Explore The Outdoors Festival a huge success

October 12, 2010

Dylan Sturdivant catches his first fish ever! Photo courtesy Mike Sturdivant

Hundreds attended the outdoor experience at Camp Timpoochee

Walton Outdoors and Walton County 4-H hosted the Explore The Outdoors Festival at Camp Timpochee on Oct. 9 with great success. More than 400 children and their families attended the festival focusing on the outdoor experience.

The day was enjoyed by the young and old as attendees enjoyed outdoor sports such as fishing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and archery.

Hands-on exhibitions geared towards education were also highlights of the outdoor event.

Karl Renelt of Into The Wild Eco Diversions provided children and adults with basic kayak instruction. Kids of all ages were quickly paddling around the Choctawhatchee Bay. To learn more about Into The Wild Eco Diversions, go to http://www.itwecodiversions.com

Jeff Archer of YOLO Board provided instruction on stand up paddle boarding. In no time everyone was YOLOing away like pros across the water. YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. To learn more about YOLO, go to: http://www.yoloboard.com/

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was on hand along with Bass Pro fishing pro Tony Bigot on the water’s edge teaching fishing ethics and casting. In no time, kids were reeling in pinfish, catfish and blue crab. Sixty children received free rod/reel combos and tackle boxes thanks to the generous Fish Florida program. If you purchase a vehicle specialty tag that says FISH FLORIDA on it, you will be contributing state-wide on educating children on the great sport of fishing in Florida. To learn more, go to: http://www.fishfloridatag.org/

Camp Timpoochee staff educated young and old on the ancient sport of archery. Children as young as five learned how to hit the target.  To learn more about Walton County 4-H programs, go to: http://walton.ifas.ufl.edu/4H/clubs.shtml

Joshua Cofer, age 2 experiences a tortoise first hand at Nonie's Ark exhibit. Photo courtesy Joan Vienot

Joe Wyatt was on hand with a dome of monarch butterflies. Joe is involved in a nationwide project that tags migrating monarchs. Children were able to tag the butterfly and release it so the monarch can continue its journey to Mexico.

Nonie’s Ark provided children with hands on education on hedgehogs, spiders, turtles and snakes. To learn more about Nonie, go to: http://www.noniesark.com/

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park hosted a display about the park along with sea turtle education with children able to touch real loggerhead turtle eggs that already hatched.

Choctawhatche Basin Alliance provided a touch tank with sea life and education on our natural resources. To learn more, go to: http://www.basinalliance.org/

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge was on hand to educate attendees on their mission of rescue and rehabilitating wildlife. They had a barred owl, hedgehog and flying squirrel on hand. To learn more about Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, go to: http://www.ecwildliferefuge.com/

Florida Dept. of Agriculture Division of Forestry was at the event with an educational display on what foresters do to keep our state forests healthy. Smokey The Bear was on hand to greet the children.

Walton Outdoors would like to thank our generous sponsors and volunteers. Without your help, this wonderful day of exploring the outdoors would not of been possible:

For The Health of It
331 Pool and Beach Supply
Edward Jones
Kindness Pet Hospital
Copy Systems Business Center
Copeland’s Gun Shop
The DeFuniak Herald
The Walton Sun
Johnny Savage, B.A., D.D.S
Fish Florida
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Into The Wild Eco Diversions
Yolo Board L.L.C.
Joe Wyatt
Tony Bigot
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge
Nonie’s Ark
Okaloosa County Recycling
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance
County Foresters
AmeriCorps volunteers
4-H volunteers
Kerrie Thompson
Sherry McCall
Gwen Break
Marilyn MacCullom

1 Comment
    1. Wow,
      I am so excited for your success in getting children outdoors…sure wish I could have been there…my training on rules and regulations was not near as fun…thank you for your continued emails…you are a grand representative for Walton Outdoors.

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