Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

Whale strands on Opal Beach

Whale strands on Opal Beach

A rare beaked whale species that beached itself along Opal Beach Monday died shortly after being discovered, adding to a rising number of marine mammal deaths along the panhandle. The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR) Marine Mammal Stranding Team responded to Opal Beach, just west of Navarre at around 4:30 p.m. after beachgoers spotted the […]

Elevated dolphin deaths prompt NOAA investigation

Elevated dolphin deaths prompt NOAA investigation

Hundreds of bottlenose dolphin deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico have prompted NOAA to declare an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for the region. The declaration includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida in response to dolphins washing up dead on shorelines across the region.   Read the full article in the June […]

Local nonprofits vie for Wind Creek grants

Local nonprofits vie for Wind Creek grants

Nonprofits throughout Alabama and North Florida are vying for a portion of $125,000 in grants to be awarded as part of Wind Creek Hospitality’s Partners in Progress Video Contest. Among the 92 organizations that applied are two nonprofits based in Navarre: Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and Outreach Navarre Inc. d.b.a. Weekend Food Program. Read the […]

Hurricane Michael displaces hawk nestlings

Hurricane Michael displaces hawk nestlings

When Hurricane Michael ripped through the Panama City area in October 2018, many people were displaced as their homes were destroyed by high winds and the massive storm surge of the Category 5 hurricane. Nearly seven months later, some smaller residents of the Panhandle have been displaced by the storm’s aftermath. Read the full article […]

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge grand opening on horizon

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge grand opening on horizon

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge plans to open doors on its new Navarre facilities June 15, welcoming visitors and assisting sick and injured wildlife in the area. Work to bring the nonprofit to Holley has been underway for years, and the shapes of buildings have emerged over the fence line of the vacant land along Clopton […]

‘Pier pellies’ face threats from human interaction

‘Pier pellies’ face threats from human interaction

The brown and white seabirds are a common sight along the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, shuffling along the railing or dive-bombing the water. Pelicans frequent piers along the Gulf Coast because their favorite food, fish, is usually plentiful there, said Caroline Stahala, Audubon Western Florida Panhandle shorebird manager. Read the full article in the March […]

Three things to know: Board of County Commissioners

Three things to know: Board of County Commissioners

284 lot subdivision riling neighbors County Commissioners got an earful from concerned residents Tuesday morning as yet another subdivision development drew ire from neighbors. Forest Bay Estates is a new subdivision proposed for 210-acres of vacant land located west of Edgewood Drive and east of River Birch Road. Read the full article in the Jan. […]

Tourism council backs funding for wildlife refuge

Tourism council backs funding for wildlife refuge

After balking at a request for nearly half a million dollars, the county’s Tourist Development Council did agree Jan. 3 to fund $117,000 for animal habitats at the new Holley location of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR). While ECWR has steadily been securing donations since December 2016, the timeline for completion of the new […]

Our hopes for 2019

Our hopes for 2019

We hope Holley Navarre Water System will get their act together and behave like a professional board that controls one of the largest budgets in the county. We wish successful business owners, or at least people with board experience, would seek to become part of the board for no other reason than to serve their […]

Wildlife Refuge raising the walls on new location

Wildlife Refuge raising the walls on new location

Workers poured concrete foundations Dec. 3 for the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge’s (ECWR) new medical facility and education center located in Holley, bringing the nonprofit a step closer to opening their doors to the public for the first time. ECWR Executive Director Carol “Stormy” Andersen said the current schedule puts their grand opening for the […]

Phase I price tag $3 million

Phase I price tag $3 million

Based on Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, the Panhandle Butterfly House (PBH) is no longer part of Navarre Park’s Phase I makeover, but it is not being relocated to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge either. That issue aside, County Administrator Dan Schebler told the commissioners that they need an answer to move forward on […]

Panhandle Butterfly House seeks third option

Panhandle Butterfly House seeks third option

In the ongoing saga of the Panhandle Butterfly House’s (PBH) future, a decision could finally come next Thursday at the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners meeting. But that answer may not be what the PBH leadership wants to hear. Read the full article in the Dec. 6 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to […]

5 Things to know: #GivingTuesday comes to Navarre

5 Things to know: #GivingTuesday comes to Navarre

1. How it all started Following the face stuffing of Thanksgiving and subsequent shopping frenzy of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, a day dedicated to giving back has been added to the holiday whirl. In 2012, the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact created #GivingTuesday. According to GivingTuesday.org, the idea was […]

Grant writing just a piece of the nonprofit puzzle

Grant writing just a piece of the nonprofit puzzle

The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its second grant-writing workshop for nonprofits. Barbara Hunter Cox is a grant expert who has successfully secured funds for nonprofits for years, often totaling millions of dollars from organizations such as the Walton Family Foundation and Kellogg Foundation. Read the full article in the Nov. 15 issue […]

County admin recommends butterfly house at wildlife refuge

County admin recommends butterfly house at wildlife refuge

In one of his last acts as District 4 County Commissioner, Rob Williamson said he has lost confidence in the fiscal viability of the Panhandle Butterfly House. “Where I once had a confidence that they would be able to run a yearlong, sustainable operation and take on the expenses that they have never before paid […]

Butterfly House future still up in the air

Butterfly House future still up in the air

A decision has been put off once again on the location of a new Panhandle Butterfly House (PBH) vivarium and learning center. During the Board of County Commissioners meeting Monday morning, the board opted to postpone a final determination until the PBH could provide a more comprehensive business plan. Read the full article in the […]

Details revealed about potential Panhandle Butterfly House move

Details revealed about potential Panhandle Butterfly House move

As progress moves forward on the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge’s (ECWR) new location in Holley, the nonprofit awaits a decision by the Panhandle Butterfly House (PBH) about where their future location will be. The future of the PBH is currently in limbo as their building is set for demolition at the start of 2019. Read […]

South Santa Rosa awarded two Impact 100 grants

South Santa Rosa awarded two Impact 100 grants

Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 broke the $10 million threshold of giving Sunday as the organization awarded 11 grants worth $100,300 apiece to nonprofits in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Two of those grants were given to projects in south Santa Rosa County. “At the end of today, $10,498,000 has been awarded through 98 grants to 72 nonprofit organizations […]

Navarre Park’s Trojan butterfly won’t fly

Navarre Park’s Trojan butterfly won’t fly

We want to preface this with a simple statement of goal. We want the Panhandle Butterfly House to succeed. They are an asset to our community. But, in May we said: this is a bad idea. Dropping a small nonprofit program that has no stable revenue stream or even its own book keeper into a […]

Panhandle Butterfly House future in limbo

Panhandle Butterfly House future in limbo

When the doors closed on the Panhandle Butterfly House (PBH) this season, they also closed on the group’s 21 years at its location in Navarre Park. The shop, vivarium and gardens, created through donations and thousands of volunteer hours, are scheduled to be demolished in 2019. Read the full article in the Oct. 11 issue […]

Wildlife refuge secures development order

Wildlife refuge secures development order

Plans to construct a wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education center in Holley took a big step forward last week as the county issued a development order for property along Clopton Circle. Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge director Bill Andersen said the order means the organization is one step closer to building a new home to facilitate […]

Local nonprofits vie for $1 million in grants

Local nonprofits vie for $1 million in grants

For 15 years, IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area has been awarding grants of more than $100,000 to nonprofits in Northwest Florida. IMPACT 100 is a local women’s philanthropic group. Read the full article in the Sept. 20 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options. Sign up to receive the online edition of […]

Interns at refuge help wildlife, gain skills

Interns at refuge help wildlife, gain skills

Caring for the roughly 2,000 animals that come through the front doors of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge each year is more than a full-time job, and the students who make it happen do so without pay. Board member Carol “Stormy” Andersen said she is incredibly thankful for the refuge’s internship program. Read the full […]

Tourist Development Council cancels county tour

Tourist Development Council cancels county tour

Santa Rosa County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has canceled its planned countywide field trip, citing concerns about legal liability and potential violation of the Sunshine Law. The group, which makes recommendations about the expenditure of county bed taxes, was scheduled to get a firsthand look at tourism assets throughout the county July 2 in a […]

Wildlife refuge officially breaks ground

Wildlife refuge officially breaks ground

In a celebration honoring community support, the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge ceremonially broke ground Saturday at its new facility in Holley. After brief speeches and thank-yous under an old-growth oak tree, the refuge’s board and a group of dignitaries “turned dirt” on the property, launching the building phase of a project that has been in […]

Santa Rosa County’s third annual Day of Service builds stronger community

Santa Rosa County’s third annual Day of Service builds stronger community

From providing free civil legal services to building wildlife habitats, dozens of volunteers lent their skills and labor Saturday for Santa Rosa County’s third annual Day of Service. The event is put on through Santa Rosa County’s Emergency Management and SAFER Santa Rosa program each year. Read the full article in the June 7 issue […]

West Navarre students among wildlife poster winners

West Navarre students among wildlife poster winners

Elementary students across Santa Rosa County lent their artistic talents to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge last week as part of the organization’s poster contest. Students from every elementary, intermediate and primary school in the county were invited to compete. Read the full article in the May 31 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe […]

County holds firm on funding for new butterfly house

County holds firm on funding for new butterfly house

Stay the course. That is what the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decided to do with millions of dollars of funding for the Navarre Park Master Site Plan. The Tourist Development Council (TDC) had asked the board to re-evaluate a proposed loan of more than $1.8 million, to be paid back with future […]

RED Day goes wild at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

RED Day goes wild at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge got a helping hand last week as Keller Williams employees throughout Navarre took a break from selling real estate to give back to their community. Roughly 30 volunteers clad in red T-shirts worked power tools, trimmed brush, painted logos and installed animal closures for the future location of the rescue organization […]

Spring Fling supports garden club

Spring Fling supports garden club

The Navarre Conference Center’s parking lot turned into a colorful bed of blooms Friday as the Navarre Garden Club celebrated its annual Spring Fling. The event was both a celebration of the season and a chance for the club to interact with members of the community, who had the opportunity to sample food from some […]