Nature

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Florida caterpillars with a sting

The four major stinging caterpillars occurring in Florida are the Puss Caterpillar, Saddleback Caterpillar, IO Moth Caterpillar and Hag Caterpillar.  Some less common ones also occur in the state.  These caterpillars do not possess stingers, but have spines (nettling hairs) that are connected to poison glands.  Some people experience severe reaction to the poison released by the spines and require medical attention.  Others experience only an itching or burning sensation. Stinging caterpillar’s feed on many pants, but they seldom are present...

The legend of Euchee Indian Chief Sam Story

Could it be an Euchee (Yuchi) Indian chief named Sam Story was the earliest known conservationist in Walton county? Our history books tell us so, however some traditions handed down may be simply legends, and solidified as truth when shared through generations. So with that said, here is one story, through a collection of information, about a man named Sam Story. Historic documentation shows many of the earliest white settlers in Walton County were Scottish families from North and South...

A guide to Florida snakes

Knowledge is power when sharing the outdoors with these interesting reptiles Florida has an abundance of wildlife, including a wide variety of reptiles. Snakes, and their cousins the alligators, crocodiles, turtles and lizards, play an interesting and vital role in Florida’s complex ecology. Many people have an uncontrollable fear of snakes. Perhaps because man is an animal who stands upright, he has developed a deep-rooted aversion to all crawling creatures. And, too, snakes long have been use in folklore to...

Walton area recreation closures, opens

As of March 19, 2020 many area recreation sites have been temporarily closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It is difficult to keep up with all the changes, however here are a few closed areas: WALTON COUNTY BCC CLOSES BEACHES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC; SHERIFF’S OFFICE CHARGED WITH ENFORCEMENT. Walton parks beyond the beach remain open March 19, 2020 WALTON COUNTY, Fla— A vote early Thursday morning has closed beaches to the general public in Walton County. At their...

Registration for Camp Longleaf is now open

Camp Longleaf is an extension of the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center in Freeport. This summer, Camp Longleaf is offering weeklong, overnight camp sessions for girls and a special two-night father and son retreat event. Head over to Camp Longleaf’s website to learn more information and/or to register online here. Camp Longleaf is also looking for female camp counselors. If you, or someone you know, are interested in working as a counselor this summer, submit your application on their employment page. For any questions, please...

Guided plant stroll at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Feb. 17

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Master Gardener Bill Kuenstler on the third Monday of the month for a guided plant stroll. The event will be held on Mon., Feb. 17 from 9 – 11 a.m. Take a stroll through the park and the campground to explore the plants visible and to see what is in bloom. Please wear weather appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be walking on uneven terrain. This program is free with regular...

Williford, Pitt and Sylvan Springs Recreation areas now open seven days a week

Note: This is an updated story from Sept. 16, 2019. The Northwest Florida Water Management District has returned Williford Spring and Pitt/Sylvan Spring recreation sites to normal operating hours (7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.). The boardwalk to the kayak/canoe launch at Williford have been repaired as well as the tube launch at Pitt/Sylvan Springs. The walking trails that connect Sylvan to Williford remain closed, but work is underway to clear those trails. Learn more about Williford...

Guided plant stroll at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 20

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Master Gardener Bill Kuenstler on the third Monday of the month for a guided plant stroll. The event will be held on Mon., Jan. 20 from 9 – 11 a.m. Take a stroll through the park and the campground to explore the plants visible and to see what is in bloom. Please wear weather appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be walking on uneven terrain. This program is free with regular...

Guided first day hike at Grayton Beach State Park Jan. 1

Enjoy a First Day hike with ranger Jacob at Grayton Beach State Park on Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. The hike will travel through the pristine sand dune trail and you will learn about our rare wildlife and plants that inhabit this unique area of the Gulf Coast. Also discover the history behind this changing winter wonderland. It will be a New Year, so please bring appropriate cold weather attire and trail footwear. Meet and the pavilion by the beach...

First Day hike at Camp Helen State Park Jan. 1

Ring in the new year on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2010 from 10 – 11 a.m. with a hike through Camp Helen State Park. America’s state parks are promoting First Day hikes in all 50 states as a way to promote healthy lifestyles and year-round recreation. Join Ranger Clayton Iron-Wolf through the diverse ecosystems of Camp Helen that wind through oak canopies, mesic flatwoods and rolling dune landscapes. This will be an easy to moderate hike, so it’s great for the...

Learn about insects at St. Andrews State Park Dec. 18

Enjoy a lecture on who’s eating who at St. Andrews State Park on Wed., Dec. 18 from 2 – 3 p.m. Learn about some of our native creepy crawly insects from volunteer Judith Scott. Find out the different bugs that may be biting you and the ones you could bite if you had to. Meet at the visitor center. The park is located at 4607 State Park Lane, Panama City, Florida 32408 ::MAP:: Tel: (850) 233-5140 Admission Fee: $8.00 per...