E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center hosting Fall Festival Nov. 1

Fall Fest FlyerThe E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center’s​ annual Fall Festival ​will be held on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities include a spooky trail, hay rides, festival food, live music, face painting, Alaqua animal adoptions, fun games, fall themed arts and crafts, bounce house, dunk tank, local vendors, and more; plus another chance to wear your Halloween costume! The event is sponsored in part by greenology/Okaloosa Gas, Florida Transformer Inc., and local Walmarts.  ​

General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Children two and under free. Please visit eowilsoncenter.org to learn more about this non-profit educational center or call 835-1824.

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Walton county fishing report for Oct. 15

specktroutFishing is good!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Trout bite is really on right now. All sizes are biting on MirrOdine and shrimp. Roe mullet is on. Redfish are biting as well.

River: bass and hybrids at the mouths of the river, biting on shrimp right now. Crappie and bream on the river.

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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Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park hosts haunted trail walk Oct. 24

rockyviewTime: 4 – 7 p.m. Join the Rocky Bayou Park rangers and staff on Friday, October 24th, 2014 for a haunted trail walk. The Walk will fallow the half mile Red Cedar nature trail. The Haunted walk will be from 4 – 7 p.m.. The park asks that you please bring younger children from 4 – 5 p.m. for a less spooky version and then all ages from 5 – 7 p.m.

The Haunted trail is known to inhabit ghosts, spiders, wolves, and spooky sights.  Come join us for a night of fright and fun. Park admission fees will be waived.  Please leave all furry friends at home. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park is located at 4281 S.R. 20, Niceville, FL. For more information, call (850) 833-9144.

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Haz mat collection day in north and south Walton Nov. 1

walton-county-logoThe Walton Board of County Commissioners is sponsoring a project to collect, recycle, treat and properly dispose of these and other household hazardous wastes:

Pesticides – Used Oil – Stale Gasoline – Solvents – Fertilizers – Paint – Paint Thinners – Paint Strippers – Batteries – Furniture Polish – Brake Fluid – Engine Degreasers – Anti-Freeze – Pool Chemicals – Insecticides – Spot Removers

Waste tire amnesty will also be held on the same date, during the same hours and locations.  Walton County residents may bring up to 12 tires per residence.

Collection date: Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 12 Noon.

Walton County Fairgrounds, Highway 83 North (9th Avenue), DeFuniak Springs
South Walton Mosquito Control Office, County Road 393,  Santa  Rosa Beach

No gas cylinders or explosives, please.

Due to hazardous nature of certain components in home computers, we will be accepting old computer hardware including processors, monitors, keyboards, printers, scanners, etc.

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (small businesses, schools, growers, etc.) will be accepted at a reduced rate.

For more information or to schedule a drop-off time, contact the Landfill Department at 892-8180.

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Oyster reef construction volunteers needed for Oct. 24

oysterbuildersThe Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance is seeking volunteers to help bag and build an oyster reefs on Oct. 24.

Oyster bagging will be held at Marina Cove Townhomes, Marina Cove Dr., Niceville, FL 32578. From 9 a.m. – 12 Noon you will be bagging fossilized oyster shell for use in future oyster reefs.

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.

You will be unloading bagged oyster shell and helping to place the bagged shell in the water at a reef site. Special Note: Please park in the Schooner’s parking lot and walk over to the boat ramp parking area, where we will meet then walk down through the water to the reef site.

RSVP to Rachel Gwin Gwinr@nwfsc.edu Tel: (850) 200-4173.


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New ebook offers Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail version for the Panhandle

birdingtrailbookThis Kindle guide covers 78 sites within the Panhandle Section of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT). The Panhandle Section of the GFWBT spans 16 counties, from the Perdido River on the Alabama border to the Aucilla River in Jefferson County. This guide will direct you to viewing locations where you can encounter birds and wildlife such as Mississippi Kite, White-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson’s Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Bald Eagle, Florida Black Bear, West Indian Manatee, Silvery Checkerspot, Golden-banded Skipper and Horseshoe Crab.

This guide is optimized for Kindle Fire and can also be used on mobile devices (Apple and Android) with the Kindle Reader App.

Get your Panhandle Section Guide HERE

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Jail Break Zombie 5K Fun Run Nov. 1

jailbreakzombiesDate: November 1st, 2014
Location: Walton County Sheriff’s Office – 752 Triple G Road – DeFuniak Springs, Fl. 32433
Registration and Packet Pickup begins at 7:00 am
Race begins at 8:00 am
Runners $50.00/Zombies $25.00  (T-Shirt with registration)
Call 850-892-8186 for more information
Early Packet Pick-up will take place the day before the race, Oct. 31st from 12:00pm-5:00pm at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (located at 752 Triple G Road in Defuniak Springs.)
If you register to be a zombie and would like your zombie makeup done, you will need to arrive early. Please note that the course for this race will have obstacles.
Additional t-shirts will be available for purchase on-site for $15.
All funds raised by this event will benefit the North Florida Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF.) JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.

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Explore The Outdoors Festival 2014 a huge success

Kayaking and canoeing with Snaggy Bend Outfitters along with Hydrobikes from Emerald Coast Hydrobikes were just a few of the activities at the Explore The Outdoors Festival. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Kayaking and canoeing with Snaggy Bend Outfitters along with Hydrobikes from Emerald Coast Hydrobikes were just a few of the activities at the Explore The Outdoors Festival. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Walton Outdoors would like to take this opportunity to thank the great folks of DeFuniak Springs. Our Explore The Outdoors Festival along Lake DeFuniak on Oct. 11 was a huge success. More than 700 kids and their families enjoyed fishing, paddling, nature-based crafts, wildlife exhibits, nature exhibits, and bluegrass music along beautiful Lake DeFuniak.

To the incredible exhibitors who made the day possible – my hat goes off to you. We would not of been able to pull it off without your participation. Walton Outdoors also gives thanks and gratitude to the tireless volunteers who spent their day pulling it all together. The Walton High School Key Club rocks! You were a great help, and filled with positive energy.

We are also grateful for our sponsors who were a huge part of making the day a success: Gulf Coast Insulation, Preble-Rish, Century Link, Fish Florida, ResortQuest, and Copy Systems.

Fishing with FISH Florida rods and reels along with FWC, Carolyn Poole, and David Thompson was fun! Photo courtesy Shadow Media Group

Fishing with FISH Florida rods and reels along with FWC, Carolyn Poole, and David Thompson was fun! Photo courtesy Shadow Media Group

To the folks at WZEP, and the DeFuniak Herald / Beach Breeze, thank you for supporting our efforts. You were wonderful in helping us get the word out to the community.

Last, and certainly not least, to the City of DeFuniak Springs – thank you for supporting our event and allowing us to host the Explore The Outdoors Festival along the lake. Everyone at City Hall was very supportive. City Works – you were over the top! Thank you Tilman Mears and crew for going the extra mile in preparation for the event. From fixing the dock, to making sure there were fish out there, to lending us tables, chairs, and so much more. You are the best!

Thank you all for believing getting kids outdoors is a good thing.

Highlights from the festival:

• Fishing from the dock with fish pros Carolyn Poole, Warren Sweeney, and David Thompson
• 180 Fish Florida fishing rod giveaways went fast, the kids loved the rods
• Fishing education with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offered great posters and fishing information
• The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife exhibit educated everyone about the native wildlife in Northwest Florida. Kids identified furs, feathers, and more
• Kayaking and canoeing with Snaggy Bend Outfitters had everyone lined up to paddle
• Emerald Coast Hydrobikes offered paddling around the lake, a unique experience all enjoyed
• Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge wildlife exhibit had cool critters on hand
• Birding with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society and interactive fun with the wingspan banner is always a hit with the kids
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife exhibit
• Wildlife education and interesting critters with E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
• Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Henderson Beach State Park, Rocky Bayou State Park, Camp Helen State Park and Eden Gardens State Park exhibits had a big variety of interesting bones, shells, artifacts, and much more
• Northwest Florida Astronomy club offered peeks at the sun
• Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance touch tank always fun
• Smokey the Bear and his friends from Forestry wowed the crowd
• Deitrich’s Honey Farm offered samples of honey and bee education
• Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute gave a peek into an underwater world
• Boy Scout “Leave No Trace” campsite exhibit educated about doing the right thing when camping
• Tri-County Head Start fun painting crafts were a hit
• Florida Public Archeology Network offered interesting artifacts and education
• Sweet Bay Chapter of the Native Plant Society had kids learning and planting
• Lowe’s was a hit with the wooden craft making for the kids
• Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures brought their air boat and fishing boat
• Live bluegrass music by Dismal Creek was great
• The Big Red Truck and 4C BBQ offered delicious food

A great day of fun was had by all.

Explore The Outdoors Festival 2014 from Shadow Media Group on Vimeo.

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WACO Pumpkin Derby at South Walton Bay Church Oct. 25

pumpkinderbyEnjoy fun and activities Oct. 25 in South Walton where creativity runs wild and cheaters never prosper.  Make your own pumpkin racer and feel the thrill of competing in the fun-spirited Pumpkin Derby. The event will be held at South Walton Bay Church, 24388 U.S. Hwy. 331 S, Santa Rosa Beach from 1 – 4 p.m.

Pumpkin Derby brochure

Handcrafted Pumpkin Racers racing side-by-side in unpredictable and dramatic style! Families and friends race for fun and the coveted Championship Trophy, Recognition for Best of Show, Best Team Spirit, and Best Crash.

Pumpkin Derby Racer Kits will be available for purchase at the Derby while supplies last. Kits are fun and easy to assemble and contain everything you need to build a Pumpkin Racer, including a medium-sized pumpkin. Free expert assistance, decorations, and accessories are available at the event for those purchasing official kits. Cost is $20.00.

For more information contact: Dr. Walt Campbell -850-685-0684

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Enjoy a guided tour of the wet prairies and rare plants of Point Washington State Forest Oct. 20

wetprairies2Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Tom Green. Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

We will visit several wet prairies in Pt. Washington State Forest. Observe and identify pitcher plants, sundews and other carnivorous plants, plus many other native plants that are typically found only in this kind of habitat. Several of these species are threatened or endangered. The history and ecology of the prairies will be discussed, as well as, the role of fires in these precious ecosystems. This tour is led by an accomplished biologist who has been involved in describing and mapping wet prairies in south Walton County.

Moderate difficulty, walking about a mile, including over boggy ground that may have some standing water. Bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, and hat. Wear long pants and closed-toed sturdy shoes (no sandals or flip-flops) that can get wet and muddy. A walking stick and camera are recommended.

Space is limited to 15 participants. Minimum of 4.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549. Vehicle caravan to event location. Fee: $15 + $2 forest entry fee at entrance of park.

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

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