Park It: Bioblitz

East Bay Regional Parks

The East Bay Regional Park District is looking for volunteers who would like to become community scientists for the day on Sunday, April 28, documenting biodiversity in any of three regional parklands.

Two of the “bioblitz” programs will be led by naturalist Trent Pearce. One is from 10 a.m. to noon starting at the Heavenly Ridge staging area at Sobrante Ridge in El Sobrante. The other is from 1 to 3 p.m. starting at the steam train overflow lot in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley.

The third “bioblitz”, led by naturalist Morgan Guenther, is from 1 to 3 p.m. at Crab Cove in Alameda. Since it involves shoreline low tide activity, rain boots are recommended.

Volunteers must have a camera or smartphone. You can register for the day, then attend one or two sessions as desired.

The programs are all free, but registration is required. For registration and more information, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For Sobrante Ridge, refer to program number 24823. For Tilden, refer to 24824, and for Crab Cove, 24120.

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Speaking of Crab Cove, there’s a mid-morning bird walk from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 27, at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at Crown Beach, led by naturalist Susan Ramos.

Spring is a good time to see shorebirds, when their colorful plumage makes them easier to identify. Beginning birders are welcome; binoculars will be available for loan.

Meet Susan at the observation platform near the end of Broadway in Alameda. For information, call 510-544-3187.

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“Coco” is the featured film for a free outdoor movie night scheduled from 8 to 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley.

It’s a beautifully animated, family-friendly film based on the Mexican “Day of the Dead” tradition.

The park entrance is on Lake Chabot Road just north of town. It’s best to arrive early to secure a good seat. Bring a flashlight, warm clothes and a blanket or chair for sitting. Snacks and hot drinks will be available for purchase. No pets, please. Rain cancels. For information, call 510-544-2567.

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Historic Rose Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for many of the 19th century miners and their families who lived and worked at what is now Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.

You can learn many of their stories by joining naturalist Eddie Willis for an old-time cemetery picnic from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28.

Pack a picnic and blanket for a half-mile uphill hike and afternoon tea at the cemetery. Victorian or steampunk outfits are encouraged.

The program is for ages 10 and older. Meet Eddie in the parking lot at the upper end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. Black Diamond has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; Eddie’s program is free. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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While we’re at Black Diamond Mines, the wildflower displays are especially beautiful there this year. For a visual treat, walk up the hill on the Manhattan Canyon Trail from the Nortonville Trail. There’s lots of filaree, Indian paintbrush and black sage, plus great views of the Somersville town site below.

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The staff at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley plans a series of great programs to round out the month.

Ladybugs are the focus from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27. Farmers love the insects’ ferocious appetites; birds can’t stand their taste.

Nature journaling is on the agenda from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. The group will observe, draw, and write down what is seen, heard and smelled in the park.

And Tuesday, April 30 is All Abilities Day, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors can explore nature at their own pace and in their own way. Travel along paved paths to touch fur, listen to birds, draw wildlife, or sit on benches to scan the water or paint the view.

Drop in any time during the day. There will be both indoor and outdoor options, all wheelchair accessible.

Big Break is located at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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There’s always lots to see and do in the regional parks, especially in springtime. For complete information, visit the web site,

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