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Volunteers help beautify Sound Park in Fort Walton Beach on Earth Day

On Monday, April 22, 2024, more than two dozen volunteers from various organizations joined forces to beautify Sound Park in Fort Walton Beach as part of an Earth Day initiative. […]

City of Fort Walton Beach Public Information

On Monday, April 22, 2024, more than two dozen volunteers from various organizations joined forces to beautify Sound Park in Fort Walton Beach as part of an Earth Day initiative.

  • The event, led by Kali Hiemier, environmental resources coordinator with Okaloosa County’s Keep Okaloosa Beautiful program, brought together volunteers from Cox Communications, Okaloosa County Master Gardeners, and the City of Fort Walton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

Hiemier hand-selected nearly 80 native plants for the project, which aimed to add color to the waterfront park while also supporting local pollinators. “A lot of these plants will help more than 200 species of pollinators,” said Hiemier. “All different types of butterflies, moths and other insects.”

City of Fort Walton Beach Public Information

The Okaloosa County Master Gardeners, a group of trained volunteers under the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences program, provided planting tips to the volunteers.

The Cox Communications group efficiently planted the native species before picking up trash in the park and along the waterfront.

  • “We try to find different opportunities to come out and do stuff in the community,” said Cam Johnson, public and government affairs manager with Cox Communications. He noted that it being Earth Day and National Volunteer Month made it an obvious choice for their efforts.

The native plant workday is one of several improvements planned for Sound Park, located across U.S. Highway 98 from City Hall. Recent enhancements include the rebuilding of the gazebo’s pillars and support beams. Future plans involve installing new lighting and improving the gravel pathways throughout the park.

CRA Administrator Alisa Burleson expressed her gratitude to the volunteers and shared her vision for the park’s future.

  • “We want to make it an educational park, where teachers can bring their kids, home school parents can bring their kids, and show them the native plants that grow in our area,” said Burleson. “I’m so excited about the future of this park.”

Keep Okaloosa Beautiful, a local affiliate of the national organization Keep America Beautiful, regularly organizes neighborhood cleanups. Those interested in getting involved can contact Kali Hiemier at or visit the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners website for more information.

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Community Comments

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“Please open our bridge under neath the Destin bridge please we grew up here only for the locals this is crazy honestly the locals really have Nowhere they can go...”
“We must do whatever it takes to remove the current sheriff. He is a failed leader, no doubt about it nothing but an excuse maker, totally incompetent in over his...”
“...and food for enjoyment! Big smile.”
“can okaloosa county residents can get a year pass for henderson beach park?”
“Congratulations on giving back to your community. This is an awesome need when young people are returning to school. Blessings over blessings to you this upcoming season.”
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“Welcome back Brig. Gen. Massaro.”