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June 8, 2010 > Butterfly & Bird Festival returns to Coyote Hills

Butterfly & Bird Festival returns to Coyote Hills

By Alyson Whitaker

Visit Coyote Hills Regional Park on any given day, and you're likely to see an array of flying friends-hummingbirds, colorful butterflies, caterpillars awaiting their transformation, and more. The habitat within the park was specifically designed to welcome these winged critters.

On Sunday, June 13, the park will hold its 11th Annual Butterfly & Bird Festival. The one-day event is dedicated to increasing the numbers and species of butterflies and birds in Bay Area landscapes. Guests will have the chance to learn about various plants and landscape techniques that are inviting to many species of flying creatures.

Informational booths will be spread throughout the visitor center area, offering education on topics affecting butterflies and birds. Learn what plants to avoid, and which ones will invite birds and butterflies to visit. Volunteers will identify plants native to California which require less water, fewer pesticides and a safe habitat to native birds and butterflies. Visitors will also enjoy garden tours, hands-on activities, educational speakers, slide presentations, and music.

Two nurseries will be present at the festival, with plants for sale as well as educational information. Regan's Nursery will bring nectar plants, and Douglas-Michele Butterflyplants will have milkweed plants. Both the nectar and milkweed are native to California and attract birds and butterflies. A Master Composter will demonstrate the importance of composting food waste, creating nutrient-rich soil for gardens and landscaping.

Seventy years ago, a hike through the Bay Area hills would likely reveal dozens of species of birds and butterflies. A decrease in open space, as well as climate change, has drastically reduced the number of species living in the area. Today, there is very little diversity left. Through conservation and restoration of natural habitats in landscapes and urban gardens, we can all contribute to bringing back the wide variety of birds and butterflies once found in our area.

A Nectar Garden covers nearly one-fourth of Coyote Hills. The brainchild of Jan Southworth, the garden includes various nectar plans for butterflies and migratory birds like the Marsh Wren, Barn Swallow and Tree Swallow. It is also a photographer's delight, offering opportunities for close encounters with a variety of butterflies and birds. The garden is open year round, and offers continuing projects for school children. It is low maintenance and pesticide-free, making it a safe haven for hummingbirds and song birds to prepare their nests in the spring.

Organizers of the one-day festival anticipate close to 1,000 visitors to the event. Their hope is that as local residents increase their awareness of the environment, the number and species of birds and butterflies living in our own backyard will increase as well.

Butterfly & Bird Festival
Sunday, June 13
10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont
www.ebparks.org
(888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 3220

Festival - free
Parking (car entrance) - $5

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