Enjoy the Back to Nature Festival October 16-18 in South Walton County

October 7, 2009

B2NFestivalRackCard2009GreenProofNature festival a weekend of outdoor fun

Join the South Walton Community Council for a fun weekend of nature activities.

Sponsored by the SWCC, the Back to Nature Festival offers visitors and locals a chance to explore the natural beauty of Walton County beyond our magnificent beaches.

Kayak the dune lakes, take a river safari, go on an ecology walk, or bring the family to Seaside for a day of family fun.

Most events are about two hours long and cost $10 unless otherwise noted. Events will be closed after maximum participant limits are reached so register early! To register,  Click here

Friday, Oct. 16

Welcome Night – 7 p.m. – Come to our free welcome night at Bud and Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside! Enjoy food and cash bar, event registration, meet event leaders and fellow participants. Enjoy live music by local musician Jim Ward. FREE. ::MAP::

Saturday, Oct. 17

birds6:30 a.m. – Sunshine meditation with Jimmi wZ – Come Join James Wisniewski on an informal self guided inner journey to bring us Back to Nature. The  Morning Sunrise Ritual is a culmination of James’s life time study of different meditation practices from around the world, simplified to 45 minutes that include gentle yogic stretch, breath, meditation, and a swim. All drawn to the intent of bringing the mind to stillness and revealing a devout appreciation for nature in all its wonder. James will begin at 6 30 am (just before sunrise) on the beach in front of the obelisk next to Bud and Alley’s in Seaside. Wear warm loose clothing with a swim suit underneath (the swim is optional yet most important and delightful) bring a towel and a blanket if you want to avoid the sand. FREE ::MAP::

7:00 a.m. – Deer Lake Shorebird & Beach Walk

Deer Lake State Park is one of the rare gems of the Emerald Coast, with its undisturbed dunes and swaying sea oats, and the shorebirds running along the sugar white sandy beaches.  Come join the park staff and volunteers as they walk along the park’s quarter-mile boardwalk for a panoramic view of the beach dune ecosystem.

The walk will then head west along the beach to the shorebird nesting area to observe endangered snowy plovers and other shorebirds foraging along the way.  The walk will end at the natural outfall from Deer Lake, a rare coastal dune lake found only in South Walton County and a few other places in the world. ::MAP::

bunker2a9:00 a.m. – Choctawhatchee River Safari

Explore the waterways of Choctawhatchee River and Bay aboard the Riverwatch, captained by Kent Mundy of Wetland Wilderness Adventures. Expect to see alligators, turtles, birds of prey and other fascinating wildlife. Meet at Pt. Washington boat ramp on Tucker Bayou at north end of Highway 395. Maximum 6 participants per tour. Fixed price $30. ::MAP::

9:00 a.m. – A Longleaf Hike through Point Washington State Forest

A Longleaf Hike through Point Washington State Forest – We will take a fun and enjoyable hike through an old growth longleaf stand and learn the different plant communities of the Point Washington State Forest. We will identify trees along the trail and learn the role of fire in Point Washington State Forest. The hike is led by Forester Joe Vanderwerff. Meet at Longleaf Trail along Blue Mountain beach.  On east side of Highway 83 about 1 1/2 mile north of 30-A. Parking is located along road shoulder. ::MAP::

egret29:00 a.m. – Tracking the Wild Critters

Tracking the Wild Critters – Ever wondered what animal made those tracks in the sand? Or what animals eat, and how they find each other? Take a guided hike through Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and learn how to find animals in the wild and to identify tracks made by raccoons, mice, alligators, and other animals. Event leader Mike Townsend is an expert trapper who works with local parks to protect endangered species of wildlife. Enter the park through the Highway 98 entrance and follow the road to the beach parking area. Limit 20 people. ::MAP::

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm – Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day at the Seaside Amphitheater boats locally grown food, local artisans and demonstrations. Music provided by Music 30A Radio, Coconut Radio and Kari Dokken – FREE

Raw & Juicy – Fruit & vegetable juices, raw foods
John Kratt – Heirloom plants
Baby Doll – Homemade beef jerky & watermelon candy
Soap Peddler – Handcrafted soaps & lotions
Twin Oaks Farm – organic eggs & fresh preserves
Pie in the Sky – Gluten free baked goods
Clear Creek Farms – Local honey & apiary display
Artesano Jewels – Jewelry handcrafted from natural materials
Emily Gibson – Handcrafted hemp jewelry
Moonlight Micro-Farm – Sprouts, seeds, and foraging foods
Artisan – Fresh herbs, wreaths, sauerkraut & solar cooking
Amavida Coffee – Fair trade coffee and T-shirts
Shannon Faulk and James Vonderheide – chair & pet massage, and Thai foot reflexology
Surf Rider Foundation

Demonstrations

Tim Dutrow – Biodiesel display
Arix Zalace – Vermiculture display
Alice McCall – Natural healing
IFAS – Master Gardeners display
CBA – touch tank and information
USGBC & Stalwart homes – Green building

Activities

Recycled Art Co. – Kids crafts from recycled materials
Abrakadoodle – kids art lessons
Mary Derricotte – face painting
Roots, Rocks, & Rainbows – Kids Permaculture booth
Donald Reeder – potato sack races
Roots, Rocks, & Rainbows – Kids play
Susanne Maronne – puppet show

Chandra Hartman – hoola hooping
Jimmi wZ – flutes and musical ventures
::MAP::

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Surf School for Kids
Surf School is a beachside educational program for children ages 6 – 12 which provides surfing instruction and also water safety, ecology, science, art and craftsmanship.
The Surf School program is open to boys and girls who are good swimmers and love the beach. Designed to be way more than just a surfing lesson, your child will learn how waves are formed, what turtles eat, how to spot a rip-current and more….all while having a blast at the beach ! This class meets at the parking lot to public beach access located between Seaside and Watercolor on the North side of 30A (blue bath house).  LIMITED TO 12 students

12 noon – Choctawhatchee River Safari

Explore the waterways of Choctawhatchee River and Bay aboard the Riverwatch, captained by Kent Mundy of Wetland Wilderness Adventures. Expect to see alligators, turtles, birds of prey and other fascinating wildlife. Meet at Pt. Washington boat ramp on Tucker Bayou at north end of Highway 395. Maximum 6 participants per tour. Fixed price $30. ::MAP::

butterfly21:00 p.m. – Fall wildflowers and Forest Ecology

Fall Wildflowers and Forest Ecology: A Hike Through Pt. Washington State Forest Take a fun and informative hike through the varied natural habitats of the Pt. Washington State Forest. Identify the fall-blooming wildflowers that grow amid the native plant communities of sandhills and flatwoods, and learn firsthand the vital role of fire in keeping these habitats healthy. The hike is led by naturalist Christian Wagley, horticulturist Snookie Parrish and butterfly enthusiast Donna Kay. Meet at Eastern Lake Trail parking area, on east side of Highway 395 about ½ mile north of Publix supermarket. Limit 20 participants. ::MAP:

3:30 p.m. – Shoreline at Oyster Lake: Back to Nature – The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) continues its Exotic Invasive Project on the coastal dune lakes. Exotic and invasive plants around Oyster Lake have recently been treated. Now we need your help to get the native community re-established so the exotics are held back. Participants will learn about the multi-stage Exotic Invasive Project that CBA is coordinating in Walton County and will plant various types of native vegetation, such as sawgrass, cordgrass, duck potato, and blue-flag iris. Meet along the sides of the road at Dune Breeze Villas. Limited to 20 people. CBA will provide water. In the interest of conservation, please bring your own bottles/canteens/cups, etc.  ::MAP::

4:00 p.m. –  Labyrinth in the Sand

Labyrinth in the Sand – The labyrinth is a guided, reflective walk using a labyrinth on the sands of Grayton Beach State Park. The labyrinth represents an orderly path that can quiet the mind, offer insights, and provide a sense of wholeness and well-being. Come with an open mind and heart. Led by Anne Hornstein of Destin, a facilitator of adventures using movement, music, art, writing and drama to assist participants in exploring their creative spirits and improving their brain power.  Meet at beach behind beachside pavilion in Grayton Beach State Park. ::MAP::

6:00 p.m. – Camp Fire at Grayton Beach State Park

Camp Fire Party – Join us beachside in Grayton Beach State Park and prepare hot dogs, marshmallows, and other snacks over the campfire. Eats plus beverages will be provided.  Meet at beachside pavilion inside park. ::MAP::

Sunday, October 18

6:30 a.m. – Sunshine meditation with Jimmi wZ – Come Join James Wisniewski on an informal self guided inner journey to bring us Back to Nature. The  Morning Sunrise Ritual is a culmination of James’s life time study of different meditation practices from around the world, simplified to 45 minutes that include gentle yogic stretch, breath, meditation, and a swim. All drawn to the intent of bringing the mind to stillness and revealing a devout appreciation for nature in all its wonder. James will begin at 6 30 am (just before sunrise) on the beach in front of the obelisk next to Bud and Alley’s in Seaside. Wear warm loose clothing with a swim suit underneath (the swim is optional yet most important and delightful) bring a towel and a blanket if you want to avoid the sand. FREE ::MAP::

lesliedana10:00 a.m.    Yolo Boarding – YOLO (You Only Live Once) paddle tour: Take a leisurely paddle around Western Lake and into the lake outfall as you learn the basics of the fastest-growing new watersport–Stand-up Paddling. This is an easy trip suitable for beginning stand-up paddlers. Led by members of YOLO Board, a locally owned stand-up paddle company, you will have an opportunity to tour Western Lake and see it from a whole new perspective–standing up!  If you want to rent a YOLO Board, please call (850) 622-5760 in advance to secure a rental. Meet at the boat ramp inside Grayton Beach State Park. Maximum 12 participants. ::MAP::

11:00 a.m.    Western Lake Kayaking

Take a leisurely paddle around Western Lake and into the lake outfall as you westernlakepaddlelearn about the unique features of coastal dune lakes. This is an easy trip suitable for beginning kayakers. Led by Brooke Saari of the Uf/IFAS Sea Grant. You must furnish your own kayak. If you want to rent a kayak, please call Big Daddy’s at (850) 622-1165 in advance to secure a rental. Meet at the boat ramp inside Grayton Beach State Park. Maximum 20 participants. ::MAP::



coffeenentrance11:00 a.m. and  2:00 p.m. – Coffeen Nature Preserve Hike and Tour

At Four-Mile Village near Sandestin is the Coffeen Nature Preserve, noted for its beautiful forest and lake and for the Sand Pine Military Trail, where one can view remnants of the military presence dating back to 1944 when the US tested captured German V-1 rockets here. Participants will enjoy the special treat of visiting areas of the preserve normally not open for visitation. Led by Susan and Bruce Paladini, caretakers of the preserve. Enter Four Mile Village on south side of Hwy. 98, just east of Sandestin and follow signs to parking area. Maximum 20 participants. ::MAP::

2:00 p.m. – Historic Point Washington Walking Tour

Historic Point Washington will be on view during its semi-annual walking tour. On Sunday afternoon, October 18 starting at 2:00 pm, the members of the Historic Association will lead small groups on a walk-about to historic sites, homes, and local cemeteries.  Meeting first at the Point Washington United Methodist Church on Highway 395, groups of ten persons will form and be provided with a guide to visit locations of historical interest.  There is no charge for this event. Lasting for about two hours, docents and historical interpreters will share tales of the lumber mills, ferryboats, churches, schools, and Indian settlements. Parking will be available at the church site. Refreshments and limited handicapped assistance will be offered.  Please join in this opportunity to visit one of Walton County’s most picturesque settlements. You can telephone 231-4633 if you have special needs or questions.

4:30 p.m. – Hogtown Bayou Sunset Paddle

Wrap-up the weekend with a wonderful paddle into twilight! Begin paddling at dusk and wind your way along Hogtown Bayou as night falls. Enjoy the dark night sky, views of marsh and open bayou, and wildlife. Learn about some of the natural features of the bayou, including seagrasses, birds, and an endangered fish species that calls the bayou home. You must furnish your own kayak. If you want to rent a kayak, please call The Kayak Experience at (850) 837-1577 or Big Daddy’s in advance to secure a rental kayak. Meet at Charles Cessna Landing on Highway 393 north. Maximum 15 people; beginner to moderate skill levels required. ::MAP::

5:45 p.m. – Gator Watch at Topsail State Park

Explore the world of the Florida alligator at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. A park ranger will guide you to the banks of a lake where you can see a large gator lair and learn more about these ancient creatures. The tour starts at 5:45 at the day entrance parking area on CR 30A.  From the day entrance you’ll catch the trolley to the trailhead. From there, you will make a short hike to the lake. Afterwards, you will walk back to the day entrance parking lot so there is some hiking involved. You will also be walking in the dark so it’s a great opportunity to see some of the night inhabitants of the park. Please wear closed toe shoes as some of the hiking is through the woods. Bring binoculars, insect repellant and a flashlight. The tour will last approximately an hour and a half and is limited to 12 participants. ::MAP::

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