Upcoming Events

:: Ongoing ::

Farmer’s markets every Saturday and Sunday

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::

Rosemary Beach Barrett Square – Sunday and Thursday
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.

Gulf Place – Sunday and Thursday
Farmers market at Gulf Place every Sunday specializing in exceptional homemade products, crafts, and goodies from local vendors around Northwest FL.Gulf Place is located at the corner of Scenic Hwy. 30A and CR 393, Town Center Loop, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call 850-200-6805 or 850-879-7296.

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Upcoming canoe/kayak/stand up paddleboard paddles in Northwest Florida

The West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club and the Florida Panhandle Canoe & Kayak Connection offer a variety of paddles in the Northwest Florida Panhandle.

Guests are welcome on trips as long as they have the skills to safely navigate the waters being paddled.  Guests must sign a waiver form and have an Eglin Recreational Pass if the trip is on the Air Force Base.  Paddlers must supply their own boat.

Area stand up paddle board clubs:
Paddle Destin
Panama City Paddleboard Club

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Take a hike or a paddle with the Florida Trail Association

The Walton area has two Florida Trail Groups, Choctawhatchee and Panhandle Chapters. Click the links below for upcoming events:

Click here for Choctawhatchee Chapter

Click here for Panhandle Chapter

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Learn all about astronomy and take a peek at the stars every day and evening in April at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

starsEnjoy learning about the stars with astronomer Bill Nigg (weather permitting) every day in March at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Solar sun spotting

7:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Stargazing

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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Gulf Place hosting Sunday concert series

gulfplaceGulf Place on 30A are hosting a Sunday Concert Series, kicking off March 9, 2014. The series will be every Sunday in March and April, and between Memorial Day weekend through mid October. Each week will feature a different local or regional group, 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. Gulf Place would like to thank concert sponsor, Wyndham Vacation Rentals. The live entertainment acts for the spring portion of the concert series are as follows*:

April
4/27- Courtyard Saints

*All dates and acts are subject to change without notice.
For more information on the concert series, go to www.gulfplacefl.com or find Gulf Place on Facebook.

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Stinky’s annual shoreline pompano tournament April 1 – May 15

stinkyspopanotournamentStinkys’ Fish Camp/Bait Shack is hosting their annual shoreline Pompano Tournament April 1 – May 15, 2014. Captain’s Party is on April 1 at Stinky’s Fish Camp/Bait Shack, Santa Rosa Beach from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Participants are able to register anytime during tournament, however, all paperwork must be completed and entry fee paid 24 hours prior to 1st weigh-in. First opportunity for weigh-in is 8:00 am on Friday, April 2nd. Registration fee is $50 (non-refundable) per individual and may be paid by credit card, personal or business check or cash in US Dollars. Tournament prize monies are not yet available.

Participants may register at Stinky’s Bait Shack or online at http://www.stinkysfishcamp.com/tournaments/pompanotournament2014. Online registrants will receive a registration number. This number shall be submitted at each weigh-in.

Fishing License is required upon registration in Tournament.

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Getting to Know the Natives – Garden and trail tour at Northwest Florida State College South Walton April 21

 Time: 3 p.m.

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

Fee: $15.  Click here to register online or call 850-200-4160.  Ref# 090592

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some of these very special places. Click here to learn about various upcoming events.

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

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Take a guided canoe/kayak tour of Campbell Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 24

topsailcanoeskayaksTime: 1 p.m.

Campbell Lake is one of the most pristine coastal dune lakes in South Walton. This tour is an opportunity to experience it up-close. Participants will meet at Tram Stop One in the parking area behind the ranger station at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and ride down to the Campbell Lake recreation area. After a brief safety discussion, participants will launch canoes and kayaks and tour the lake by following the shoreline. Along the way, the park service specialist will talk about all the aspects that make these lakes so special and visit some of the most beautiful areas in the park. This is a “behind the scenes” tour of a coastal dune lake.

Be sure to bring your binoculars and a camera as well as water and a snack. Shoes are required as we may leave the water and explore on foot in a few places. All canoes, kayaks, paddles, and floatation devices will be provided. This trip will require several hours of paddling and a little bit of hiking. There is space for three younger-aged children to sit in the canoes, but all other participants must be able to paddle a canoe or kayak. Event subject to cancellation due to high winds or inclement weather.

Space is limited to 11 participants, plus an additional 3 non-paddling children, minimum of 4.

Location: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, 7525 W Scenic Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach Meet at Tram Stop One in the parking area behind the ranger station. ::MAP::

Fee: $30 + a $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Call to register 850-200-4160 and reference # 090581.

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places. Click here to learn about various upcoming events.

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Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance hosting Shelves to Shores learning project at Coastal Branch Library April 24

cbalogoThe Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and Walton County’s Coastal Branch Library will kick off their “From Shelves to Shores: Winter Reading Challenge” on January 23, with the start of a 5-month service-learning project for local children.

Once a month, CBA will host an activity for children at the Coastal Branch Library in South Walton. The activities will include growing Spartina alterniflora in salt marsh nurseries and learning about the Choctawhatchee Bay through hands-on experiences. In addition to the monthly activities, the library will also provide books and resources that children can read to enhance their understanding of the bay, their environment, and community service.

The project coincides with the library’s Winter Reading Challenge. Kids who visit the library will be encouraged to read books throughout the winter months. If a child reads 10 books between January and May, they will have the opportunity to design a marine animal to add to the oyster reef design that will be on display at the library.

The project is free and open to the public. Children are encouraged to come participate each month to learn something new about the Choctawhatchee Bay and the local environment. Monthly activities will occur at 2:00 and 3:30 on the following dates:
April 24 (Observation Tanks)
May 22 (Project Celebration)

For more information  contact Brittany Tate at (850) 217-5382 or tateb@nwfsc.edu.

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

luckymudTime: 6 – 8 p.m.
Enjoy music under the stars every Thursday evening at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The music starting with an open mic at 6 p.m. The event will be held in the amphitheater. Free admission into park with a suggested donation of $5. The donation 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.
April 24 - Lucky Mud
May 1 - Carly Bak

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 nature walk with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 25

bluebirds2Time: 3 – 4 p.m.

Come shake off the winter cobwebs and get outside for this nature hike on Fri., April 25. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Rangers will lead you through the various ecosystems that make this park unique. Spring is a wonderful time to be in our forest, migrating birds, flowers, and animals can all be readily found. Entry fee into the park is $6 per car; the hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area.

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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Marvel of Flight Festival takes off at DeFuniak Springs Airport April 26

marvelofflight1The City of DeFuniak Springs is hosting its fourth annual fly-in/aviation festival, “Marvel of Flight” on Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8 a.m.- 4: p.m. at the DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport on Hwy 90 West.

Come experience history at the DeFuniak Springs Airport as the legacy of the B-25 is celebrated. Get up close and personal with “Panchito,” one of only a dozen or so airworthy B-25′s in existence today. The Panchito has a wingspan of 67 feet 6.7 inches and length of 53 feet 5.75 inches, and will be on display.

In addition, the Red Dragons Eastern Block Warbirds will be also on display. Even a novice to airplanes, on can recognize that this is a tough rugged aircraft. The Yak 52 was originally used for aerobatic training off of unimproved airstrips and was first delivered to the Russian military in late 1978. The Chinese Nanchang CJ6 aircraft are not quite as aerobatic as the Yak, but are larger and faster. The first CJ6 was delivered to the Chinese military in the mid-1960s. Both aircraft served as excellent trainers for military pilots transitioning into jets or learning advanced aerobatic maneuvers. Red Dragon Pilots are Fast rated Pilots of The Red Star Pilots Association, a Federal Non Profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation and operation of such radial engine aircraft as the Nanchang CJ-6 and Yak 52.

The array of events include: aircraft judging, vintage bi-plane rides, helicopter rides in a Vietnam Era Huey and Cobra, free rides in the RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon, tandem sky diving, pilot seminars, live entertainment, an aviation themed interactive exhibit and display by NASA Kennedy Space Center, flight simulator, arts & crafts, free kids activities, door prizes, car show, model rockets, RC planes, great food, and more. This is an alcohol-free day of “hometown” fun for the entire family!

The admission fee is one food drive donation item to benefit the Matrix Community Outreach Center.

For more information, call the airport staff at (850) 892-2000.

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Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival in Niceville April 26

estuaryThe Seventh Annual Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival, a free family and community event for all ages, will be held Saturday, April 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, located at 4281 Highway 20 East in Niceville.

There is no park entrance fee for the festival which offers fun activities, hand-on displays and environmental awareness. The event is hosted by the Mattie M. Kelly Cultural & Environmental Institute at Northwest Florida State College, with support from the Friends of the Emerald Coast State Parks.

The Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival features activities for the whole family including fish printing on t-shirts, operating an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV), explore the deep ocean and learn about critters that glow-in-the-dark, learn how to paddle board or take a kayak tour in the bayou, view wildlife displays, learn about our local environment and more.

The event will also include displays by the Okaloosa County Health Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, Audubon Society, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and others.

All activities and entertainment are free of charge! No need to RSVP- just be prepared to have a great time!

Families are encouraged to pack a picnic lunch and come learn about the local waters of our estuary and the people living and working there. For more information on the festival, contact the Mattie M. Kelly Cultural & Environmental Institute at 850-729-6469.

For more information: http://www.mattiekellyinstitute.org/env-estuary-festival.cfm.

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Gulf Place yard sale April 26

gulfplaceyardsale2If you have extra belongings laying around your home or are interested in perusing others treasures be sure to mark your calendar for Gulf Place’s Yard Sale on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the colorful town center of Gulf Place is inviting the public to come and enjoy its Yard Sale. The public is welcome to sell any personal belongings whether it is a closet full of old clothes or a kitchen drawer that needs cleaning out – all items are welcome. If not participating as a vendor, simply stroll the tables for unique trinkets.

For $50 plus tax, vendors will receive an eight-foot table and two chairs. Any interested vendors should contact Tiffani Salinas at 850.502.9233 or via email at gulfplaceevents@outlook.com.

For more information about Gulf Place, please visit www.gulfplacefl.com

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Snake avoidance clinic for dogs at Hammock Bay April 27

snakeavoidanceThe Emerald Coast Vizsla Club is hosting a Snake Avoidance Clinic with Dr. Bud Calderwood, DVM at Hammock Bay on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

Dogs are trained to associate the smell, sound and site of a snake with a negative reinforcement. Dr. Calderwood fits the dog with an e-collar to provide negative re-enforcement. The strength of the correction is calibrated for each dog and is somewhat stiff, so expect your dog to react accordingly. Bear in mind, this training could be LIFE SAVING. The snakes used in this clinic have been rendered safe by removing their fangs and taping their mouths shut.

The clinic consists of a small course where various venomous snakes are arranged in several situations. The dog’s handler is instructed to lead the dog through the course on a leash. Dr. Calderwood’s expertise in canine and reptile behavior allows him to apply the right correction exactly at the right moment for each snake encounter. He has gained this insight through years of experience with many hundreds of dogs. The dog is then lead back through the course to gauge its reaction to subsequent snake encounters. This training is used to allow your dog to associate the sound and smell of a snake with danger and train them to avoid the situation. In our “neck of the woods” this is a very important training that may save your dog’s life.


Cost:  
$50 for first dog in family, $40 for any other dogs in that family, $35 to re-check a previously tested dog. Please make checks payable to ECVC. Click here to download registration form: ECVC Snake Avoidance Clinic Flyer 2014

Requirements:  This is a community service and ALL BREEDS of dogs are welcome. Dogs must be leash-trained, over 6 months old and weigh at least 20 pounds. If you have a dog that is less than 20 lbs., but over 6 months of age, you may be granted a waiver, but will need to call first for special instructions from Dr. Calderwood. Priority will be given to pre-paid entrants and to members of the ECVC. Day of event entries may be taken as space is available.

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Take a guided eco tour of Western Lake on a kayak or stand up paddle board April 28

greategretwesternlakeTime: 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

You will travel from where the water comes in to Western Lake to where the water goes out from Western Lake to the Gulf of Mexico.  Discussion topics will include history, coastal dune lake ecology, and local anecdotes, as well as efforts to preserve the lakes and how the lakes preserve us. Your guide will be Karl Renelt.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 4. Location: Meet at The Boathouse at WaterColor, 34 Goldenrod Circle, Santa Rosa Beach.

Fee: $65 for kayak, $70 for stand-up paddleboard. Click here to register online or call 850-200-4160, Ref# 090602 – KAYAK, Ref# 090603 – STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD. Have your credit card ready.

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some of these very special places. Click here to learn about various upcoming events.

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Learn to surf fish April 29 at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

surffishingTime: 8 a.m. – 12 Noon

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 8:00am Tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 8:00pm Tram arrives at the beach.

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 a canoe tour of Western Lake channel and outfall at Grayton Beach State Park April 30

greategretwesternlakeOn Wednesday, April 30 from 9 – 11 a.m. enjoy a canoe tour of Western Lake channel and outfall.  A Grayton Beach State Park specialist will lead you on an exciting trip on Western Lake discussing the importance and rarity of coastal dune lakes and what animal/birds call the lakes home.

Please sign-up at the ranger station prior to the day of the event. Event is open to the first 9 guests to sign-up at the ranger station. Participants that sign-up should meet at the boat ramp parking/canoe launch area. This tour will take 1-2 hours. Sunscreen and drinking water are suggested items to bring. Anyone wishing to bring their own kayak or canoe may do for this program.

Admission is $5.00 per vehicle.

Grayton Beach State Park is located at 357 Main Park Rd., Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. For more information, call: (850) 267-8300

::MAP::

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Take a guided historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve April 30

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in South Walton.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve in Santa Rosa Beach 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. No minimum. Fee: $20. Go to www.basinalliance.org and click on the EcoTours info box to find out more.  Call 850-200-4160 to register. For more information, call:  Sarah Schindele, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, 850-517-6843 or Brooke Saari UF/IFAS Extension & Florida Sea Grant 850-685-7359.

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon meeting features butterfly expert May 1

CAScolorlogoMonthly Meeting and Program: “Caught on Camera: Butterflies and Moths,” MaryAnn Friedman, Butterfly Enthusiast. MaryAnn will present an amazing photographic collection of butterflies and moths with an emphasis on the many varieties of Florida Lepidoptera. Conservation issues, identification pointers, and some outstanding nearby butterfly locations will also be discussed. The meeting will be held in Room 130 on the ground floor of the Student Services Center at the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. with socializing and light refreshments. The meeting is free and open to the interested public. For more information, call Walt Spence at 850-582-7064.

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Tack Room at Gulfside Trail Rides hosting benefit for Alaqua Animal Refuge May 1

gulfsidetackroomThe grand opening of “The Tack Room” at Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach will be hosting a musical benefit for Alaqua Animal Refuge on May 1, 2014.

The party will start at 6:30 p.m. with Reverie Lane playing the tunes. The band consists of Spencer Bartoletti, Danielle Bourjeaurd, and Presley Tucker (Tanya Tucker’s daughter). Enjoy music, a silent auction including Old Gringo boots, beer, wine, food by Stinky’s, and a good time.

The rain or shine event is family friendly and casual. You can bring a chair or sit on the hay while you enjoy a night of fun with family and friends. This concert event is FREE and open to the public. Donations will be accepted for drinks at the bar and food will be sold by the plate for adults and kids.

Gulfside Trail Rides is located at 613 CR393, Santa Rosa Beach.

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Learn about nature the first Saturday of every month at Hammock Bay

Discover bluebird eggs, rare flora and more along the trails at Hammock Bay. Lori Ceier/Walton OutdoorsTime: 9 a.m.

Every wonder what the name of that pretty flowering plant is? Is that climbing vine poisonous? What is the name of that beautiful bird? Those questions and more will be answered as you take a walk in nature at Hammock Bay with wildlife expert and ecologist Joe Wyatt. Suited for all ages, Wyatt gives walking nature tours the fist Saturday of each month at 9 a.m.

Meet at the Lake Club clubhouse. Hammock Bay is located on State Road 20, approximately 1.5 miles West of downtown Freeport. ::MAP::

For more information call (850) 496-1864.

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Biophilia in Bloom May 3

biophiliagardenIt’s all about gardening on May 3rd at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. enjoy a day of make and take arts and crafts, interactive garden activities, farm to table cooking demonstration with Roux 30A, floral arranging for all ages, beekeeping, butterfly walk, worm bin composting, and garden tips. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to build a rain barrel.

Admission is adults $8, children $5, 2 and under free.

www.eowilsoncenter.org
850-835-1842
4956 State Hwy 20 East
Freeport, Florida 32439

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Gospel music, street sale, and historic tours in DeFuniak Springs May 3

defuniakspringsGospel Music in the Lakeyard will take place downtown at the amphitheater in the Lakeyard in DeFuniak Springs on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The event will be held from 2 – 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Several groups and individuals will be providing inspirational music throughout the four hour event. Groups include Holy Commotion – the First United Methodist Praise Band, Mike Scharver, the Cornerstone Praise Band, One Heart, Ed Tanza, and the First Baptist Praise Band as well as others.

There will be food vendors available for your convenience. Sponsored by the DeFuniak Springs Special Events Committee, this family-friendly event is free and the community is encouraged to attend.

Also taking place on that day is Peddlers Alley beginning at 8 a.m. – Noon in the alleyways between Baldwin and Nelson Avenues. Sponsored by the DeFuniak Springs Visitors Bureau, Peddlers Alley includes a wide variety of crafts, custom items, hard-to-find specialties, homemade products, live plants, gently used items, musical instruments and much more. For details, contact 892-6066.

Between noon and 2 p.m., a Historic Walking Tour will be conducted with students from the local school system. Contact Susan Menser at 685-5417 for details.

All the events on Saturday, May 3, 2014, in downtown DeFuniak are free and open to the public. Come and join us for a full day of fun. For more information on the Gospel music event, call Lisa at 892-8500.

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Camp Helen history tour May 3

Time: 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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Friends of Camp Helen State Park hosting concert series May 3

lodgeThe Friends of Camp Helen State Park are hosting a concert series at the park. The concerts will be held in the lodge from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Sat., May 3 – Carly Bak
Singer/Songwriter Carly Bak says her passions “all stem from my childhood infatuation with nature, music, folklore and watching people. She weaves soulful harmonies, rhythmic Americana melodies with a blend of folk/blues/rock textures—drawing on influences such as Joni Mitchell, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Etta James, and the Eagles. everbnation.com/carlybak

Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

Park Fees are waived for this event, donations to Friends of Camp Helen encouraged.  For more information, call: 850–233–5059.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon hosting birding paddle May 10

CAScolorlogo
Birding paddle: Join photo paddler and birder, Walt Spence, for a bird paddle on Niceville area bayous. Walt will demonstrate birding and photography by canoe in places where he has guided hundreds of trips for some of the region’s best bird and nature photographers. Participants must register by calling Walt at 850-582-7064. Space is limited and is available on a “first-come-first-serve” basis. There are no charges or fees, and participants must furnish their own canoes or kayaks, as well as paddles, safety equipment, and personal supplies. Those wishing to bring cameras or binoculars are advised to bring water-proof storage, such as a dry bag or large zip-lock. Meeting time will be 7 a.m., location given at registration.

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Bay County Audubon hosting bird walk at Conservation Park May 10

Bird walkThe Bay County Audubon will be hosting a bird walk at Conservation Park in Panama City Beach on Sat., May 10. The walk will be from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. The walks are free and binoculars available.

Conservation Park is located at 100 Conservation Drive, Panama City Beach. The park has over 2900 acres to explore, 14 miles of trails and board walks. Click here to learn more about Conservation Park. For information call Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation Dept. (850) 233-5045.

Conservation Park can be accessed just north of Back Beach Road (U.S. Hwy. 98) off of State Road 79, or off of Back Beach turning on to Griffin Blvd. ::MAP::

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May Day Festival in DeFuniak Springs May 10

maydayfestThe Annual May Day Festival will be held on May 10, 2014 at the Wee Care Park, 552 Walton Road, DeFuniak Springs from 10 a .m. – 6 p.m.

Opening ceremonies will start at 10 a.m. The festival will include various food and craft vendors, a car show by The Chautauqua Cruisers, BBQ cook-off, various entertainment, face painting,  stiltwalker, Iron Man, bounce houses, baseball tournament, pony rides, reptiles, rock climb, zumba and New Heights Wrestling.

Also representing our festival this year will be a Miss May Day Queen competition. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a day filled with fun and fellowship. Free.

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Pickin’ on the Porch at Freeport City Hall Sunday May 11

pickinontheporchLocal musicians gather at the Freeport City Hall to play bluegrass, country and gospel music every second Sunday of the month (except holidays) from 2 p.m. – til. Bring your acoustic instruments for an afternoon of clean family fun. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.  A family-oriented non-alcohol event. Free.

For additional information call Latilda Hughes at (850) 835-2340 or via email at lhughes@freeportflorida.gov.

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Make salsa and learn canning method at DeFuniak Springs Extension Office May 13

salsaThe Walton County IFAS Extension office in DeFuniak Springs will be hosting a salsa party from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on Tues., May 13.

A short program will be given to cover the basics and then salsa will be preserved through the water bath methods. Everyone goes home with a jar and the knowledge of how to safely preserve food through the water bath method.

Call 850-892-8172 to register. Pre-registration is required. Payment is required to complete registration. Cost: $15.00/person (includes sample foods, materials, recipes).

UF/IFAS Extension Walton Co., 732 N. 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

For more information, contact Family & Consumer Sciences Agent Ricki McWilliams at (850) 892-8172.

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Seagrove Garden Club meets May 14

flowerSeagrove Garden Club member and flower shuttle participant, Sally Orlonsky will present, “Cooler Specials with Sally O.” The Club will also hold their annual plant and book exchange. The meeting will be held at Vue on 30A, 4801 W Co Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach.

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month, Sept through May at 10:00 a.m. The cost to members will be approximately $20.00 + 5.00 for guests, depending on the venue. Reservations are needed for all meetings. If you would like to attend a meeting or would like more information on membership, contact membership chair, Julie Bogenreif at 850-907-2052 mbogenrief@hotmail.com or for reservations: Diane Smith at 231-1417 diannie168@yahoo.com  Visit their website at www.seagrovegardenclub.com.

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Take a guided historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve May 14

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in South Walton.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve in Santa Rosa Beach 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. No minimum. Fee: $20. Call to register 850-200-4160. Have your credit card ready & reference number 090587. Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

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Nick’s Redfish Roundup tournament May 17

2014redfishlogoNick’s Seafood Restaurant will be hosting their Ninth Annual Redfish Roundup tournament on Sat., May 17, 2014.  Payout: $10,000.00 to the top five places. 1st-$5,000.00, 2nd-$2,000.00, 3rd-$1,500.00, 4th-$1,000.00, 5th -$500.00. Payout is based on a 50 team participation.

All contestants must be registered by 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16. Click here to download tournament rules > 2014redfishrules

To register, download form here >  2014redfishregistration

Call Trey Nick for more details at (850) 830-6161.

Entry Fee: $200.00 Per Two-Person Team

Notes to fisherman: Nicks Boat Ramp, at Basin Bayou, might be too shallow for some vessels to enter into the Choctawhatchee Bay and may need to seek other launching destinations

*All anglers and team winners will be subject to a Polygraph Examination prior to prize money being awarded.*

ALL CONTESTANTS MUST BE REGISTERED BY 7:00 PM CT FRIDAY May 16, 2014 (CST).

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Join the Bay County Audubon Society for a birding field trip to Torreya State Park May 17

torreyastateparkhikersTime/location: Saturday, May 17 – Torreya State Park near Bristol.
Birders and native plant lovers will enjoy this park with its rolling hills and large deciduous forest canopy. This park is known for its wide variety of plant life. Bring your camera, binoculars, hiking shoes, insect repellent, and a lunch to eat in the park. We will meet at the Panama City Mall by Starbuck’s at 7:00 and leave there at 7:15 sharp. Call Ron for more details: 763-7485.

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Take a guided tour of the wet prairies at Grayton Beach State Park May 17

wetprairieTime: 10 a.m.

Join the Park Ranger at Grayton Beach State Park 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 titi trees impact the hydrology and flora of these areas. The ranger will discuss the importance of the prescribed fire program at the 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, 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.

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

Participants will meet at the ranger station. Fee: $15 + park entry fee. Click here to register online or call 850-200-4160. Ref# 090605

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some of these very special places. Click here to learn about various upcoming events.

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

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Pleasant Ridge Arena hosts Neigh and Bray fun show May 17

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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Community arts and music festival at South Walton High School May 18

communityartsandmusicTime: 2 – 5 p.m.

Celebrate arts in education. Rosemary Beach Foundation (in collaboration with Florida State University College of Music and Walton County School District) presents Music in Pictures community festival. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Event schedule:
2 – 3:45 p.m. Express yourself! at the painting area – Create artwork while listening to the same music that inspired the students’ works
Artwork screening – Enjoy a slide show of paintings inspired by classical compositions, created by 300 K-12 students from 17 Walton County schools.
Experience instruments! – Florida State University graduate students will showcase the different instruments of the orchestra by giving short performances
Musical petting zoo – You are invited to try out several instruments, and experience the vibration and sound firsthand!
4 – 5 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Chamber music concert “Americana” featuring
Deborah Bish (Clarinet) Jihye Chang (Piano)
Gregory Sauer (Cello) Benjamin Sung (Violin)

Funded by Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Wells Fargo, St. Joe Community Foundation, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore, Robert and Daryl Davis, Bill and Winky Dowdle

Hosted by South Walton High School

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Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance hosting Shelves to Shores learning project at Coastal Branch Library May 22

cbalogoThe Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) and Walton County’s Coastal Branch Library will kick off their “From Shelves to Shores: Winter Reading Challenge” on January 23, with the start of a 5-month service-learning project for local children.

Once a month, CBA will host an activity for children at the Coastal Branch Library in South Walton. The activities will include growing Spartina alterniflora in salt marsh nurseries and learning about the Choctawhatchee Bay through hands-on experiences. In addition to the monthly activities, the library will also provide books and resources that children can read to enhance their understanding of the bay, their environment, and community service.

The project coincides with the library’s Winter Reading Challenge. Kids who visit the library will be encouraged to read books throughout the winter months. If a child reads 10 books between January and May, they will have the opportunity to design a marine animal to add to the oyster reef design that will be on display at the library.

The project is free and open to the public. Children are encouraged to come participate each month to learn something new about the Choctawhatchee Bay and the local environment. Monthly activities will occur at 2:00 and 3:30 on the following dates:
May 22 (Project Celebration)

For more information  contact Brittany Tate at (850) 217-5382 or tateb@nwfsc.edu.

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14th Annual Choctawhatchee Bay Old Nick’s Speckled Trout Shootout May 24 – June 1, 2014

nickstrouttourneyNew this year – Ladies Division!

Get ready for the 14th Annual Choctawhatchee Bay Old Nick’s Speckled Trout Shootout May 24-June 2, 2014. This great tournament has several divisions to enter!

Dowload Speckled Trout Rules and Registration

Adult and children’s divisions. Entry fee prior to tournament is $30. Entry fee during tournament is $35. No contestant may enter a fish in the same 24-hour period that their entry was paid. Entry fee must be paid at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant.

PRIZE MONEY:
100% PAYBACK ON LARGEST 5 FISH.
1st Place: 50% of entry fee
2nd Place: 20% of entry fee
3rd Place: 15% of entry fee
4th Place: 10% of entry fee
5th Place: 5% of entry fee

All fish must be caught in the Choctawhatchee Bay or estuaries thereof (Brooks Bridge to Peach Creek).

All fish must be a minimum of 15 inches in length. Only one fish over 20 inches  per day per person may be weighed in. Hook and line only, live or artificial bait. Cast nets or entanglement nets prohibited. Weigh ins are at Nick’s between 10 a.m and 1 p.m. and 5 – 8 p.m. daily. All fish must be fresh and properly iced. Any fish in poor condition will be disqualified. (All live fish weighed-in will be released). All fish brought to weigh-in are subject to judge’s discretion. Fish will be kept for inspection and any fish may be disqualified upon inspection. Participants must follow the rules and regulations of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

For more information, contact Trey Nick at 850-835-2222 or 850-830-6161 ::MAP::

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Take a guided historical tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve May 28

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhathcee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in South Walton.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve in Santa Rosa Beach 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. No minimum. Fee: $20. Call to register 850-200-4160. Have your credit card ready & reference number 090583. Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach

Event subject to cancellation. In the case of inclement weather, registrants will be notified by email or phone the afternoon/evening prior, and fees will be fully refunded.

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Gregg Allman performing at Gulf Place May 28

gallmanTickets on sale March 17

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman is bringing his distinctive Southern Rock & Blues sound to the Emerald Coast on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and a storied solo-performer will headline at the Gulf Place Amphitheater before an expected sell-out crowd of 4,500 fans – and lucky South Walton residents will be first in line for tickets.

Tickets will be available at select local retail stores along 30A including Central Square Records in Seaside and YOLO Board + Bike at Gulf Place on Monday, March 17 and will be available on-line for everyone on Wednesday, March 19 at http://www.gulfplacefl.com/.

Georgia-based Gregg Allman is listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 greatest
singers of all time, has had 7 solo chart-topping albums over a 40 plus year career, including his 2011 Grammy nominated album “Low Country Blues.”

For information about Gulf Place visit GulfPlaceFL.com. For information on Gregg Allman visit GreggAllman.com.

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YOLO Board Relay Series races kick off May 29

yoloraceThe 7th Annual YOLO Board Relay Series will kick off its season on May 29. The races will consist of relay-style competition between male and female teams of three in a recreational division. The fun-filled series includes racers of all skill levels and ages from junior to seniors vying for the coveted champion title, all the while rallying in friendly competition out on local waters.

This year’s event will include giveaways, refreshments, and kids activities, as well as a welcomed new division to the race program dedicated to Special Olympics Florida SUP athletes from Okaloosa and Walton Counties. A strengthened supporter of Special Olympics since 2012, YOLO Board’s mission is to make SUP accessible and easy for area athletes.

Scheduled races (weather permitting) are set for May 29, June 19, and July 17th at The Bay Restaurant at the southern end of the 331 bridge. Paddlers will compete on YOLO 12’ recreation boards provided for complimentary use to racers by YOLO Board during each event.

YOLO Board is currently seeking both community sponsors and race teams for this year’s series. For racers, the one-time race entry fee is $180 per three-person relay team ($60 per person). Complimentary 2014 signature event t-shirts will be provided for each participating team at the debut race on May 29th.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to sign up for a race team, please call 850.622.5760 or email tresha@yoloboard.com.

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Five day horse riding day camp offered at Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach

arnettsFive day horse riding day camps will be offered at Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides in Santa Rosa Beach in June and July. There will be four week long camps to choose from:

Week 1:  Monday, June 2, 2014 through Friday, June 6, 2014.
Week 2:  Monday, June 16, 2014 through Friday, June 20, 2014.
Week 3:  Monday, July 7, 2014  through Friday, July 11, 2014.
Week 4:  Monday, July 21, 2014 through Friday, July 25, 2014.

The rate for a 5 day camp is $300 per child.  A non-refundable $50 deposit will hold the space.  The camp is from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday.  Bring a sack lunch on Monday through Thursday.  On Friday, the last day of each camp, we provide a pizza party for the children.

Each camp will include lessons on: horse safety; horse riding; horse anatomy; horse grooming; horse saddling; Port Washington State Forest’s indigenous plants; and outdoor games.  This camp offers a great opportunity for your child to enjoy the outdoors and ride horses.  The camps are geared toward learning to ride and enjoy horses, not a specific discipline of riding.  If a young rider has a desire to concentrate on a particular discipline, lessons are offered the throughout the year.

Their is a limit of 10 children per camp.  Book early so that your child can be placed in the camp that best fits their riding level.   For more information, go to: https://sites.google.com/site/arnettgulfside/ or call 850-208-3114.

Three day camp offered for children ages 4 – 6

The camp is offered from Tuesday, June 10, 2014 through Thursday, June 12, 2014.  The camp will offer basic horse safety, anatomy, riding, grooming and outdoor games.  We ask that a sack lunch be sent with your child daily.  There will be a special treat on the last day of the camp (cupcake).  If your child has special dietary restrictions, let us know.  The hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  Book early, there is a limit of 10 children.

The rate for the 3 day Special Camp is $200.00 per child.  A non-refundable $50 deposit will hold the space.
Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides is located at 613 CR393, Santa Rosa Beach.

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Take a guided tour of the coastal dune lakes June 18

campbelllakesmTime: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Join Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, UF/IFAS Extension, and Florida Sea Grant for natural resource tours to 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.  These dynamic lake systems support an incredible biological community and are considered to be a biodiversity hotspot.

The tour of the coastal dune lakes will follow Scenic Highway 30A and will make several stops along the way, visiting three to five coastal dune lakes. You will explore the unique character of the different lakes as we discuss ecology, water quality, and human impacts. You will also 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 being outside in sunny and possibly windy conditions associated with coastal areas.  Bring a camera and /or binoculars if you like. Bring 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.

Cost: $45, lunch will be provided.  Space is limited to 30 participants. Minimum of 5.

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

Go to www.basinalliance.org and click on the EcoTours info box to find out more.  Call 850-200-4160 to register. For more information, call:  Sarah Schindele, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, 850-517-6843 or Brooke Saari UF/IFAS Extension & Florida Sea Grant 850-685-7359.

 

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