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November 28, 2017 > Park It

Park It

Submitted By Ned MacKay

Butterflies are back: ItÕs monarch butterfly season again at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, and it looks like the little guys have returned in force. A recent count estimated that 1,500 of the beautiful insects are resting in the parkÕs eucalyptus groves, with more probably on the way. The naturalist staff has scheduled a whole series of monarch-viewing programs, Thursdays through Sundays in December. For instance, meet at the farmÕs greenhouse at 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. any Saturday in December, or Sundays, Dec. 3 and 17. There are also programs at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, 24, and 31. The milkweed plants in the greenhouse are home to monarch eggs and caterpillars. From there you can walk to the groves to see the adults. ItÕs worth the effort Ð one of natureÕs more beautiful spectacles.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. For more information on all the monarch programs, call the park at 510-544-2797, or visit the East Bay Regional Park District web site,


Healthy Parks Healthy People is a monthly program through which the Park District and other agencies encourage everyone to improve health and well-being through moderate outdoor activity. There are two Healthy Parks activities on the December schedule at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, led by naturalist Dino Labiste and the naturalist staff.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 2, Dino will lead a leisurely stroll along the marsh, the bay and across the hills, designed for ages eight and up. And from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, the interpreters will lead an easy, mile-long walk while discussing the connection between healthy wetlands, healthy people, and a healthy curiosity.

Both walks are free of charge. Meet at the parkÕs visitor center, which is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. ThereÕs a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 510-544-3220.


Healthy Parks walks are also scheduled on Dec. 2 at two other regional parks. ThereÕs one from 6 to 8 a.m. (thatÕs right!) at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland Hills, led by naturalist Morgan Dill. Bring a flashlight, meet at the park entrance for a two-mile walk to greet the dawn. Sibley is on Skyline Boulevard a short distance south of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard. Call 510-544-3187 for information.

The other walk is from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline in Martinez, led by naturalist Kevin Dixon. The shoreline is a gold mine of natural and cultural history. Meet at the parkÕs parking lot off North Court Street. For information and directions,, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.


Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley has lots of activities planned the first weekend in December. Bring your own mug for a fireside cup of coffee with naturalist Trent Pearce from 10 to 11 a.m. every Saturday in December. Trent will give updates on wildlife sightings, native plants and trail conditions. And from 2 to 3 p.m. Dec. 2, interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will show visitors how to weave dream catchers to hold good dreams and keep out bad ones. Then sheÕll tell some traditional stories about the night sky. From 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, itÕs jolly holly craft time with naturalist ÒTrail GailÓ Broesder. You can take a quick walk with Gail, then work on a craft to deck your own halls.

All three programs meet at the Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of TildenÕs Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.


You can greet the dawn with dawn chorus yoga from 7 to 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Bring a yoga mat if you have one, and wear warm, comfortable layers of clothing. Meet at the visitor center. The park is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street in Oakley. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.


Wednesday Walks are a series of naturalist-led explorations of various regional parks, and all levels of hiking ability are welcome. Naturalist Christina Garcia will lead a moderately strenuous five-mile Wednesday Walk from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo. Meet at the park entrance on Morgan Territory Road about 9? miles south of the intersection with Marsh Creek Road in Clayton. That end of Morgan Territory Road has just reopened after months of work to repair landslide damage. For information, call 510-544-3282.


There are lots of other activities planned in December in the regional parks. Visit the district web site, for details.

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