Walton county fishing report for April 8

pompanoFishing is great!

Trout bite has started in the bay, smaller. Slot sized redfish being caught.
River: Bass bites, crappie, shellcracker and catfish

Salt: Pompano bit is on, small but many.

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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Pig roast, home tour, street dance benefit in DeFuniak Springs April 26

chautauquabuildingA pig roast benefit for the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood will be held in DeFuniak Springs on April 26 from 4 – 8 p.m. The event will be held at 676 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. BBQ will served from 4 – 6 p.m. Entertainment starting at 6 p.m.

Tickets $25 each. Additional $10 ticket for art show and home tour.
Tickets available at City Hall and Walton Area Chamber of Commerce by advance purchase only. Raffle tickets for Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood dollhouse will be available 1 for $3 or 2 for $5.

All checks payable to City of DeFuniak Springs. For more information call Mitzie at 850-892-3191.

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Learn about WWII history and more in a guided tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve

Susan Paladini, left, educates on the history of Coffeen Nature Preserve. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Susan Paladini, left, educates on the history of Coffeen Nature Preserve. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Spring tours offered in April and May

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.

Dates: April 25, May 6, May 16

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing.  The 220-acre Nature Preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles), were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, resident manager, and explore the site where America’s strategic missile program began. You will view the original military photographs inside the “mess hall” and learn about the generous gift of the founder, the late Dorothy Coffeen.

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

This will be followed by a hike of approximately 1½ miles around the property, which will include walking along two original missile launch ramps, stepping down into concrete launch bunkers and viewing other military buildings. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Preserve and Fuller Lake. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

Participants are encouraged to wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant and to bring bottled water. Closed-toed or other suitable walking shoes are a must.

Space is limited to 16 participants. Minimum of 2 required.

Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach. Fee: $20

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 www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided canoe trip of Campbell Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 17

rangersmDate/time: Friday April 17th, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join Topsail for a unique opportunity to paddle Campbell Lake. Located within the heart of Topsail Hill, Campbell Lake is the largest of the parks two coastal dune lakes. You will join the ranger as he leads you to various points around the lake and discusses what makes this lake as well as the others in the area so unique. No outside canoes or kayaks are allowed on the lake so space is limited to 10 people for each trip. A signup sheet will be available in the ranger station from April 1st until April 16th and will be on a first come first serve basis. Meet at tram stop 1 by 11:30 am on April 27th to catch the tram to the lake. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the tram stop 1, 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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Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park April 25 

estuaryfestival5The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute (MKEI) will jointly host the 8th Annual Mattie Kelly Estuary Family Festival at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The family-oriented festival offers exhibits and activities that celebrate Choctawhatchee Bay. Festival admission is free and the open to the public.

Activities and exhibits will include wildlife displays and shows, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, guided trail hikes by local experts, touch-tanks with Choctawhatchee Bay aquatic species, fish-print shirts, kid friendly crafts, scavenger hunts and more.

CBA is a non-profit watershed organization whose efforts are focused on raising awareness to increase the health and sustainability of local waterways, through the monitoring, research, restoration and education of the Choctawhatchee watershed. For over 19 years, CBA has promoted water stewardship within the Choctawhatchee Watershed, growing the network of supporters who have joined in the mission to provide a future for these natural resources.

For more information contact Sarah Davis at (850) 585-7926 or daviss26@nwfsc.edu.

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Coastal Branch Library hosting ‘Geocaching 101′ April 18

Geocache-4The Walton County Coastal Library is hosting “Geocaching 101” on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. the event will be presented by Dorothee R. Bennett and Vicky Stever in the community room of the library. Geocaching is a high-tech, outdoor treasure hunt for all ages with over 2 million geocaches worldwide. Bring your smart phone or GPS if you own one. An indoor presentation will be followed by an outdoor activity.

Registration is appreciated, walk-ins are welcome. Free for the public. For more information, call Linda at 850-267-2809. Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

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Dyeing eggs the natural way

Use leaves or flowers to make interesting prints on your eggs.

Use leaves or flowers to make interesting prints on your eggs.

This time of year, many children are egg-cited to dye Easter Eggs!  This year, instead of buying a kit to dye eggs, why not use natural materials that you most likely already have in your kitchen or yard?  One 4-H Junior Master Gardener Project teaches young gardeners how to make dyes made from plant parts and other natural materials and teach a little science at the same time.

Start by cleaning the eggs by wiping them with vinegar. Why vinegar?  Well there is a little science behind that…and a great teachable moment! The shell is protected by a thin layer of protein molecules called the cuticle. This cuticle has a neutral charge so not much is attracted to it. The vinegar contains acetic acid, which reacts to make the cuticle positively charged. The dye typically has a negative charge. So to get the dye to “stick” to the egg, the positive charge on the cuticle attracts the negative charge of the dye. (Use a magnet as a visual example.) Therefore the acid is needed to make the color adhere to the shell. FYI! If the egg is left in the acid it will make the shell disappear (a great experiment for another day).

Back to dyes…Talk to youth about how early Americans made their own dyes. Look around your house to see what might make a good dye and predict what color it will make setting up your own mini science experiment.  To make your dyes mix 1-4 cups of plant material or 2 to 4 tablespoons of ground herbs or spices with 1-2 quarts of water in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn off and steep until cool. Strain, keep liquid and discard plant materials. Juices can be used as is. Soak eggs in the liquid/juice dyes + 1 teaspoon of vinegar – the longer soaked the brighter. If soaking eggs for extended periods, store eggs with dye in the refrigerator. Easter eggs are safe if handled properly. They must not be out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

Ideas for dyes:
•    Blue to Purple- grape juice, red grapes, blueberries, red cabbage, blackberries
•    Reddish Pink Purple- paprika, red onion skins; beets/beet juice, Cranberries, Hibiscus Flowers, Red teas (Passion, Hibiscus)
•    Brown- coffee, black tea
•    Golden Orange- yellow onion skins
•    Orange- turmeric, ground cumin, yellow onionskins plus beet juice, paprika Green- spinach, kale, parsley, carrot tops.
•    Yellow- curry powder, orange and lemon peels, Safflower Petals
For cool effects before cooking/dyeing:
•    Draw on your egg with crayons
•    Wrap your egg with rubber bands or yarn for a tie-dyed effect
•    For a marbled effect, put 1 Tbsp oil in the dye before dropping your egg in
•    Stamp your eggs with nature images by placing a leaf or flower on your egg, then wrapping it tightly with a piece of nylon stocking.  Dip into dye.  When you remove your egg from the dye, carefully remove wrappings.Use leaves or flowers to make interesting prints on your eggs.
Cool effects after cooking/dyeing:
•    Sprinkle with salt while still wet and see what pattern emerges!
•    For a mottled egg, rub/pat it with paper towel as soon as you remove it from the dye
•    Draw with markers when your egg is dry
•    To make your eggs gleam, rub vegetable oil on egg after cooled and dried.

These and other activities are part of 4-H, one of the nation’s most diverse organizations. 4-H includes people from all economic, racial, social, political, and geographic categories. There are no barriers to participation by any young person. Participants are given the opportunity to engage in activities that hold their personal interest, while being guided by caring and trained adult volunteers. For more information about joining 4-H as a youth or volunteer, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

Story by Pam Davis: pmdavis – pmdavis@ufl.edu
4-H Youth Development Faculty Bay County Extension

http://bay.ifas.ufl.edu/4-h/

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Have breakfast with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 11

rangerDate/time: Saturday April 11, 9 – 10 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you and your family to Breakfast with a Ranger. Join the Rangers of Topsail Hill to learn about the park, its history and to ask them all the questions you can think of about the park its wildlife and anything in between. This program is ideal for the whole family to enjoy. To cover the cost of food, please bring $5.00, which goes to Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to enhance the park or bring your own breakfast. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the clubhouse.

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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Walton county fishing report for April 1

bassFishing is great!

A grand slam of fishing in Walton!
Bay: Some great trout bites for the first time this spring. Good redfish bites as well.
River: Bass bites are through the roof! Also good crappie, shell cracker, and bream biting.

Salt: Cobia bite is on!

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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Butterfly lecture in DeFuniak Springs April 8

 Butterflies: Here Today, Flutterbys Tomorrow?

The Walton County Master Gardeners will be hosting butterfly expert, MaryAnn Friedman in DeFuniak Springs on Wednesday, April 8.

The event will be from 2 – 3 p.m. at the Walton County Extension Office at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs.

MaryAnn will give a beautiful digital photographic record of her experiences in the field searching for butterfly data and will offer suggestions on how to promote butterfly conservation.

The Florida Panhandle is home to some of Florida’s rarest species of butterflies.  Our area offers a variety of different ecosystems and large undeveloped conservation tracts which harbor a rich diversity of wildlife.  Many of these conservation lands have undergone huge changes from both manmade and natural factors.

We’ve become accustomed to enjoying the fall migration of monarchs, but will it always be this way?  Most of our native butterflies seem to be thriving, yet certain species are in severe decline.

For three years MaryAnn Friedman of Niceville worked as the Western Panhandle Regional Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant entitled: A Statewide Assessment of the Current Status and Distribution of FNAI’s Tracked Butterfly Species on Florida’s Conservation Lands. A team of biologists and a group of dedicated “citizen scientists” traveled across Florida to monitor existing populations and to seek out previously unknown populations of our most vulnerable butterflies, compile and map occurrences and draw some conclusions on management techniques which might be helping or harming various species.

These programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions. Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

Seating is limited and reservations must be made by calling Cheryl at 850-892-8172 by Monday before the event.

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