Nature lovers flock to Northwest Florida Birding and Wildlife Festival

March 20, 2011

A bald eagle with the Audubon Birds of Prey exhibition was one of the highlights of the Northwest Florida Birding and Wildlife Festival. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A day of exploring wildlife enjoyed by young and old

The St. Joe Company hosted a day of exploring wildlife Mar. 19, 2011 at RiverCamps on Crooked Creek in Panama City Beach.

Highlights of the annual Northwest Florida Birding and Wildlife Festival included excursions and wildlife exhibitions. One of the excursions was a journey into the Wetappo Creek Conservation area. This 1,600 acre-area contains the largest stand of old-growth long leaf pine timber in Gulf County. Participants enjoyed viewing endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, deer, turkey and a guided walk through the managed forest.

Other excursions included a tour of Camp Helen State Park, a photo excursion, a bat mist netting experience on Crooked Creek along with a pontoon and kayak tour. The nature and wildlife exhibits included an exhibition of birds of prey with Audubon, Florida’s native felines with Bearcreek Feline Center, a U..S. Fish and Wildlife exhibit and interactive fun with Bay County 4-H , Bay County Master Gardeners and Bay County Audubon Society. Children of all ages had the opportunity to assemble their own bluebird boxes, make pine cone bird feeders and paint nesting shorebird decoys.

A beautiful day to explore the outdoors was had by all. For more information about St. Joe and RiverCamps, go to