Upcoming Events

:: Ongoing ::

Saturday and Sunday Farmers markets

tomatoesSeaside Amphitheater – Saturday, Market Shops Sandestin Sunday
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Come and reap the benefits of purchasing locally grown food as local farmers and vendors offer their wares. Fresh eggs, vegetables and fruit, honey, breads, cookies, cheeses, milk, organic chickens and broth, handmade jewelry, soaps and more. Buying locally grown food benefits you and our community. ::MAP::

WaterColor Coastal Farmers Market
The WaterColor Community Association is hosting the WaterColor Coastal Farmers Market at Cerulean Park on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The market is open to the public. The market has an array of items to choose from with more than 30 participating vendors. Items such as local farm-fresh produce, eggs, and dairy products will be available. There will also be a large variety of organic and homemade items and artwork.

Rosemary Beach Barrett Square – Sunday 
Reap fresh produce and more from local farmers on Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Rosemary Beach. Market located on N. Barrett Square.

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Kids Club at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park every Tuesday and Thursday

kidsclubKids Club will take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 -11:30 a.m. in the clubhouse. There will be crafts, face painting, and kids will have an opportunity to learn about the park. For more info call the park at 850-267-8330.

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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Wednesdays in July: Explore Western Lake on a guided paddle tour

westernlakeDates/Time: Each Wednesday in July from  9 – 11:30 a.m. (except July 22)

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the summer season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County. This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake; one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

There is a Bring Your Own Boat option for this tour. See discounted rate under “Fee”

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3.

Location: Meet at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Guide will lead a caravan to Grayton Beach State Park to launch boats.

Fee: $60 per person/$45 per person bring your own boat

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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Stand up paddleboard sunset tours offered on Western Lake every Wednesday

greategretwesternlakeDates/time: Wednesdays, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m .

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge has partnered with Sunny Days Sports to offer stand up paddleboard eco-tours on one of South Walton’s coastal dune lakes. Western Lake in South Walton is a stunning backdrop for an eco tour adventure led by master naturalist, Jeff Ragland.

The paddleboard eco-tours will be offered each Wednesday from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., beginning June 24. Tours are intended for groups of 2-8 guests and cost $89 per person. Reservations are required and include board rental, paddles, a guided tour of Western Lake, and snacks. Contact the ECWR at 850-650-1880 for more information, or call Sunny Days Sports at 850-231-1974 to sign up.

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is supported by private contributions and donations since 1994. The ECWR receives no government funding, and depends on the generosity of donors, sponsorships, grants, and revenue of special events. For more information on the ECWR, or to learn of the many ways you can help support your local wildlife, please visit their website at www.ecwildliferefuge.com.

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Americana under the Stars every Thursday
at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

luckymudTime: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Starting with an open mic at 6:30 p.m. in the amphitheater/clubhouse Topsail presents an evening of music. Free admission into park and a suggested donation of $5 goes to the Friends of Topsail Hill. Bring a chair, your favorite beverage and enjoy some music in the park. This is family/ pet friendly and fun for all ages.
July 30th– Sarah Mac Band

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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Free movie night at Florida Farmers Market in Paxton

floridafarmersmarketFree Movies Fridays at Florida Farmers Market starting at 8 p.m. every Friday in July.
July 31 – Big Hero 6

Florida Farmers Market Cafe will stay open late. Come for dinner and stay to enjoy the free movie on our huge outdoor movie screen. Bring a blanket or chairs. Popcorn and snacks available for sale.

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Sunday evening free concerts at Gulf Place

gulfplaceGulf Place on 30A is hosting a summer concert series starting June 7. Each week will feature a different local or regional band, ranging in genres. Performances will be appropriate for attendees of all ages. Concerts are from 6-9 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy the concert on the amphitheater lawn. The live entertainment acts subject to change.
August
August 2 – Tony Vegas
August 9 – Neil Dover
August 16 – Fearless Heights

For more information on the concert series, go to www.gulfplacefl.com. Gulf Place is located in Santa Rosa Beach on the corner of Scenic Hwy. 30A and CR393.

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Learn how to surf fish at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park July 31

surffishingDate/time: Friday July 31st, 2015, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Surf fishing is a popular sport along the beaches of Topsail Hill. This program will teach you what types of bait will work, what times of year certain fish can be caught, and common fish you can catch from the beach. Fishing gear is optional, the park has fishing gear. This program will take place at the Beach Access, park in the Day Use parking area and catch the 1:00pm Tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 1:00pm Tram arrives at the beach. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the tram stop.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Camp Helen history tour August 1

camphelenhistorytourTime: 10 – 10:45 a.m.
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Camp Helen State Park invites you to their history walk at Camp Helen State Park. Come learn about the early history of the park and local area while wandering on a guided tour around Camp Helen’s restored historical buildings. The history walk takes place the first Saturday of each month.

Participation Requirements:
• Must have the ability to follow visual and/or verbal instruction independently or with the assistance of a companion.
• Must have the ability to withstand exposure to the outdoors for a period of 1- 2 hours.
• Must have the ability to traverse wet, sloped, and uneven terrain for .5 -1 miles, independently or with the assistance of a companion.

Fees: The tour is free with paid park admission fee of $4.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 8 people per vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Contact: (850) 233-5059 ::MAP::

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Guided kayak tour of Western Lake on Wednesdays in August

westernlakeThe Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, is offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County. This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake, one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3.

Location: Meet at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Guide will lead a caravan to Grayton Beach State Park to launch boats.

Fee: $45 per person (Bring Your Own Boat) Class reference # XRL 6213. Date references numbers: 8/19/2015 #11261, 8/26/2015 #11410.

Fee: $60 per person for kayak supplied. Class reference #XRL6213A. Date reference numbers: 8/19/2015 #11283, 8/26/2015 #11424.

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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Bayside fishing clinics at Kellogg Park August 6

ErniemartinDates/time: Aug. 6 – 3 – 5 p.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the summer season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

This educational eco-adventure takes you to Kellogg Park, a newly established park, off Chat Holley Road to learn fishing techniques about fishing on the Choctawhatchee Bay. You will fish from the park and in the water to get a real feel for the techniques necessary to catch a fish in the Bay. The guide is well versed in fishing in the area and will share his diverse knowledge about the area and the fish that live there! Beginner or proficient fisherman/fisherwoman you will enjoy this class and definitely learn something new. You are encouraged to bring your own rod to further your own knowledge of your equipment, however there will be rods provided, as well as fishing lures. Please bring sunscreen, water, snacks, weather appropriate clothing, bug spray, and other amenities needed for your fishing style.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 6.

Location: Meet at Kellogg Park. From South Walton Campus of Northwest Florida State College go north on 331, make a left on Chat Holley Road, drive about 2.25 miles and make a right on Nellie Drive, follow Nellie Drive to the Bay and you will see the park straight ahead.

Fee: $35

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. Click here to download reference # info: Summer 2015 ECOTOUR DESCRIPTIONS

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Learn about the importance of native plants at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society meeting Aug. 6

CAScolorlogo“The Importance of Florida Native Plants to our Florida Bird Population,” a program by noted native plant specialist and owner of Seven Pines Native Plant Nursery, Dara Dobson, will be presented at the August meeting of the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society. She will explain the role that landscaping with native plants can play in the conservation of our declining bird populations, and will also display a group of beneficial native plants which can be used in local yards and parks.

The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the Student Services Building at Northwest Fla. State College main campus in Niceville. Socializing begins at 6:30 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Walt Spence at 850-582-7064 for more information.

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Learn about coastal dune lakes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 7

Outfall at Morris Lake. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Date/time: Friday, Aug. 7, 9 – 10 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you to an informational program on the rare coastal dune lakes found in the area. Two of these lakes can be found inside the protected area of the park. This all ages program will discuss what makes them so unique, what types of plants/animals can be found along the shores and which supported by the ecosystem and what you can do to help. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the clubhouse.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Free movie night at the Lakeyard in DeFuniak Springs Aug. 7

percyjacksonThe Special Events Committee of the City of DeFuniak Springs is pleased to present August Movie Night on Friday, August 7, 2015. This annual family-oriented, back-to-school event has become a tradition and will be held in the amphitheatre at the Lake yard again this year.

The movie is “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” the 2010 action film which is taken from the opening story in the five book series by Rick Riordan and directed by Chris Columbus. The plot revolves around sixteen-year-old Percy Jackson who discovers that he is the son of Poseidon, Greek god of the seas.

Percy goes to Camp Half-Blood, a training camp for demigods who are the half-mortal children of Greek gods. The story involves kidnapping, theft, false accusations and other adventures. Action-packed, exciting, suspenseful a film every member of the family will enjoy.

The movie starts at 7:30 p.m. on the big screen and is shown free of charge. There will be concessions available so plan to come early, spend a pleasant evening by the lake, and then stay for the movie.

Further information is available by calling city hall at 850-892-8500.

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Take a guided rare plant walk in South Walton Aug. 8

Yellow Pitcher Plant bloomsThe Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will be hosting a rare plant walk on Aug. 8

Tom Greene, a recognized authority on rare Florida plants, will lead a walk in the pine flatwoods of S. Walton County. See unusual and endangered species with the interpretation of this passionate and knowledgeable botanist.

Please wear walking shoes, long pants, and a hat, and bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent. Meet at the Walmart on Hwy. 98 near Sandestin on the portion of the parking lot adjacent to the highway at 9 a.m. Call Tom at 850-694-6403 for more information.

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Breakfast with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 8

rangerDate/time: Sat., Aug. 8, 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.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Learn about shorebirds at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 14

sanderlingsDate/time: Fri., Aug 14, 9 – 10 a.m.

Each year thousands of birds use our shores as a rest stop on a larger migration and some even stay all year. This program on our local shorebirds will discuss what times of year are best to see the migrants and what species to expect. We will also talk about which birds nest here during the summer and how you can help to keep them safe. This is an all ages program and will take place in the clubhouse. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the clubhouse.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Pleasant Ridge Arena hosts Neigh and Bray fun show Aug. 15

Pleasant Ridge Arena in DeFuniak Springs is hosting a Neigh and Bray Fun Show. Sponsored by owners Diana and Rex Brannon, young children will enjoy stick races, and lead line while the more seasoned riders will compete in pole bending, barrel racing Western and English pleasure and more. There is a class for everyone and every breed. The Neigh and Bray show is held the third Saturday of every month. To find out more, go to their website at pleasantridgearena.com. Phone: (850) 892-5398. Show starts at 4 p.m. and is free for spectators.

Location: Pleasant Ridge Arena is located at 1917 Pleasant Ridge Road in DeFuniak Springs.

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Guided hike to No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 21

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: Fri., Aug. 21 – 9 – 10:30 a.m.

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 where we hope to see the resident alligator along with some endemic and endangered plants. Be sure to bring your binoculars, sunscreen, and water. The hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area and is paved for a majority of the route.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Guided sunset hike at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 28

sunset3aDate/time: Fri., Aug. 28 – 6:45 – 9 p.m.

A guided hike will depart to the beach where you will watch the sunset and get some great pictures. We will then hike back to the parking area using the twilight to guide us. Hopefully we will observe some of the creatures of dusk, bats, flying squirrels, etc. at worst we will enjoy a lovely stroll right through the heart of the park. Please wear closed toed shoes, bring some water, and wear some bug spray, and please be sure to be on time the tram will depart promptly at 7:00 pm.

Admission into the park is free until Labor Day. Please stop by the ranger station for more details. Outside tours canceled during severe weather.

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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Sights and sounds of night tour with Nonie’s Ark Animal EVEntures Aug. 28

nonieTime: 7:30 -9:00 pm

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Discover the sights and sounds of nature at night!  Nonie’s Ark Animal Encounters will guide evening Eco-Adventure’s for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance this summer on Wednesday’s. A minimum of five Eventurers are needed and a maximum of 25. We will meet at some of Walton County’s exceptional biodiverse habitats and explore for elusive creatures such as fox, owls, frogs and especially bats! All are invited but focus is on ages 4-10.  Bring a flashlight or headlamp to light your way & please come properly dressed for heat and ready to repel bugs.

The tours will lead out of various locations throughout Walton County; tours will meet at sites listed on flyers.

Space is limited to 25. Minimum of 5 required. Location(s): TBA

Fee: $15. Course # XRL 6223, date reference #11279

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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Guided kayak tour of Western Lake every Wednesday in Sept.

westernlakeTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, is offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County. This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake, one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3.

Location: Meet at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Guide will lead a caravan to Grayton Beach State Park to launch boats.

Fee: $45 per person (Bring Your Own Boat) Class reference # XRL 6213. Date references numbers: 9/2/2015 #11411, 9/9/2015 #11412, 9/16/2015 #11413, 9/23/2015 #11414, 9/30/2015 #11415.

Fee: $60 per person for kayak supplied. Class reference #XRL6213A. Date reference numbers: 9/2/2015 #11425, 9/9/2015 #11426, 9/16/2015 #11427, 9/23/2015 #11428, 9/30/2015 #11429.

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Alys Beach 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run Sept. 6

alysfunrunJoin in on the fun for the 4th Annual Alys Beach 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run, presented by Visit South Walton, on Sunday, September 6, 2015 in Alys Beach, Florida. Located along Hwy 30A, the course winds through the resort town and ends with an oversized obstacle course for kids of all ages, music, food, and beverages available in the Amphitheatre.

The price to participate in the certified 5K is $35 and the 1 Mile Fun Run is $15 (kids 12 and younger only, please) online in advance until Sunday, August 30 at midnight. From Monday, August 31 until Friday, September 4, the price to participate in the 5K is $50 and the 1 Miler is $25. Any remaining registrations will be sold on Saturday, September 5 from 10am-2pm at Fonville Press during Packet Pick-up.

The 5K is limited to 400 participants and the 1 Mile Fun Run is limited to 150 participants.

If you choose to donate you will be benefiting The Alys Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to support the long-term community values of Alys Beach. Funds may be used to finance community, environmental, cultural and educational programs at Alys Beach as well as to support nonprofit organizations in the greater Walton County community. Proceeds from the 2015 race will benefit Alaqua Animal Refuge.  Register at:
http://www.active.com/alys-beach-fl/running/distance-running-races/alys-beach-5k-and-1-mile-fun-run-2015?int

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Historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve Sept. 9th or 30th

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

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, the 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. 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.

Tour reference numbers: 9/9/2015 11271, 9/30/2015 11438, 10/14/2015 11439, 10/28/2015 11440, 11/11/2015 11441, 11/25/2015 11442

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Point Washington State Forest wet prairies and rare plants tour Sept. 14

pitcherplantspointwashingtonDate/Time: Sept. 14, 2015 – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

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. Class #XCE 6226, course reference #11453

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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Getting to Know the Natives – Garden & Trail Tour offered every Wednesday Sept. 16 – Nov. 25

 Every Wednesday from Sept. 16 – Nov. 25 – Time: 3 – 5 p.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Get acquainted with the local flora and fauna as you enjoy a guided tour of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden and Trail at Northwest Florida State College (South Walton Center). Plants featured in the Garden, Trail and Wildflower Meadow are critical to habitat preservation, providing food and shelter for hundreds of species of pollinators, amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals. The area is mostly handicap accessible. It is established as a teaching/demonstration/leisure site for students and the general public. Session will include an overview/introduction followed by a two-hour docent led walk, approximately 1 mile. Appropriate for all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

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

Location: South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $15. Course # XCE 6204, Course Reference # 9/16/2015 #11275, 9/30/201 #11443, 10/14/2015 #11444, 10/28/2015 #11445, 11/11/2015  #11446, 11/25/2015 #11447

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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Guided tour of Choctawhatchee River and Morrison Springs Sept. 25

morrisonsmTime: 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Learn about unique places tucked away along the Choctawhatchee River. Learn about our precious water resources, flood plains, where the river flows, and why it is ever changing. Then we will drive to Morrison Springs. Lean about how many millions of gallons of water Morrison Springs emits every day, and where the water comes from.  We will also discuss the flora and fauna that inhabit the area. We will then take a dip in the cool, clear spring water.

Bring water, a snorkel, waterproof camera, sunscreen, towel, and your swimsuit. Pack a lunch if you wish, as there is a pavilion and restroom facility available at the park.  The event and swimming is dependent on river conditions.

Moderate exertion level. Travel time approximately 1.5 hours each way.

Space is limited to 7 participants. Minimum of 4 required.

Location: Meet at Northwest Florida State College South College, 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. A van will be used to transport individuals along the tour.

Fee: $35. Course # XCE 6221, Date reference #11667

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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Sights and sounds of night tour with Nonie’s Ark Animal EVEntures Sept. 25

nonieTime: 7:30 -9:00 pm

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Discover the sights and sounds of nature at night!  Nonie’s Ark Animal Encounters will guide evening Eco-Adventure’s for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance this summer on Wednesday’s. A minimum of five Eventurers are needed and a maximum of 25. We will meet at some of Walton County’s exceptional biodiverse habitats and explore for elusive creatures such as fox, owls, frogs and especially bats! All are invited but focus is on ages 4-10.  Bring a flashlight or headlamp to light your way & please come properly dressed for heat and ready to repel bugs.

The tours will lead out of various locations throughout Walton County; tours will meet at sites listed on flyers.

Space is limited to 25. Minimum of 5 required. Location(s): TBA

Fee: $15. Course # XRL 6223, date reference 9/25/2015 #11448, 10/23/2015 #11449, 11/27/2015 #11450

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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Guided kayak tour of Western Lake every Wednesday in Oct.

westernlakeTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, is offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County. This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake, one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3.

Location: Meet at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Guide will lead a caravan to Grayton Beach State Park to launch boats.

Fee: $45 per person (Bring Your Own Boat) Class reference # XRL 6213

Date references numbers: 10/7/2015 #11416, 10/14/2015 #11417, 10/21/2015 #11418, 10/28/2015 #11419

Fee: $60 per person for kayak supplied. Class reference #XRL6213A. Date reference numbers: 10/7/2015 #11430, 10/14/2015 #11431, 10/21/2015 #11432, 10/28/2015 #11433.

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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Guided tour of Grayton Beach wet prairies Oct. 7

firstdayhikesgrayton2Date/Time: Oct. 7, 2015 – 9 – 10:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their 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). Class # XCE 6211, Course Reference #11277.

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Explore The Outdoors Festival comes to Live Oak Landing Oct. 10

Walton Outdoors is excited to announce we will be hosting our sixth Explore The Outdoors Festival on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. along the beautiful Black Creek at Live Oak Landing, 229 Pitts Ave., Freeport. This fun-filled day is geared towards introducing children to the wonders of exploring nature and the outdoor experience.

Hands on activities will include fishing, kayaking, wildlife encounters, interactive educational exhibits, nature-based crafts and much more. The event is free. The water activities are geared for children six-years-old and up. Food vendors will be on hand.Exploretheoutdoors2012

Activities and exhibits include:

• Fishing on Black Creek
• Fish Florida fishing rod giveaways
• Fishing education with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
• Kayaking with Snaggy Bend Outfitters

• Emerald Coast Hydrobikes
• Archery with Freeport Parks and Recreation
• Boating with Wounded Warrior Fishing
• Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge wildlife exhibit
• Birding with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife exhibit
• Topsail Hill Preserve State Park exhibit
• Henderson Beach State Park exhibit
• Eden Gardens and Camp Helen State Park
• Northwest Florida Astronomy club
• Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance touch tank
• Smokey the Bear and his friends from Forestry
• Falling Waters State Park snake exhibit
• Washington County exhibit
• Tri-County Head Start fun
• Florida Public Archeology Network
• Emerald Coast Science Center
• Friends of South Walton Turtle Watch
• Nature based crafts
• Do it yourself wood crafts with Lowe’s
• Deitrich’s Honey Farm
• Washington County Tourist Development Council
• Food purchases available from Grayton Beach Catering

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For more information call (850) 267-2064.

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Historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve Oct. 14th or 28th

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

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, the 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. 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. Course # XCE 6201. Tour reference numbers: 10/14/2015 #11439, 10/28/2015 #11440, 11/11/2015 #11441, 11/25/2015 #11442.

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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Learn the basics of surf fishing Oct. 21

surffishingDate/Time: Oct. 21, 2015 – 10 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Park Ranger Hartsfield will demonstrate and instruct the basic skills needed for enjoying surf fishing. Learn how to catch bait, the proper technique when baiting your hook, and the different kinds of equipment and techniques used in surf fishing. Participants will also learn the dos and don’ts of surf fishing in the State of Florida.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Difficulty is low to moderate. Participants should bring their own rod/reel and tackle, sunscreen, hat, water, insect repellant, appropriate surf fishing/beach attire. Pets are not allowed at this event or on the beaches of Grayton Beach State Park. Pets cannot be left unattended at any time or in a vehicle. Event subject to cancellation due to bad weather, unforeseen situations, or hazardous surf conditions.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach

Participants will walk from the beach parking area, over the boardwalk, and across the sugar white sands of Grayton Beach to the shoreline.

Fee: $ 15 + $5 entry fee (paid at time of entrance). Class # XCE 6207, Course Reference #11276.

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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Guided tour of Choctawhatchee River and Morrison Springs Oct. 23

morrisonsmTime: 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Learn about unique places tucked away along the Choctawhatchee River. Learn about our precious water resources, flood plains, where the river flows, and why it is ever changing. Then we will drive to Morrison Springs. Lean about how many millions of gallons of water Morrison Springs emits every day, and where the water comes from.  We will also discuss the flora and fauna that inhabit the area. We will then take a dip in the cool, clear spring water.

Bring water, a snorkel, waterproof camera, sunscreen, towel, and your swimsuit. Pack a lunch if you wish, as there is a pavilion and restroom facility available at the park.  The event and swimming is dependent on river conditions.

Moderate exertion level. Travel time approximately 1.5 hours each way.

Space is limited to 7 participants. Minimum of 4 required.

Location: Meet at Northwest Florida State College South College, 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. A van will be used to transport individuals along the tour.

Fee: $35. Course # XCE 6221 tour reference #11269

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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Sights and sounds of night tour with Nonie’s Ark Animal EVEntures Oct. 23

nonieTime: 7:30 -9:00 pm

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Discover the sights and sounds of nature at night!  Nonie’s Ark Animal Encounters will guide evening Eco-Adventure’s for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance this summer on Wednesday’s. A minimum of five Eventurers are needed and a maximum of 25. We will meet at some of Walton County’s exceptional biodiverse habitats and explore for elusive creatures such as fox, owls, frogs and especially bats! All are invited but focus is on ages 4-10.  Bring a flashlight or headlamp to light your way & please come properly dressed for heat and ready to repel bugs.

The tours will lead out of various locations throughout Walton County; tours will meet at sites listed on flyers.

Space is limited to 25. Minimum of 5 required. Location(s): TBA

Fee: $15. Course # XRL 6223, date reference 10/23/2015 #11449, 11/27/2015 #11450

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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Guide kayak tour of Western Lake every Wednesday in Nov.

westernlakeTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, is offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore a coastal dune lake of South Walton County. This kayak tour will take you around Western Lake, one of the larger lakes of the coastal dune lake systems. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats that define these unique lake systems. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3.

Location: Meet at the South Walton campus of Northwest Florida State College 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Guide will lead a caravan to Grayton Beach State Park to launch boats.

Fee: $45 per person (Bring Your Own Boat) Class reference # XRL 6213. Date references numbers: 11/4/2015 #11420, 11/11/2015 #11421, 11/18/2015 #11422, 11/25/2015 #11423

Fee: $60 per person for kayak supplied. Class reference #XRL6213A. Date reference numbers: 11/4/2015 #11434, 11/11/2015 #11435, 11/18/2015 #11436, 11/25/2015 #11437.

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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Historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve Nov. 11th or 25th

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

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, the 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. 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. Course # XCE 6201. Tour reference numbers: 11/11/2015 #11441, 11/25/2015 #11442.

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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Sights and sounds of night tour with Nonie’s Ark Animal EVEntures Nov. 27

nonieTime: 7:30 -9:00 pm

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, are offering the fall season of their popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Discover the sights and sounds of nature at night!  Nonie’s Ark Animal Encounters will guide evening Eco-Adventure’s for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance this summer on Wednesday’s. A minimum of five Eventurers are needed and a maximum of 25. We will meet at some of Walton County’s exceptional biodiverse habitats and explore for elusive creatures such as fox, owls, frogs and especially bats! All are invited but focus is on ages 4-10.  Bring a flashlight or headlamp to light your way & please come properly dressed for heat and ready to repel bugs.

The tours will lead out of various locations throughout Walton County; tours will meet at sites listed on flyers.

Space is limited to 25. Minimum of 5 required. Location(s): TBA

Fee: $15. Course # XRL 6223, date reference 8/12/2015, call, 8/28/2015 #11279, 9/25/2015 #11448, 10/23/2015 #11449, 11/27/2015 #11450

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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