Nature

South Walton's Black Bears Active in the Fall

South Walton was once home to a large black bear population. Hunting and development nearly eliminated Florida's largest land mammal. But lately we've seen bears return to the area in large numbers.

Just like it is for SoWal vistors and locals, Fall is an active time of year for Florida black bears as they stock up on calories for the coming winter. Though black bears don’t really need to put on pounds to survive the state’s usually mild winters, they behave as if they do need to – eating about three times as much as usual.

Explore the Outdoors on October 6 in Freeport

We're always encouraging visitors and locals to get outside more! That's just what the Explore The Outdoors Festival on Oct. 6, 2012 aims to do. The event will be 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the beautiful Live Oak Landing RV Resort at 229 Pitts Avenue in Freeport.

The fun-filled day is geared towards introducing children to the wonders of exploring the outdoors. It's free, and open to the public. Hands on activities will include fishing, boating, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, wildlife encounters, interactive educational exhibits and much more.

Join Us for Coastal Cleanup Day September 15

Looking for a way to support the beaches we love? Need community service hours for scholarships or merit badges? Join the South Walton TDC for the 28th Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 15. The first 100 volunteers will get a commemorative t-shirt. Stay tuned for details regarding hours and locations. Meanwhile, please contact Amanda Barkley at (850) 267-4578 with questions.

Sea Turtle Update After Hurricane Isaac

Before Hurricane Isaac passed by SoWal on his way to New Orleans, South Walton’s sea turtle nests (not including nests in the State Parks) numbered 96, which was a record for our area. Since the start of this year’s turtle nesting season, there were 59 nests that had either hatched or been dug for evaluation before Isaac. Tropical Storm Debbie had previously washed away 3 nests.

SoWal Insider Tips for Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach encompasses quite a bit of South Walton. The beautiful name of our beautiful beach town can be a bit confusing because it's outline is not perfectly defined like most of our communities. It stretches from Sandestin along the bay and down to the gulf and along Scenic 30A.

The post office mailing address for much of South Walton is Santa Rosa Beach, so people who live in Point Washington or Blue Mountain Beach are often described as living in Santa Rosa Beach.

The Sea Turtles of South Walton

It’s sea turtle nesting season in Florida and in South Walton we're having an incredible year with over 100 nests, shattering the previous record of 58. Thanks to the consistent efforts of South Walton Turtle Watch, our small group of dedicated volunteers is making a difference in the survival of several species of sea turtles.

Most of the adult turtles have nested, and babies are hatching all up and down our beaches right now. It's one of the miracles of nature we are so privileged to witness in our SoWal paradise!

The Importance of Seaweed to Our Ecosystem

Whether seaweed is present on the beach or not is on one of the most frequently asked questions on the SoWal Forum for folks coming to visit. Here's a little info about seaweed from our partner, the South Walton TDC.
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Seaweed can be an issue along our beaches during certain times of the year. Though June is historically the month of greatest seaweed deposits, there is no way to predict when it will wash ashore in larger quantities or how long it will last.

Oyster Recycling Program Creates Living Reefs from Trash

Oysters. You may love to eat them but hate to see them on the bottom of your boat. Regardless of your personal feelings about these rock-like crustaceans, The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance believes they are important enough to collect the discarded shells from local restaurants and recycle them into reefs along area shorelines.

The reefs serve as neighborhoods where live oysters can establish themselves and thrive, rather on the bottom of someone’s boat or dock.

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