End of July Update: South Walton Turtle Watch (SWTW) is reporting the most current count of sea turtle nests is up to 55. Some of the first nests of the season are approaching 50-60 days and we should start to see hatchlings and/or their tracks to the water any day.
Pets & Animals
If you've been to one of South Walton's state parks this season, you might have noticed extra activity along the shore in low-lying dune areas. We have some very special visitors to our shores and this story and photos by our friend Jeff Talbert, Park Services Specialist at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, is welcome information about our feathered friends.
Parents looking for a truly inspiring setting for their children to develop creativity, art skills and an appreciation for nature and the visual arts need look no further than the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center located at 4956 State Hwy. 20 East in Freeport, Florida. The Biophilia Center is hosting Abrakadoodle-Northwest Florida for an impressive array of affordable, nature-themed camp programs for children ages 5-12. Summer camps kick-off June 5, with weekly sessions each Wednesday through July 31 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Attention SoWal Beach and animal Lovers: Mark your calendars and help get the word out. 30A Games has announced a one-week long fundraiser to benefit the Alaqua Animal Refuge. Beginning Monday, April 8 and extending through Sunday, April 14, $10 from every MONOPOLY®: Visit South Walton Edition game sold at the 30A Games website or at any of the local retailers will benefit Alaqua Animal Refuge.
The Art of the Egg fundraiser for Alaqua Animal Refuge will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at Donna Burgess Gallery in Grand Boulevard. Local artists will transform eggs, laid by Alaqua's resident Emu sisters, Zsa Zsa and Eva, into works of art. The egg creations will be available for purchase through a silent auction along with original paintings.
Here's a grayt story and photos of a recent Pelican rescue by our friend Edmond Alexander of Grayton Beach. When Edmond isn't rescuing local wildlife, he's painting it, or photographing it. Or he's down on the beach helping our local charter fishing Captains in the Grayton mosquito fleet launch their boats.
Looking for a great volunteer opportunity that will help a most worthy organization and warm your heart at the same time? Alaqua Animal Refuge needs the support of our community, and you can help. As an independent, non-profit organization that advocates the general welfare and humane treatment of animals in need, the refuge provides shelter, a full service adoption center, educational outreach, and community programs.
Dogs and owners rendezvous on Dec. 9 from 1-4pm for the 2nd Annual Rosemary Beach Unleashed Community Festival, sponsored by SoWal.com. Attendance is FREE, so come join in a fun-filled afternoon on St. Augustine Green at an event that will keep the entire family entertained.
We get quite a few snowbirds in South Walton, but a pair of eagles swimming and frolicking on the beach recently take the cake. Actually, these two are likely permanent SoWal residents, probably a mating pair with a nest nearby.
This time of year our local eagles venture out for a good meal and to gather material (seaweed?) to build their nests for chicks coming soon. We've never heard of any on the beach though.
Sally Edwards and her husband Larry from Birmingham got quite the show from their Seagrove condo, and sent us the photos to share.
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.