Take a guided tour of the wet prairies of Grayton Beach State Park March 3

firstdayhikesgrayton2Dates/time: March 3, April 22, 10 – 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.

Join the Park Ranger for an informative tour of some of the park’s Wet Prairie Restoration areas. Learn the importance of these areas, which endangered plants call them home, and how swamp titi trees impact the hydrology and flora of these areas. The ranger will discuss the importance of the prescribed fire program at Grayton Beach State Park, explaining how fire is a necessity for habitat restoration, wildlife management, and decreasing loading fuels to help with the prevention of wildfires.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Difficulty is moderate. Participants will hike approximately 2 – 2.5 miles out to one of the restoration sites and then hike back. The topography is not level. It is also sandy/muddy in areas. Participants should bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, and a hat. Participants must wear appropriate hiking/walking attire. NO OPEN-TOED SHOES, SANDALS, OR FLIP-FLOPS ALLOWED. Pets are not allowed on this walk. Pets cannot be left unattended at any time or in a vehicle. Event is subject to cancellation due to bad weather, unforeseen situations, or prescribed burning in the area.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 5 required. Location: Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach Participants will meet at the ranger station.

Fee: $15 + $5 entry fee (paid at time of entrance)

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.

Posted in Eco adventure, Nature, Outdoor Family Fun, Parks | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Shiitake mushroom production workshop in DeFuniak Springs March 5

shiitakemushrooms2Join the Walton County Extension Service March 5, from 6-8 pm for their Shiitake Mushroom Production Workshop. Come and learn all about growing shiitake mushrooms through hands-on demonstrations with our County Extension Director, Mike Goodchild.

Cost is $15. Each attendee will take home a log inoculated with mushroom spawn.

The workshop will be held at the DeFuniak Springs office at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs. Space is limited to first 15 registered, pre-register by March 3rd. Call 892-8172 to reserve a seat.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Inaugural Florida Statewide nonnative fish catch, click and submit contest Feb. 21 – March 1

 The Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA) is organizing a nonnative freshwater fishing tournament for Invasive Species Week.

The objectives of the Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest are: 1) to document the distribution of nonnative fish in Florida using angler-caught fish that are photographed and reported to ECISMA through the EDDMaps reporting system, 2) to increase public awareness of the potential negative impacts of releasing nonnative fish into Florida waters, and 3) to encourage anglers to target nonnative species for consumption. Learn more by clicking here.

Rules and Regulations
Registration: All anglers must register with EDDMaps.org to submit photographs and catch data.
2015 Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest Start/Stop: The 2015 Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest begins at 6:00 am Saturday, February 21, 2015 and all entries must be received by 12:00 am Sunday, March 1st, 2015. All EDDMap submissions must be complete with catch location and picture to be considered.
Boundaries: The boundaries are all legal freshwater fishing areas in the State of Florida.
Prizes: (Prizes will be announced on March 28th, 2015) Prizes will be given for the most nonnative fish species and for the most unusual nonnative fish catch.

Category
Most Unusual Catch – Adult
First Prize – $75 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Second Prize – $50 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Third Prize – $25 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt

Most Species – Adult
First Prize – $75 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Second Prize – $50 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Third Prize – $25 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt

Most Unusual Catch – Youth
First Prize – $50 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Second Prize – $25 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Third Prize – $15 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt

Most Species – Youth
First Prize – $50 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Second Prize – $25 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt
Third Prize – $15 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shop and Lionfish Be the Predator T-shirt

State and Federal Regulations: All fish must be caught in compliance with all State of Florida regulations (see www.myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/regulations/ or visit a local bait and tackle shop) and only within legal fishing areas. Native fish are not eligible for consideration. Miccosukee and Seminole Indians may harvest nonnative fish with traditional methods.

The 1st Annual Statewide Nonnative Fish Catch, Click and Submit Contest is being held during the National Invasive Species Awareness Week, February 22-28, 2015. However, submissions of non-native fish (or other non-native species) can be made anytime through EDDMapS.

Posted in Fishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Walton County Master Gardeners presents olive tree growing workshop in Santa Rosa Beach Mar. 4

olivesDate/time: Mar. 4, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

As part of their How Does Your Garden Grow lecture series, the Walton County Master Gardeners are hosting an olive tree growing workshop. This month’s the topic is Keep the peace – grow your own olive branch.  Certified Master Gardener, James Williams will talk about growing olive trees successfully here in northwest Florida.

The lecture will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 from 10: – 11:30 am in the Community Room at Padgett Park, 810 JD Miller Road in Santa Rosa Beach.

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

The program is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served and Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions.  Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Local community group hosts forum on incorporating South Walton Feb. 26

SWCC_finallogoThe Incorporation of South Walton – is now the time?

On February 26th the South Walton Community Council (SWCC) will present Director of Membership Lynn Tipton, Florida League of Cities to speak and answer questions about incorporating South Walton as a city. Two sessions will be held at the Seaside Repertory Theater, located in Seaside Florida, at 216 Quincy Circle. One session will be at 4 p.m., the other at 7 p.m.

As residents express their frustration with land use and growth management concerns & the enforcement of current regulations, the prospect of incorporating South Walton County has risen again. South county residents state their desire for more fiscal control of their tax dollars & more representation in decision making. These reasons have brought concerned citizens to search for solutions and more information about incorporation.

These informational sessions will answer questions, such as: What does incorporation mean? What are the pros and cons? What areas can incorporate? What is the process? How long does it take? What about taxes? Questions will be taken from those attending.

For more information, contact SWCC at southwaltoncc@gmail.com

The South Walton Community Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the quality of life and the unique natural environment in South Walton County. Founded in 1995, SWCC is a nonpartisan coalition of several hundred residents, property owners, employees, neighborhoods and business owners working together toward these goals.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged | Leave a comment

Enjoy a guided hike to No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Feb. 28

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: Saturday February 28, 1 – 2 p.m.

Come shake off the winter cobwebs and get outside for this nature hike. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Rangers will lead you through the various ecosystems that make this park unique. This hike will lead you to one of the lakes in the park, No Name Lake. Be sure to bring your binoculars, sunscreen, and water. 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::

Posted in Eco adventure, Nature, Trails/Hiking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Free trees for kids on Saturday March 7

hickoryTime: 10 a.m.

In observance of National Arbor Day, free trees will be given away to children and their families through the generosity of Florida Forest Service of Walton County and the National Arbor Day Foundation. The event is co-sponsored by Northwest Florida State College, CBA (Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance), Friends of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden, Walton County Master Gardeners and AmeriCorps. The event will be held at Northwest Florida State College, South Walton Center in the Native Plant Demonstration Garden, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

Five species of easy-to-grow, wildlife friendly trees will be given to children to take home and plant in their own yards: White Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Pignut Hickory, Red Maple and Chickasaw Plum.

Walton County Forest personnel, Master Gardeners, and AmeriCorps will be on hand to demonstrate the correct way to plant and care for trees, and answer questions about trees and other gardening concerns.

The Native Plant Demonstration Garden & Trail and the new Bog Garden at the College feature many other Florida native plants suitable for home gardens. Admission is free and open to the public daily.

For more information contact Rick Bray, Senior Forester, Florida Forest Service of Walton County (850) 892-8010 or Mary Lutz, Friends of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden & Trail (850) 622 5680.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Taste of Home Cooking School coming to DeFuniak Springs March 3

The Taste of Home Cooking School is returning to DeFuniak Springs for the 21st annual spring show sponsored by WZEP Radio Station. The show will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Walton High School. Culinary specialist Michelle “Red” Roberts will be featured. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the show at 6:30 p.m. All are encouraged to come early to visit booths hosted by local vendors and register for door prizes. VIP tickets are $45 and general admission is $10.

Tickets can be purchased by mail, in person and on line.  For more information about the Taste of Home Cooking School, go to www.wzep1460.com or call WZEP AM1460 at 850-892-5130.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged | Leave a comment

UF/IFAS Extension hosting beekeeping course

honeyThe UF/IFAS Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team will be offering a Beekeeping Short-Course in March, 2015. These classes will be offered via interactive video conferencing.
- Classes will be taught by Dr. Jamie Ellis and other state and nationally recognized experts from the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.
- Monday, March 9:  Honey Bee Biology, Anatomy & Hive Structure
- Monday, March 16: Bee Nutrition and Bee Botany (identification of nectar plants)
- Saturday, March 21: Bee-Yard Field Day 9 am to 12 pm – A hands on learning opportunity
- Monday, March 23: Important Pest and Diseases – Identification and Management
Class times are 6 – 8 pm central time.

Registration for all four classes is $20 per person, or $30 for a family. This fee covers course materials and light refreshments. Deadline to register is March 5, 2015. Call 850-892-8172 for more details and registration.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged | Leave a comment

Walton county fishing report for Feb. 18

sheepsheadFishing is good for those getting out there

Choctawhatchee Bay: Trout bite still on along with sheepshead. A few redfish being caught.

River: Crappie biting on the river.

Hunting: Deer in full rut. Lots of big bucks.

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

Posted in Fishing, Hunting | Tagged , | Leave a comment