Walton County Coastal Library sponsors Winter Community Programs at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 3 through Feb. 28. Programs are designed for the adult community and families having educational and entertaining value while learning about the community and neighbors. The programs are sponsored by Friends of Coastal Library and are held at the Coastal Library, 437 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach, behind the South Walton Government/Education Complex on Hwy. 331 South. Each event is free for the public with limited seating.
Program brochures will be available at the Coastal library and the schedule will be posted on the Walton County Coastal Calendar website at www.youseemore.com/walton/coastal. For more information, call Linda Thompson at 850-267-2809.
Wildlife photographer Jan. 3
Walt Spence’s earlier photos have appeared in publications such as Southern Living and Florida Living, and mostly involved human subjects and situations. But he had always harbored a latent desire to pursue nature photography.
The stimulus to do it seriously came in 2006 when he and his friend, Doug Buck, realized that no one had ever produced a truly comprehensive photo survey of the wildlife of the local bayou country. They embarked on a prolific multi-year effort to record the amazing diversity of species that lives there.
The Boggy Bayou Birds project has since captured thousands of images, many from a canoe, and its focus has been on educating and entertaining the local public. Spence’s nature photos have received multiple awards in the Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute’s nature photo contest and are featured in the Institute’s annual calendar.
He is past president of the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society and is a founding member of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.
Film Screening Jan. 10
Florida: the land of beaches, theme parks and cowboys? Father/son filmmakers Elam and Nic Stoltzfus share their stories and adventures from the Great Florida Cattle Drive 2016, while also showcasing clips from their PBS documentary film, "The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles."
For more than 30 years, Elam has been documenting the wilds of Florida. He has produced seven feature-length films. Collectively, these films have won 16 Tellys, three Davies and one Emmy and all of them have been featured on public television. He is the founder of Live Oak Production Group.
Nic is a writer and photographer at Live Oak Production Group. His first script, "Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast," was nominated for a Suncoast Emmy in the writing category and won People’s Choice for the 2014 Telly Awards. Along with the script, Nic also wrote a companion coffee table book that won the Gold Medal (Visual Arts) in the 2015 Florida Book Awards. He has recently written the script and coffee table book for "The Great Florida Cattle Drive: Unbroken Circles Project."
History Mystery Jan. 17
Destin historian Hank Klein tells the story of a town that was once where Miramar Beach is located today. The area that we now know as Miramar Beach was once known as Shoals. Today nobody seems to remember Shoals, not even the history buffs.
Learn about the long-lost cemetery, as well as who actually named the area we know today as Miramar Beach. Klein has long been interested in the history of Destin and also has a monthly “History Mystery” column in The Destin Log newspaper.
Gratitude and Regret: They Work Hand in Hand Jan. 24
Tolliny Rankins is a certified life coach, consultant and adjunct professor at Northwest Florida State College in the Florida Panhandle where she has taught life enrichment courses for greater personal development. She has also taught courses at the Center for Lifelong Learning at the University of West Florida, Fort Walton Beach.
She is the founder of “Visits with Rodney,” a nonprofit organization that strengthens and uplifts spouses and children who have incarcerated loved ones. Her motto is “Don’t forget to be yourself” and specializes in authenticity and self-awareness. Tolliny is passionate about empowering others toward their destiny. She provides a great mixture of practicality, wisdom and humor in her presentations.
Fine Art and Instruction Jan. 31
Ever the elusive goal of plein air painters, the capture of light on a subject is the thrill of painting en plein air for Joan Vienot. She moved to sunny Florida in 1980 after attaining a bachelor of arts in fine art and teaching art in a public high school in Colorado.
“Plein air painting requires intense focus and presents moment awareness in order to execute a scene before the light changes radically," Vienot said. "I am compelled to share the beauty I see.”
Vienot served on the board of directors of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County from 2011 to 2017, in particular working with the A+Art Committee to showcase member artists’ works in the Alliance’s Art in Public Places. She also is the volunteer coordinator for the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters notifying members of weekly Wednesday plein air painting locations.
The Mystery of Entertainment Feb. 7
Act4Murder has been presenting original murder mysteries since 2003. These comedies keep people laughing and guessing. But sitting through a dinner and show for several hours seems daunting to many.
How does Act4Murder keep their guests engaged throughout the entire evening? Join them to find out as Paula Hilton, founder and author of all 33 shows performed by Act4Murder, is ready to reveal those secrets. Find out more about Act4Murder.
Walton County History with Story and Song Feb. 14
Ronnie McBrayer is author of "Wild, Wild, Walton" and "Down by the Riverside." He will be speaking of local Walton County history with story and song.
The beautiful sugar-white beaches of the Florida Panhandle are the result of erosion scientists say. A Florida sand dune, we’re told, was once a mountaintop in Georgia but over time that mountain washed all the way down to the sea.
Before making his home in Walton County, McBrayer was a Georgian born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Today, having washed down to the sea, he is the author of multiple books and publications, a local pastor, a musician, playwright and a nationally syndicated columnist with his column “Keeping the Faith.”
Building Off-Grid Feb. 21
So you are thinking about building off-grid. Where do you start? What about regulations and permitting? Should you use lead acid or lithium ion batteries for your backup energy? Which type of solar panels offer the best value? What about tax rebates and your return on investment? How do you calculate your energy load needs? Should you include a backup generator in your system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of building off grid? What does the future hold in the rapidly evolving realm of building off-grid?
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Doug Liles received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Tennessee and his master of combined sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After a successful entrepreneurial career in real estate and business development, Liles moved to the Florida Panhandle and established GSI (Good Samaritan Institute) in 2002.
He is a member of the Translational Research Working Group and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and will speak on building off-grid.
Vermeer, the Nazis’ and the Greatest Forger in History Feb. 28
There are only 36 known paintings by artist Joannes Vermeer. The last was discovered in 1921. But what if there were more?
Helen Balance, founder of Beach Art Group, will speak on Joannes Vermeer. She has worked as a professional artist producing murals, faux finishes and fine art for more than 15 years. Balance provides custom art using traditional to contemporary styles for commercial clients and private sector.
Beach Art Group offers Paint Parties Your Way, Workshops by International Stars, Art Classes for All Levels, Exhibitions, Plein Air Opportunities and more. She became so passionate about creating fine art she wanted to explore, share and learn. Thus, she became part of a vibrant homeschool group teaching drama and art.