and events surrounding UMA’s launch. Project and sculpture sponsorships are available. Please contact Jennifer Steele at jennifer@culturalartsalliance.com for sponsorship details.

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Wesley house at Eden Gardens State Park decorated for the holidays, Candlelight Tour Dec. 16

Eden Gardens State Park and the Friends of Eden invite you to join them for a tour of the Wesley House through the holidays. All of the rooms of the house have been decorated in Christmas cheer with each decorated in a variety of different themes by local organizations.

Downstairs, upstairs entry and stairway: Destin Woman’s Club – “Victorian Christmas”
Library: Pt. Washington Historical Society – Christina & Paul Flynn – “Festive Feathered Friends”
Dining Room: Ladies of Impact 100 – “Blessed Holiday Season”
Downstairs Sunporch: Karin Anderson, Drift30a – “Home for Christmas”
Red Bedroom: Jacque Wright – “The Nutcracker Suite”
Blue Bedroom: Tricia Willis, Twin Interior Design – “All Hearts Come Home for Christmas”
Children’s Bedroom: S. Walton Montessori Academy – “A Children’s Christmas”
Pink Bedroom: Tara Stacey – “A Child’s Christmas Dream”
Upstairs Sun Porch: Seagrove Garden Club – “American Christmas Tradition”

Tours of the Wesley House are Thursday – Monday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., every hour on the hour. The Christmas decorations will be up through Dec. 31. The rest of the park is open 7 days a week.

On Dec. 16, enjoy the Candlelight Tour, with a traditional walk through the luminaries to the Historic Wesley House to enjoy it’s beautifully seasonally decorated rooms. After the tour is completed, the Friends of Eden will be providing refreshments in the pavilion. It’s an evening meant to be enjoyed by all who attend. Donations to the Friends of Eden Gardens are welcome and appreciated. To volunteer or for additional information call the park office. 
Fees: Admission fees to the park and the event are waived.
 Contact: (850) 267-8320.

About Eden Gardens State Park

One of the most beautiful parks in Walton County sits along Tucker Bayou in Point Washington in South Walton. Large moss covered live oaks, gardens, walking trails and panoramic views of the bayou provide a visual delight for the visitor to this dynamic and historic State Park.

The focal point of the park is the two-story Wesley house with large white columns and wrap-around porch. Originally owned by the Wesley’s a wealthy Florida timber family, the mansion was purchased in 1963 by Lois Maxon who renovated the home, and created a showplace for family heirlooms and antiques. The house is now owned by the State of Florida, and is the centerpiece of the park.

Hours of Operation
The park is open 7 days a week. Guided tours of the Wesley house are available hourly Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including holidays)

Eden Gardens State Park is located in Point Washington, off U.S. 98 on C.R. 395.
For more information, call (850) 267-8320.
181 Eden Garden Road, Point Washington, Fl. 32459

The parks website is http://www.floridastateparks.org/edengardens
Park Fees
$4.00 per vehicle
$2.00 for Bikes and Peds
$4.00 per adult house tour
Children free


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Walton County fishing report for Nov. 29

Fishing is good

Bay: Black (mangrove) snapper, sheepshead, speckled trout, and redfish.

River: Lots of crappie, shellcracker, bass being caught along with a variety of catfish.


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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