Wounded Warriors enjoy a weekend of fishing at Live Oak Landing

Wounded warriors enjoy a day of fishing along Black Creek. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Wounded warriors enjoy a day of fishing along Black Creek. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Weekend getaway brings camaraderie and relaxation to elite group of soldiers

Local fisherman and Wounded Warrior Mark McDuffie of Wounded Warrior Fishing and his partner Jeep Sullivan of Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures have teamed up to create special events to benefit wounded warriors. The two combine both fishing and hunting opportunities in great environments that foster new friendships and camaraderie.

On Sept. 26 and 27, 2014 McDuffie and Sullivan hosted eight Wounded Warriors and their families for a weekend retreat at Live Oak Landing Outdoor Destination in Freeport. With the help of great sponsors, the weekend was a huge success. Live Oak Landing donated accommodations for the families, Bass Pro Shops provided a fried catfish dinner, Hub City Bassmasters provided bass boats and crew for each of the Warriors, and Jeep Sullivan hosted air boat rides along Black Creek.

“We get injured as a family, we heal as a family,” McDuffie said.

For more information on Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures, contact Mark McDuffie at (850) 499-8385, or Jeep Sullivan at (850) 326-1771.

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Learn about the eastern gray squirrel at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Oct. 10

squirrelTime: 2 – 3 p.m.

Come learn about our most widely seen rodents the eastern gray squirrel. You’ll find out what an important part of the ecosystem these squirrels play . 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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Take a guided hike along No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Oct. 3

campbelllakesmTime: 10 – 11 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you on a hike to view the parks natural beauty. This ranger-led hike will take you through several of the ecosystems that make this park unique. The walk will culminate on the shore of No Name Lake and perhaps with a glimpse of the resident alligator. Please no open toe shoes. This is an all ages program. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to Tram Stop 1.

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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Enjoy star gazing by the shore at Henderson Beach State Park Oct. 17

starsDate: Friday, October 17th, from 3 – 10 p.m.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Henderson Beach State Park will host a star gazing program. Volunteers from the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association will set up several telescopes for public viewing of star clusters, planets, and galaxies and answer questions about the night sky. Also, prior to sunset, their telescopes will be equipped for safe viewing of the sun. The safe viewing of the sun will start at 3 p.m. All ages are invited to enjoy an evening of star gazing. The park will close at sunset which is 6:14 p.m. All those attending the star gaze should arrive prior to sunset.

*Event is subject to cancellation due to weather conditions.* Bring a picnic and enjoy the evening. Fees: Program included in the park admission fee. Contact: (850) 837-7550 for more information.

Directions: Henderson Beach State Park is located in Okaloosa County, on Highway 98 just east of Destin.

 

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Enter the Plant Show at the Walton County Fair

fair plant showIt’s time to get your favorite plants ready for the Walton County Fair, October 6 through 11.  The Potted Plant Show will again be sponsored by the Walton County Master Gardeners.  The following classes of plants may be entered for judging: African violets, flowering, foliage, hanging containers, cactus and succulents, ferns and a mixture of plants in the same pot will fall into the miscellaneous class.

Two plants in each class will be accepted per person. Exhibitors must have possession of the plant for a minimum of three months.  All citizens of Walton County are invited to enter their plants in the show.  Plants will be judged on their merit with prizes awarded in each class.

Plants will be received on Saturday, October 4th from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday, October 5th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Fairgrounds located at 790 N 9th Street (SR83) in DeFuniak Springs.  Exhibitors should bring their plants through the arena door located by the white trailer/fair office.  After the fair, you may pick up your plants on Sunday, October 12th from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Walton County Master Gardeners will be available each night during the fair to answer questions.  For more information call Carolynn at 850-834-3724 or the Walton County Extension Office 850-892-8172, located next to the Fairgrounds.

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Chautauqua Winery Annual Harvest Festival Oct. 18

chautaquavineyardsChautauqua Winery Annual Harvest Festival will be held on Oct. 18, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free wine tastings held under the large tent all day. Al Alvarado Project with guests Simply D’Vyne, plus Smokin’ Rodeo Band will be live in concert. Food plates sold by Pleasant Ridge BBQ. The Chautauqua Cruisers & friends will display striking vehicles for a Cruise-In. An array of art, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, & various vendors from the area will showcase their products. If interested to be a vendor e-mail Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery is located on Hugh Adams Road, 
Defuniak Springs, Florida 32435
. For more information, call 850-892-5887
.

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Vintage Florida film nights at Eden Gardens State Park in October

edenfilmsThe Friends of Eden Gardens State Park are presenting the first ever “Eden’s Vintage Florida Film Series” in October. The films will be shown on the lawn by the stage near the bayou. All movies being presented were filmed in Florida, namely the finale, “Frogs” which was filmed at Eden Gardens State Park.

The event is free with park admission of $4.00 per vehicle. Bring your chairs, blankets, and loved ones and enjoy the movies under the stars. Costumes are welcomed for the Frogs movie night. Popcorn and soft drinks will be available for purchase.

Film Series is as follows:
Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m. – “Cocoon” – filmed in Clearwater, FL.
Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. -  “Creature from the Black Lagoon – Filmed in Wakulla Springs, FL
Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. – “Frogs” with with free mansion tours from 4-6 p.m.  - Filmed at Eden Gardens State Park.

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 ::MAP::

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Take a guided tour of Peach Creek on kayak Oct. 9

peach1Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Karl Renelt. Time: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Launch from the astounding Eden Gardens State Park for a paddle tour through Tucker Bayou up to Peach Creek. Discuss environmental topics about marsh ecosystems and the local history including building of the Intracoastal Waterway, logging on the Choctawhatchee River, and turpentine industry.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring at least a quart of water, snacks if desired, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. Sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour. Paddle board options upon request.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 4. Location: Meet at Eden Gardens State Park, 181 Eden Drive, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $60 for kayak +$5 park entry fee / $40 if providing own craft+ $5 park entry fee

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

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Take a guided butterfly hike in Point Washington State Forest Oct. 13

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

Guide: MaryAnn Friedman. Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Take a guided walk through Point Washington State Forest to observe and identify the native plants, trees, grasses, insects, and butterflies. Your guide is a butterfly and native plant expert and well-seasoned in leading tours and presentations. You will walk a light to moderate trail discussing the flora and fauna of the state park and surrounding areas. This tour is held at the peak season of butterfly migration and fall flower blooming in Florida. We hope to be able to identify a variety of butterflies and host plants while walking on the trail. Collection of plants or insects are prohibited; however, a net may be used for study and release. Please carry water, small camera, and close-focusing binoculars. Wear hat, sunglasses, sun screen and close-toed shoes. Insect repellent, long pants and socks are recommended. We may walk into wooded areas where there could be thorny plants, ticks and mosquitoes.

Location: Meet at NWFSC South Walton campus

Space is limited to 15. Minimum of 5 required.

Fee: $15 + $2 forest entry fee at entrance of park

http://www.basinalliance.org/page.cfm?articleID=111

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

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Take a guided tour of south Walton’s coastal dune lakes Oct. 16

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

Guide: Brooke Saari, UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This educational tour will introduce participants to the Jewels of 30A – the coastal dune lakes of Walton County, Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare ecosystems, which exist in just a few places around the world. They are primarily freshwater systems that sit along the coastline. But here in South Walton, the lakes periodically break through the beach and connect to the Gulf of Mexico. A saltwater exchange occurs, which supports an incredible biological community.

The tour of the coastal dune lakes will follow Scenic Highway 30A. We will make several stops along the way, visiting three to five coastal dune lakes. We will explore the unique character of the different lakes as we discuss ecology, water quality, and human impacts. We will enjoy photographic vistas, take a short hike within the dune system, and stop for a picnic lunch in one of the local state parks.

Participants should plan for easy to moderate short hiking, getting in and out of vans and/or bus, and being outside in the sunny and possibly windy conditions associated with coastal areas. Bring a camera and /or binoculars if you like. We suggest a hat, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, and layered weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear if needed. Tours will go on, rain or shine; stops may be adjusted according to weather conditions to suit the comfort of the participants. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited to 30 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Participants will ride as a group in a van to all of the stops.

Fee: $45. Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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