Upcoming Events

Join Bay County Audubon for birding opportunities this fall

Join Bay County Audubon for birding field trips outdoor activities. These live experiences are offered with attention to National Audubon and local guidelines to minimize exposure to COVID-19.  During field trips, they ask that attendees wear masks while in close contact but masks may be removed while participants are 6 feet away from each other during the walk. They will not allow sharing of optics, so please bring you own binoculars, spotting scopes, water, and snacks. Don’t have binoculars?  Many of our identifications are made on sounds and behavior. They will teach you how.

All trips are subject to changing weather conditions. Call Ron Houser for up-to-date information at  850-774-9733. Information may also be found on our website www.baycountyaudubon.org/index and Facebook page. 

Saturday, September 11- Panama City Beach Conservation Park – Bird Walk 7:30 a.m.
Saturday, September 18- Lake Powell Cleanup – Lake Powell Boat Ramp or Camp Helen 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, September 25 – Camp Helen Monthly Bird Survey 6:00 a.m.
Saturday, September 25 – Bird walk and program on native plants by Dara Dobson at 7 Pines Native Nursery, Defuniak Springs.
Saturday, October 16 – Birding in the St. Joe/Cape San Blas area. Picnic lunch vs. restaurant.   
Saturday, November 6 – Work day at Laidlaw with Choctawhatchee Audubon 9:00 am at gate. Meet 7:45 a.m. at Lynn Haven bridge (Porter Park).

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Fall birding opportunities with Choctawhatchee Audubon

The Choctawhatchee Audubon Board has been meeting and monitoring the COVID situation throughout the summer.  It has been decided in an abundance of caution and safety for our members that indoor meetings will not take place at present.  However, outdoor activities will begin on September 11th.  Please join us to find some interesting birds.

Saturday, 9th October- Birding by Boat at Camp Helen State Park. Meet at parking lot at 8:15.
There will be an entrance fee of $4.00.  Dress appropriately.
You must sign up for this as there are only 10 kayaks available. 
A maximum of 5 owned kayaks will also be permitted.  These should be launched by 8:15 a.m. Email or call to book a place to Margaret Benner mlbenner@cox.net or 850 376 2025 

Saturday 16th October – Henderson Beach Wildlife Event- Henderson Beach East end of Park – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 pm
We would like a few good volunteers for this.  Kali Hiemier offered  us 3 tables and half a pavilion to set up the wingspan banner, the binoculars and the games.  They have terrific helpers to set up but we need about 6 people to help play games etc. If you can please come around 9:00-9:30 a.m. Free entrance passes will be given to volunteers. Kali Hiemier is the contact person at the park. 850 650 5928

Saturday 23rd October – Parks of Fort Walton Beach, Cinco Bayou and Mary Esther
Leader – Malcolm Swan 210-452-4899. Meeting place – Uptown Station, north of Starbucks at 7:30 am. Dress appropriately and bring binoculars, cameras and water.

Saturday 6th November Laidlaw Preserve, Bay County, Clean-up and Birding.  Bring your sturdy tools to help clear brush on trails. Bring a sack lunch and dress appropriately. Meeting places – CVS in Niceville 7:00 a.m. or Publix parking lot, Freeport, near the road 7:30 a.m. or Vernon Wayside Park 8:45 a.m., just north of Holmes Creek, when we have all arrived we will go together to the Preserve for 9:00am. 

Contact Margaret Benner mlbenner@cox.net or 850 376 2025 or Ron Houser 850 621 2551

Saturday 27th November Destin Beach Birds. Leader – Bruce Purdy 305-926-6030. Meet at CVS parking lot, on Rt 98 and Main Street, Destin at 7:30 am

Saturday 11th December – Choctawhatchee Audubon Christmas Party – Kelly Plantation Owners Clubhouse, next to the Tennis Courts at 2:00 pm Bring a dish to share, BYOB and an auction item.

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Guided moonlight paddle at Camp Helen State Park Sept. 17 and 18

Enjoy a ranger-led paddle on Lake Powell, Florida’s largest coastal dune lake, under a mostly full moon on Friday, Sept. 17 and Saturday, Sept. 18 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Meet in the visitor center at Camp Helen State Park.

  • Two-hour trip will begin with a brief safety review and interpretation of why coastal dune lakes are a rare natural phenomenon.
  • Participants must have kayaking experience and be 12 years of age or older.
  • Space is limited and reservations are required. Call the park at 850-233-5059.
  • Watercraft and gear from outside the park are not permitted.
  • Event Essential Eligibility Criteria

Program is $30 per person. Cash only, exact change. Fee includes watercraft rental, life jacket, paddle, glow sticks, park admission fee and a donation to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park.

For more information contact Scarlett.A.Dunn@FloridaDEP.gov

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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Volunteers needed for Lake Powell clean up Sept. 18

The Lake Powell Community Alliance (LPCA) together with St. Andrew Bay Watch (RMA), Friends of Camp Helen State Park and Bay County Audubon invite you to participate in a community effort to clean up Lake Powell on Saturday Sept. 18, 2021 from 8 a.m. – 12 Noon. Sign-in will begin promptly at 8 a.m. at the Lake Powell Park [boat ramp behind Publix] or at Camp Helen State Park.

Free t-shirts will be given to the first 50 volunteers to register. Participate in a ‘Chance Drawing’ to win some very nice prizes.

Revisions will be made this year to ensure a productive, yet safe cleanup. Although this is an outdoor event and much of it will not require wearing a mask, we will do our best to maintain social distancing and, in some cases, (during registration and weigh-in) they strongly encourage masks. These guidelines are subject to change as cleanup day approaches.

You can also use the Ocean Conservancy’s “Clean Swell” app to collect your data. It will keep track of your trash items, log distance traveled, and provide a report of your efforts. Share the results with us when turning in your trash bags and we’ll enter your data in our database. Customary data sheets will be available for those who prefer the old system. Use of the “Clean Swell” app will earn your team a free chance drawing ticket.

As teams return with their trash for weigh-in and disposal, we will take photos of each team. A group photo collage will be composed and sent to all who provide an email address. We will have bottled water and wrapped snacks available. 

WHAT TO BRING: closed-toed shoes, hat, sunscreen, grabber, work gloves, masks, water, and snacks. Also consider downloading the Clean Swell app on your smart phone to collect data. (Earn a free drawing ticket if your team uses the app during the clean-up.)

PROVIDED: garbage bags, nitrile gloves, clip boards, pencils, and masks.

Please consider bringing your boat, canoe, kayak or paddleboard and join the armada of cleanup crews! If you do bring your watercraft, please bring required life jackets, whistle, and safety devices.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
8:00 – 9:00 am — Sign-in and Orientation
9:00 – 12:00 noon — Lake Cleanup
11:30-12:00- Trash Weigh-In / Turn in Data cards or App Screen / Pose for Team Photos
12:00 – Chance Drawing

*Please check this page regularly for updates on procedures and schedule modification.

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Volunteers needed for Coastal Clean Up in Santa Rosa Beach Sept. 18

International Coastal Cleanup 2021 will be Saturday, September 18 at various locations in Santa Rosa Beach area. The event is hosted by the Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles. Registration 8:45 am. Cleanup 9:00 – 11:00 am (or per your personal availability). Trash bags and gloves are available. Choose your favorite location from these site options. Inlet Beach RBA, Santa Clara RBA, Ed Walline RBA, Dune Allen RBA, Miramar Beach RBA. If you would like to help at Big Red Fish Coastal Dune Lake contact lauriereichenbach@gmail.com for details.T-shirts available at all locations on a first come basis until they run out.

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Celebrate National Estuaries Day at Apalachicola Nature Center Oct. 1

Celebrate National Estuaries Day on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at the Apalachicola Nature Center from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. ET.

Activities include living shoreline exploration, touch tanks, prescribed fire activities, turtle hurdle boardgame, salt marsh bingo, button making, waterfront race, cast net game and more. Free snakes will be available. The first 600 guests receive a free t-shirt.

The Apalachicola Nature Center is part of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.

For more information contact the Reserve at (850) 670-7700. Click here to learn more.
108 Island Drive
Eastpoint, FL 32328
(850) 670-7700

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Celebrate Oktoberfest in DeFuniak Springs Oct. 2

Main Street DeFuniak Springs is hosting its inaugural Oktoberfest along Lake DeFuniak, Circle Drive, and Baldwin Ave. in DeFuniak Springs on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

The day’s festivities will kick off at 9:00 a.m. with a casual fitness competition combining running and stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding on Circle Drive. Participants in the Run/SUP, produced in partnership with local company, RUN/SUP®, will complete a roughly 1.3-mile run around Circle Drive, immediately followed by a 1-mile stand-up paddleboard race in Lake DeFuniak. Prizes from area businesses will be awarded for the fastest male, female, and youth (14 and under). Participants are encouraged to bring their own SUP. Limited rentals will be available onsite for those wanting to participate who do not currently own a board. All ages are invited to attend. Cost to participate is $30.00. Participants are encouraged to sign-up in advance.

Oktoberfest will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Baldwin Avenue between. S. 7th St. and S. 8th St. Adults 21 years of age and older are invited to enjoy seasonal beers, grilled bratwurst, axe throwing, and authentic German music, sponsored by Visit South Walton. Tickets are $25.00. Price includes beers and a commemorative Oktoberfest cup. Food and non-alcoholic beverages, along with axe throws can be purchased for an additional cost. Non drinking designated drivers will attend for free.

Information on Run/SUP registration and Oktoberfest tickets is available at https://mainstreetdfs.org.

The City of DeFuniak Springs’ Special Events Committee (SEC) is extending the fun with live music by local, high energy, bluegrass and jam band, Longleaf Drive. The outdoor concert will be held from 3 – 6 p.m. All ages are invited to attend for free. Bring your own blanket and chairs.

The event is produced in partnership with Visit South Walton, the City of DeFuniak Springs’ Special Events Committee and area businesses.

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October brings pumpkin patch, movie and more to Camp Helen State Park

The Friends of Camp Helen are excited to announce the opening of their pumpkin patch Saturday, October 2 at 9 a.m. Pumpkins will be sold 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. through October 31 or until sold out.

Families can enjoy the trail bingo and straw maze, kayak/SUP rentals, and scarecrow row daily. This year, Saturdays in the Patch will feature hay rides, games, contests, music, arts, crafts and more.

Saturday, October 23 is a special evening with a movie after dark FREE to the public. The park will remain open after sunset for those attending the showing of “Hocus Pocus.” The movie begins after sunset (around 6:45 p.m.). Bring your own blankets and chairs.

The Friends of Camp Helen encourage everyone visiting the pumpkin patch to social distance when possible. More information is available at facebook.com/FriendsOfCampHelenStatePark, or by calling (850) 233-5059.

Camp Helen State Park is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway (Highway 98), Panama City Beach, just west of the Lake Powell Bridge.

Park Fees
There is an honor entrance station. The fee is $4.00 per vehicle and $1.00 per bicyclist or pedestrian. Click here for park website.

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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History tour at Camp Helen State Park Oct. 2

Enjoy a history tour of Camp Helen State Park from 10 – 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month.

Join park staff and volunteers on a walk through the rich history of the park. Learn about the early indigenous people who occupied this land all the way through to the 1920s when the park was developed as a private residence for the Hicks family and later turned into a summer retreat for Avondale Textile mill employees and their families. Depending upon availability, there will be the opportunity to go inside historic structures. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Event Essential Eligibility Criteria

For further questions, feel free to contact the office at Camp Helen at (850) 233-5059.

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::

Park Fees
There is an honor entrance station. The fee is $4.00 per vehicle and $1.00 per bicyclist or pedestrian. Click here for park website.

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Ranger led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park Oct. 7

Enjoy a ranger-led nature hike at Camp Helen State Park on Thursday, Oct. 7 from 10 – 11 a.m.

Join in for a ranger-guided nature hike. Camp Helen boasts nine distinct natural communities throughout the park with varied flora and fauna. Learn about our rare coastal dune lake, Lake Powell, as well as the park wildlife. Hike is suitable for all ages. Dress for the weather; water and bug spray are recommended.

Park Fees
There is an honor entrance station. The fee is $4.00 per vehicle and $1.00 per bicyclist or pedestrian. Click here for park website.

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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Hammock Bay pumpkin patch Oct. 9

Say hello to fall at the Hammock Bay Pumpkin Patch, October 9, 2021 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Hammock Bay Town Green. This event is open to the public.

Purchase a pumpkin, corn stalks, hay bales, boiled and raw peanuts, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, and more. Pumpkins and produce provided by Walton Springs Farm. Food trucks – Bookies Breakfast Camp, The Funky Mermaid, and Repicci’s Real Italian Ice and Gelato, will be at the event serving the people. Dion Jones and the Neon Tears will play on the stage from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Additional information at hammockbaypumpkinpatch.com. The twon square is located at 425 Victory Blvd., Freeport.

The event is sponsored by Walton Springs Farm, The Griffith Rosado Real Estate Group, Shear Perfection Salon, and Clutch Media Works.

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Argyle Fire Department hosting 5K and 1 mile benefit run Oct. 16

The Argyle Volunteer Fire Dept are hosting a 5K & 1 Mile Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday, October 16, 2021. Proceeds from the benefit will go towards a new building.

The route will be around Lake Defuniak in DeFuniak Springs. If you register ahead of time you will receive a free t-shirt. Cost is $35. Register here.

For more information, contact Scott Johnson at 850-419-7673 or email ragdolltherapy66@gmail.com.

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Haz-mat collection day in north and south Walton Oct. 16

Walton County Haz-Mat Collection Day will be held Saturday, October 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Walton County Solid Waste offers our citizens an environmentally safe way to dispose of hazardous household waste at no charge. There are two events annually, usually in the spring and again in the fall, at two separate locations in the county.

  • Walton County Fairgrounds – Highway 83 North, DeFuniak Springs
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park – 7525 W County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach

Walton County residents may bring the following items to the collection sites for disposal:

  • Paints, stains and polyurethanes
  • Degreasers, solvents and thinners
  • Pool chemicals
  • Household cleaners/chemicals
  • Motor oil and oil filters
  • Transmission and brake fluids
  • Grease and other lubricants
  • Antifreeze
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Gasoline and Diesel
  • Tires – maximum of 4 passenger vehicle sized tires per load per event with rims less than 25” in diameter – No truck, tractor or heavy equipment tires
  • Automotive style batteries
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Fluorescent bulbs and ballast
  • Computers, monitors, printers and other electronic devices
  • Televisions
  • Residential fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used for home lawn care or gardening.

No gas cylinders or explosives. Conditionally exempt small quality generators will be accepted at a reduced rate. Call 850-892-8180 for questions or to schedule a drop off time.

Haz-mat collection day in north and south Walton Oct. 16

Walton County Haz-Mat Collection Day will be held Saturday, October 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Walton County Solid Waste offers our citizens an environmentally safe way to dispose of hazardous household waste at no charge. There are two events annually, usually in the spring and again in the fall, at two separate locations in the county.

  • Walton County Fairgrounds – Highway 83 North, DeFuniak Springs
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park – 7525 W County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach

Walton County residents may bring the following items to the collection sites for disposal:

  • Paints, stains and polyurethanes
  • Degreasers, solvents and thinners
  • Pool chemicals
  • Household cleaners/chemicals
  • Motor oil and oil filters
  • Transmission and brake fluids
  • Grease and other lubricants
  • Antifreeze
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Gasoline and Diesel
  • Tires – maximum of 4 passenger vehicle sized tires per load per event with rims less than 25” in diameter – No truck, tractor or heavy equipment tires
  • Automotive style batteries
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Fluorescent bulbs and ballast
  • Computers, monitors, printers and other electronic devices
  • Televisions
  • Residential fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used for home lawn care or gardening.

No gas cylinders or explosives. Conditionally exempt small quality generators will be accepted at a reduced rate. Call 850-892-8180 for questions or to schedule a drop off time.

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Chautauqua Winery Harvest Festival in DeFuniak Springs Oct. 16

Enjoy a day of wine tasting and live music at the Chautauqua Winery on Sat., Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission is free to this family friendly event. There will be arts, crafts, and complimentary wine tasting as well as non-alcoholic muscadine juices that will be available for all ages to enjoy. Wine will also be available for purchase in glass, bottle, and case. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket.

This festival is held outdoors at Chautauqua Winery, 364 Hugh Adams Road, Defuniak Springs.