Upcoming Events

Choctawhatchee Audubon goes to Fort Morgan, AL. April 20

Bird Banding at Ft Morgan Alabama.  Observe a dedicated group of bird banders mist netting and banding Spring migrants along this beautiful barrier Island. Explore the fort and join Lenny Fenimore in a birding expedition of the grounds.  Meet under the sign at Uptown Station Shopping Center in Fort Walton Beach at 7:00 AM or the Butterfly House in Navarre at 7:30 AM.  Bring a sack lunch, water and a lawn chair.  For additional information contact Lenny at (850) 863-2039.  Please visit our website at choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and our Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon.

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Spring Festival and Eggstravaganza in Freeport April 20

Enjoy a day of family fun at Freeport Regional Sports Complex on April 20. Sponsored by the Freeport Town Planters Society, the event will feature pony rides, Hobo Express, fishbowl games, stuff your own animal, and the 15,000 Easter eggs that fall from the sky sponsored by Destin Worship. Town Planters Society will be hosting a silent auction to raise funds for Relay for Life.

Times are:
Special needs 10:30 a.m.
Toddlers 0-3 at 11 a.m.
Ages 4-7 at 12 Noon
Ages 8-11 at 1 a.m.

There will be 15,000 eggs this year and plans are for two helicopter drops for the 12 & 1 PM times. Stroll through the park and enjoy a fun filled day for the whole family.

Freeport Regional Sports Complex is located at 563 Hammock Trail East, Freeport

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Volunteer for beach clean up at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 20

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for a Beach Cleanup on April 20, 2019 from 9:15 – 11:30 a.m.  Help keep the beach safe for the threatened and endangered species that call the beach home by minimizing the impact of marine debris on the beach and in the Gulf.

To register as a beach cleanup volunteer please call 850-267-8330 and provide your name, email address, phone number and number of people coming.

Volunteer check in is at Tram Stop #3 (after the 9am tram arrives). Volunteers need to bring hat, sunscreen and water bottle and dress appropriately for the weather.  Gloves, trash bags and buckets will be provided.

Registered volunteers receive free admission during event.

For more information about the Beach Cleanup and the park, please call the Ranger Station at 850-267-8330.

Driving Directions

Located in Santa Rosa Beach, the park is located 1/4 south of U.S. Hwy 98 on western end of Scenic Hwy. 30A.  ::MAP:

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Learn about animal scat at Grayton Beach State Park April 24

Join Grayton Beach State Park ranger Aaron Allen on Wednesday, April 24 as he discusses and identifies the different sightings of wildlife scat (poop) you may see in the park and on the trails. What you think may be raccoon scat could be grey fox. The event begins at 10 a.m. Ask for more details at the ranger station.

Grayton Beach State Park is located in Walton County, South of U.S. 98 off of Scenic Road 30A. Take county road 283 south from U.S. 98, turn left at the stop sign on 30A (approximately 1/4 mile east of the intersection of C.R. 30A and C.R. 283 the main entrance is on the right). ::MAP::

Park Fees:
Admission Fee $5.00 per vehicle (2-8 people per vehicle) $4.00 single occupant vehicle
Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicles with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit – Admission Fee $2.00

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Blueberry preserve workshop in DeFuniak Springs April 25

Join the Walton Count Extension for a hands on blueberry preserves workshop on Thursday, April 25, 2019, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Learn how to make homemade preserves through safe water-bath canning methods with their Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Jill Breslawski.

Cost is $15 per person. To register, call 850-892-8172 or register online https://waltonblueberry2019.eventbrite.com. Limit 25 participants. Pre-registration is required by April 18th. Walk away with your very own jar of fresh, blueberry preserves just in time for your summer picnics.

The workshop will be held at the UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Office, 732 N. 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon goes to Veterans Park April 27

Bird walk at Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island. Join Malcolm Swan and other interested birders in a walk through this amazing heron rookery and also see spring migrants and raptors. Meet at the NE corner of the Emerald Coast Convention Center parking lot at 7:30 AM. For additional information contact Malcolm at (210) 343-9082. Please visit the website at choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and our Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon.

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Celebrate Earth Day at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 27

Celebrate the earth and Earth Day with the park and environmental organizations and agencies from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

There will be nature activities, games, animals, face painting and booths as well as music and fun. An exciting part of the event is the participation in the Trees4Earth campaign. With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day fast approaching in 2020, Trees for the Earth campaign was launched in 2016, with a goal to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide by 2020—one for every person projected to be on Earth. The park and event attendees will be planting trees on park property as part of this campaign.

Admission to the park is free for this event.

Driving Directions

Located in Santa Rosa Beach, the park is located 1/4 south of U.S. Hwy 98 on western end of Scenic Hwy. 30A.  ::MAP:

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Low impact pesticide lecture in Santa Rosa Beach May 1

The Walton County Master Gardeners would like to invite you to attend “Low Toxicity Pest Control to Minimze Impact on People and the Planet,” lecture on Wednesday, May 1st from 10:00 am – Noon at the UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Coastal Branch, 70 Logan Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459.

The workshop will feature Okaloosa County Commercial Horticulture Agent Sheila Dunning presenting on selecting effective, low toxicity pesticide options for your home landscape. Please call (850)-892-8172 to register and reserve your spot. Cost of the program is $5 (cash or check only) and will include presentation handouts, educational publications and light refreshments. 

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Old Nick’s Redfish Roundup May 4, 2019

SPECIES: Red Drum *Redfish* (Sciaenops ocellatus); 18” – 27” length.

ENTRY FEE: $300 per 2-Angler Team; Anglers must be registered & have entry fees paid by 7:00pm CST, May 3, 2019.

LATE ENTRIES: Contestants may enter the morning of the tournament between the hours of 7 & 8am. Entry fee $350.00

CLICK HERE FOR 14th Annual Old Nick’s Redfish Round Up ENTRY FORM

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Smile Mile and 5K benefit run in Santa Rosa Beach May 11

Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) is hosting their 3rd Annual Smile Mile and 5K race on Saturday, May 11, 2019. This year, the 5k course will take participants through the canopied roads of the beautiful WaterColor community in Santa Rosa Beach. The fun begins at 7:30 a.m.
This CVHN signature event is fun for all ages, stroller-friendly, and will help raise funds that will be used to improve the health and well-being of kids in Walton and Okaloosa Counties. With more than 20 percent of children in both counties living below the poverty level, CVHN is a safety net for children who would otherwise have nowhere to turn for medical, dental and vision care.

Medals will be given for the fastest runners based on age groups and 2 grand prizes will be awarded for the largest registered team along with the team that brings in the most money. Registration is now open at www.cvhnkids.org

The participation fee for the 5K is $30, and the Smile Mile is $15. Participants will receive a commemorative shirt and enjoy live music and food before the awards presentation. Fees will increase by $5 after April 1.

All proceeds from this event will support programs at Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which spends 94 cents of every dollar raised to help local children. CVHN has two main programs: the CVHN Dental Clinic located in Santa Rosa Beach and a Mobile Dental Clinic that visits elementary schools and local charities.

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Emerald Coast Open Lionfish tournament May 16-19

The northwest Florida area has been identified as having the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world. Lionfish pose a significant threat to our native wildlife and habitat with spearfishing the primary means of control. Lionfish tournaments are one way to increase harvest of these invaders and help keep populations down.

Located in Destin FL, and hosted by the Gulf Coast Lionfish Tournaments and the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Emerald Coast Open (ECO) is projected to be the largest lionfish tournament in history. The ECO, with large cash payouts, more gear and other prizes, and better competition, will attract professional and recreational divers, lionfish hunters and the general public.

You do not need to be on a team, or shoot hundreds of lionfish to win. Get rewarded for doing your part. The task is simple, remove lionfish and win cash and prizes. Weigh-ins dockside at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on Destin Harbor May 16-19.  Entry Fee is $75 per participant through April 1, 2019. After April 1, 2019, the entry fee is $100 per participant. You can learn more at the website http://emeraldcoastopen.com/, or follow the Tournament on Facebook.

The Emerald Coast Open will be held in conjunction with FWC’s Lionfish Removal & Awareness Day Festival (LRAD), May 18-19 at AJ’s and HarborWalk Village in Destin. The Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. Bring your friends and family for an amazing festival and learn about lionfish, taste lionfish, check out lionfish products! There will be many family-friendly activities including art, diving and marine conservation booths.  Learn how to safely fillet a lionfish and try a lionfish dish at a local restaurant.  Have fun listening to live music and watching the Tournament weigh-in and awards.  Learn why lionfish are such a big problem and what you can do to help! Follow the Festival on Facebook.

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Night kayak course and primitive camping on Lake DeFuniak May 17

In conjunction with the annual LakeFest event in DeFuniak Springs, the American Kayaking Association (AKA) will be offering a three-hour nighttime course on Lake DeFuniak. The event will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 7 – 10 p.m.

Learn from certified trainers on what to do in nighttime waters, proper equipment to have with you, and safety tips regarding paddling and overnight camping. Bring your own kayak/canoe/paddle board, life jacket, whistle and paddles or request equipment. Boats and equipment limited. Must RSVP at www.defuniakspringslakefest.com.

This free course is part of LakeFest 2019, a 3-day festival in the water and on the banks of beautiful Lake DeFuniak in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Free primitive camping on festival grounds for all who sign up for a course. Questions? Call (850) 951-3057.

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Movies and more at Camp Helen State Park June 5

The sixth annual Movies & More series at Camp Helen State Park begins on Wednesday, June 5. The summer fun series will continue on Wednesdays, June 19, July 10 and 24.

The fun begin at 6:00 p.m. in the park’s Recreation Hall with a brief interpretive program led by a Camp Helen Park Ranger or other expert.

The program will be followed by an old-fashioned campfire cookout of hot dogs and s’mores provided by the Friends of Camp Helen. Each evening will conclude with a family-oriented movie in the Recreation Hall, where seating will be provided.  A parent or guardian must accompany all children.

On Wednesday, June 5:  Open Season Scared Silly (Rated PG) – Boog, Elliot, and the rest of their pals team up to track down an elusive werewolf and prevent their forest from being intruded upon by Hunter Shaw. Seacrest Wolf Preserve will be presenting the interpretive program about building respect for wolves in the natural world.

These special movie nights are sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park.  Admission into the park for this event is free, although donations are accepted.  Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs.

Driving Directions
Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

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Movies and more at Camp Helen State Park June 19

The sixth annual Movies & More series at Camp Helen State Park will be offering family fun on Wednesdays, June 19, July 10 and 24.

The fun begin at 6:00 p.m. in the park’s Recreation Hall with a brief interpretive program led by a Camp Helen Park Ranger or other expert.  The program will be followed by an old-fashioned campfire cookout of hot dogs and s’mores provided by the Friends of Camp Helen.  Each evening will conclude with a family-oriented movie in the Recreation Hall, where seating will be provided.  A parent or guardian must accompany all children.

On Wednesday, June 19:  Dolphin Tale, (Rated PG) – A young dolphin, loses her tail in a crab trap and Sawyer, a young boy, befriends her at a Marine Aquarium.  Sawyer rallies friends and family to save Winter by having a doctor build a unique prosthetic attachment to restore Winter’s ability to swim. Gulf World Marine Institute will be presenting the interpretive program about how they care for animals rescued from the wild.

These special movie nights are sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park.  Admission into the park for this event is free, although donations are accepted.  Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs.

Driving Directions Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

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Movies and more at Camp Helen State Park July 10

The sixth annual Movies & More series at Camp Helen State Park will be offering family fun on Wednesdays, July 10 and 24.

The fun begin at 6:00 p.m. in the park’s Recreation Hall with a brief interpretive program led by a Camp Helen Park Ranger or other expert.  The program will be followed by an old-fashioned campfire cookout of hot dogs and s’mores provided by the Friends of Camp Helen.  Each evening will conclude with a family-oriented movie in the Recreation Hall, where seating will be provided.  A parent or guardian must accompany all children.

On Wednesday, July 10:  Moana (Rated PG) – A teenager, leaves her safe island on a journey to save her people. She convinces the mighty demi god Maui to join her mission. Together, they voyage across the ocean on an action-packed adventure. The marine touch tank interpretive program will be about sea life in the area by the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.

These special movie nights are sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park.  Admission into the park for this event is free, although donations are accepted.  Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs.

Driving Directions Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

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