Lifestyle/Leisure

Large-scale project clearing way for cleaner national seashore

Large-scale project clearing way for cleaner national seashore

It’s hard to find a silver lining in something as disastrous as an oil spill. Gulf Islands National Seashore Ecologist Kelly Irick will tell you she has found one in the fact that BP money is funding a nearly $11 million Beach Enhancement and Asphalt Removal Project in the Santa Rosa area of the national […]

Future of Fort Pickens Road at mercy of Mother Nature

Future of Fort Pickens Road at mercy of Mother Nature

Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown watched the track of Hurricane Irma closely. He does it every time there is a major storm because he knows it could signal the end for Fort Pickens Road. “The roads we manage are subject to damage, if not complete destruction,” Brown said. “We’ve seen it happen again […]

International Coastal Cleanup coming to Navarre

International Coastal Cleanup coming to Navarre

Around the world and on Navarre Beach thousands of volunteers will be picking up trash Sept. 16 as part of the 31st annual International Coastal Cleanup. International Coastal Cleanup is a program of the Ocean Conservancy. Each year the group coordinates with agencies and citizens in countries across the globe to clean up coastal waterways […]

Disaster preparedness for your pets

Disaster preparedness for your pets

Santa Rosa County was spared from the devastation of Hurricane Irma this week, but the practice session of preparing for a major hurricane provided some insight into areas of readiness we are lacking in. One of the topics that leaves many residents with questions is preparing to evacuate or shelter in place with pets. One […]

Turtle hatching season nears record success

Turtle hatching season nears record success

Despite less than perfect odds, Navarre Beach is having a nearly record-setting sea turtle nesting and hatching season as hundreds of hatchlings have escaped to the Gulf of Mexico. There have been 19 sea turtle nests on Navarre Beach this year. The record is 20, said turtle patroller Cinnamon Holderman. Two of those nests were […]

Versatility of FWC officers on display in Texas

Versatility of FWC officers on display in Texas

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are as versatile as any law enforcement agents out there. Officers do everything from patrolling the water and woods, on the lookout for fishing and hunting violations, to assisting in chasing down criminals on the run. They also jump into action when a hurricane cripples an area, such […]

Dive reef design revealed

Dive reef design revealed

Images of what a new artificial dive reef off the Navarre Beach pier will look like are coming into focus after Taylor Engineering presented the preliminary design to Santa Rosa County officials. Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary President Mike Sandler, along with the Navarre Beach Area Chamber Foundation, has helped to spearhead the project, which will […]

Closer look at life as an FWC fisheries biologist

Closer look at life as an FWC fisheries biologist

Eric Weather used to watch the televised adventures of Jacques Cousteau. It eventually led him to a career in fisheries research as a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He’s now been in the career for nearly 20 years. “I was originally drawn toward ocean exploration through (the show) and then later became […]

New teacher dives in at science station

New teacher dives in at science station

As schools across Santa Rosa County begin planning their field trips to the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station (NBMSS), a new teacher has jumped on board to help connect these children to the marine world. Biology teacher Sara Taylor has always loved the ocean, even if she has not always been near it she said. […]

Rough year for shorebirds

Rough year for shorebirds

For the second year in a row, shorebird nesting season has produced fewer chicks than initially anticipated, impacting at-risk species such as least terns and black skimmers. This season started with a positive outlook, but weather conditions wreaked havoc on the nests, said Audubon Florida Panhandle Shorebird Program Manager Caroline Stahala. Along Navarre Beach there […]

Pets take bite out of millennial wallets

Pets take bite out of millennial wallets

Americans own more pets than ever before – and that means they are spending more on their animals. The number of American households with a pet rose to 84.6 million this year, up from 79.7 million animal-owning households in 2015. In 2017, pet expenditures nationwide are expected to reach an estimated $69 billion, according to […]

Local hunters reel in alligator nearly 13 feet in length

Local hunters reel in alligator nearly 13 feet in length

Nick Naylor earned the right to hunt alligators this year and he maximized the opportunity, teaming up with three of his good friends to capture a pair of gators, including one that was nearly 13 feet long. Out on the Blackwater Bay near the Interstate-10 bridge, Naylor, Casey Shields, John Booker and Kenny Way – […]

Popularity of beach volleyball continues to rise

Popularity of beach volleyball continues to rise

Volleyball on the beach never seems to stop. More than a dozen tournaments are scheduled through the efforts of Judd Smith and Bulldog Beach Volleyball at Lagerheads on the Gulf. Smith once called Navarre Beach a diamond in the rough when it comes to the beach volleyball scene, and it’s one that continues to shine. […]

Eclipse brings bizarre animal behavior

Eclipse brings bizarre animal behavior

Through the centuries, little research has been done on animal behavior during solar eclipses, but what little data and anecdotal information is out there paints a weird picture. From destroying their homes to hiding in fear to freezing in place, species of all kinds appear to be effected by the temporary loss of sunlight. So […]

Gulf ‘dead zone’ reaches record size

Gulf ‘dead zone’ reaches record size

Although scientists predicted the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” would grow bigger this year, they did not expect it to be the largest ever recorded. But that is the case, according to a report issued this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The zone, which consists of water so depleted of oxygen […]

Andy Velo debuts first music video at Juana’s

Andy Velo debuts first music video at Juana’s

A few months after filming his first music video at Juana’s with the locals, Andy Velo returned to Navarre Aug. 11 to host a free concert and unveil that video. Nearly 1,500 people were on the property for the live concert on the beach that preceded the video debut. “We don’t get to play on […]

Creatures from the plastic lagoon

Creatures from the plastic lagoon

Reptile enthusiasts of a certain age likely remember the tiny turtles sold in lagoon containers, swimming in the nonexistent shade of a thumb-sized plastic palm tree. They lived short lives at the hands of the children who pined for them. But the times – and regulations — have changed. Housing a pet turtle, especially an […]

Animal Services takes aim at pet homelessness

Animal Services takes aim at pet homelessness

Americans who wish to bring home a furry friend are faced with a multitude of choices. Fluffy the Norwegian forest cat might come from a close friend burdened by debt. Teddy the poodle may be found at a recommended breeder, and Fido the mutt just might jump into your arms from the pens at a […]

Fish and Wildlife officers stay busy this summer

Fish and Wildlife officers stay busy this summer

In one case, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers responded to a boating accident in which a rented personal watercraft struck a swimmer in the head. In another instance, officers responded to a home where a man had a dead deer on his front porch because he brought it home after shooting it illegally. […]

National Night Out brings resources to Santa Rosa students

National Night Out brings resources to Santa Rosa students

Hundreds of volunteers, families, first responders and children packed the Guy Thompson Community Center Aug. 1 for Santa Rosa County’s first ever National Night Out. The event, which is put on each year by Target, brought together in one place a menagerie of resources and service providers in the county. Aleisha Wiley, who led the […]

Playing chicken in your own backyard

Playing chicken in your own backyard

More than 40 people, from seniors to grade-school children, packed the UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County Extension office in Milton to talk about backyard chickens Aug. 4 as part of a free class. Extension office 4-H Agent and longtime chicken owner Prudence Caskey said backyard chickens are popular throughout Santa Rosa County. “A lot of the […]

MathAlive! comes to the Emerald Coast

MathAlive! comes to the Emerald Coast

Children along the Emerald Coast are piloting Mars rovers, designing video games and making movies this week thanks to MathAlive! at the Emerald Coast Science Center. Located in Fort Walton Beach, the science center seeks to engage children throughout the Panhandle in the pursuit of science from a young age, said director Diane Fraser. “Our […]

Volunteers press on with Great Scallop Search

Volunteers press on with Great Scallop Search

While severe weather conditions have canceled parts of this year’s Great Scallop Search in Santa Rosa Sound, volunteers with the UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Extension Santa Rosa County office will take to the surf again Saturday in hopes of finding seagrass-dwelling bay scallops. The Great Scallop Search is an annual event put on by the […]

Drones over Navarre Beach

Drones over Navarre Beach

Buzzing overhead on zipping propellers, they can hover, glide and even do tricks. They are mounted with cameras, advanced scanners and dancing lights. Drones have gone from being a military asset to children’s play things, but the commercial market has also found quite a bit of use for these versatile eyes in the sky. Enter […]

Reef expansion set to begin

Reef expansion set to begin

Navarre Beach’s gulf side artificial snorkel reef will triple in size by as early as September. Santa Rosa County Commissioners selected Walter Marine July 27 to place 60 new artificial reef structures on both sides of the existing reef as part of a $1.4 million National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) grant. The $210,900 cost for […]

Gulf Islands program shines light on history

Gulf Islands program shines light on history

Soldier re-enactors walked around dressed in attire they would have worn in the 1860s. Students who have spent the summer working with the Youth Conservation Corps spoke to the crowds that gathered around them about the history of the fort as the sun set behind them. Rain eventually did roll in, but it didn’t put […]

Learning to live with bears

Learning to live with bears

H.D. and Dina Smith have no issue at all with bears being frequent guests in the backyard of their Navarre home. “They are beautiful animals. We love watching them,” Dina said. Her husband echoes those thoughts. “It’s a neat thing to see. We’ve never felt threatened,” H.D. said. “We are in their habitat.” Bears have […]

Teen expands her thriving rental business

Teen expands her thriving rental business

Sage Paddle Co. opened its first official surf shop this month, and business founder and owner Sage Offutt, 15, said she could not be more excited. The young entrepreneur has been in business since she was 11, and her new location at 8228 Gulf Blvd. will be just another step along the journey. Read the […]

Scallop population woes keep ban in effect

Scallop population woes keep ban in effect

While the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently restructured the season structure for recreational scalloping, the outlook for that opportunity opening up in Northwest Florida in the near future isn’t the brightest. Searches have been done in this area, including two scheduled for this year, but they haven’t produced results indicating there is a […]

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