Nature

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Celebrate National Estuaries Day at Apalachicola Nature Center Oct. 1

Celebrate National Estuaries Day on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at the Apalachicola Nature Center from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. ET. Activities include living shoreline exploration, touch tanks, prescribed fire activities, turtle hurdle boardgame, salt marsh bingo, button making, waterfront race, cast net game and more. Free snakes will be available. The first 600 guests receive a free t-shirt. The Apalachicola Nature Center is part of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. For more information contact the Reserve at (850) 670-7700....

Swift night out at Wakulla Springs State Park Sept. 11

During Swift Night Out, people all over the country gather at chimneys to watch and count chimney swifts as they enter their roost. On Sat., Sept. 11, 2021 join the park ranger at Wakulla Springs State Park for an evening enjoying the chimney swifts from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. The Lodge at Wakulla Springs has a large flock that roosts in one of its inactive chimneys. Come witness the “flying cigar” shaped birds perform their swirling aerial dance prior to their descent...

Ranger led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park Sept. 2

Enjoy a ranger-led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park on Thursday, Sept. 2 from 10 – 11 a.m. Join in for a ranger-guided nature hike. Camp Helen boasts nine distinct natural communities throughout the park with varied flora and fauna. Learn about our rare coastal dune lake, Lake Powell, as well as the park wildlife. Hike is suitable for all ages. Dress for the weather; water and bug spray are recommended. Park Fees There is an honor entrance station. The fee is...

Guided kayak tour at Rocky Bayou State Park Aug. 20

The Friends of Emerald Coast State Parks are hosting an interpretive kayak tour at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park on Fri., Aug. 20 from 9 – 11 a.m. Meet the local wildlife and enjoy the scenic views of the bayou on an interpretive guided tour with Park Ranger Bruce and friends. Kayaks, life vests and paddles will be provided for a fee of $25 per person. Bring your own kayak and join in on the fun for only $5....

Ranger led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park Aug. 5

Enjoy a ranger-led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park on Thursday, Aug. 5 from 10 – 11 a.m. Join in for a ranger-guided nature hike. Camp Helen boasts nine distinct natural communities throughout the park with varied flora and fauna. Learn about our rare coastal dune lake, Lake Powell, as well as the park wildlife. Hike is suitable for all ages. Dress for the weather; water and bug spray are recommended. Park Fees There is an honor entrance station. The fee is...

History tour at Camp Helen State Park June 5

Enjoy a history tour of Camp Helen State Park from 10 – 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month. Join park staff and volunteers on a walk through the rich history of our park. Learn about the early indigenous people who occupied this land all the way through to the 1920s when the park was developed as a private residence for the Hicks family and later turned into a summer retreat for Avondale Textile mill employees and their families....

TDC moves forward with nature center at Kellogg Park

At the April 27, 2021 Walton County Board of County Commissioner’s (BCC) meeting, a request from Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to move forward with a nature center at Kellogg Park was set in motion. The BCC approved the task order to start the design and permit effort for a community/nature center on the Kellogg Park property. “It will be a small (800-1,200 square feet) building on an existing building pad that will be used as a nature center...

South Walton sea turtle nesting season May 1 – October 31

 Sea turtles are among the oldest creatures on earth, and have remained essentially unchanged for 110 million years. However, they face an uncertain future. Illegal harvesting, habitat encroachment, and pollution (physical and light) are only some of the issues sea turtles face as the beautiful creatures struggle to survive. Each year from May – October, there are four species of Florida sea turtles that nest along the beach in South Walton County – Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback and Kemps Ridley. Each...

Gulf coast lupine blooms along South Walton area beaches

Beautiful blue shrub a welcome sight In the springtime, sand dunes along the beaches in South Walton are dolloped with beautiful blue lupine. The gulf coast lupine (Lupinus westianus) is a native plant and endemic to Northwest Florida. Lupine habitats are sand hills, scrubs and coastal dunes. This particluar perennial shrub is only found in a few counties with Walton fortunate enough to be one of them. The beautiful blue flowers provide a delicate lavender-like scent. Early settlers to the...

Explore Blue Spring recreation area along Econfina Creek

Located approximately 1.5 miles north of State Road 20 and accessed off Blue Springs Road North in Youngstown, the Blue Spring recreation area on Econfina Creek has several new features. Recently restructured after a devastating Hurricane Michael, the recreation area now consists of an ADA-compliant ramp and stair access to the spring, an overlook deck of the spring vent, and a pedestrian bridge overlooking a separate karst feature. Visitors can also enjoy picnic pavilions, a pedestal grill, fire ring, and...