Park It by Ned MacKay: Monarch butterfly programs

Although monarch butterflies have not arrived in great numbers this year to spend the winter at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, park naturalists are still offering programs highlighting the amazing insects, with emphasis on how their numbers can be preserved and increased.

Monarch spotting programs are scheduled from 2 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Feb. 2, Sundays through Jan. 27, and from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Sundays, Jan. 13 and 20. Meet at the greenhouse.

“Marvelous Monarchs,” a slide show and walk to the eucalyptus grove where the monarchs cluster is at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 2. Meet at the granary.

In early February, the butterflies leave to resume their multi-generational migratory life cycle. “Farewell to the Monarchs” is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3 with naturalist Mindy Castle and the interpretive staff. Learn about how to protect the insects and make a monarch butterfly craft to take home. Meet at the granary.

Monarch butterflies live exclusively on milkweed. From 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Feb. 10 and again from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 17, there’s a program at the greenhouse during which you can obtain some milkweed seeds to take home for your own garden.

Ardenwood is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84 (the Dumbarton Bridge approach). For more information on park programs and entry fees, call 510-544-2797. Parking is free.

* *

Hummingbirds are the stars of a program from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, with naturalist Kristina Parkison and photographer Don Jedlovec.

Don will show photos, stop-motion video and techniques for capturing amazing images of the “flying jewels.”

Designed for ages 12 and older, the program is free, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 23495.

Kristina and Don also will host a sunrise photography program at Coyote Hills from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, also for ages 12 and up. Registration is required; refer to program 23515. Both programs are free.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For general information, call 510-544-3220.

* * *

Over at Sunol Regional Wilderness, the interpretive staff hosts “Wild Wonders” from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in January and February, with games, activities and explorations on a different topic each week.

Sunol is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road, about five miles south of I-680 in southern Alameda County. Call 510-544-3249.

* * *

“Wonderful Watershed: Tree to Sea” is the theme of Family Nature Fun from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12 and 13 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. There’s a new program at that same time each week.

Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. Call 510-544-3187.

* * *

Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder plans a nature walk at a different regional park from 9 a.m. to noon every Sunday in January, for ages eight and older. Wear hiking shoes and bring a snack to share.

The hike on Sunday, Jan. 13 starts at the Lone Oak picnic area in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley.

Gail also will lead a Wednesday Walk starting at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at Carquinez Shoreline in Martinez, climbing to views of the town and the strait. Meet at the Nejedly Staging Area on Carquinez Scenic Drive just west of town.

Rain or muddy conditions will cancel the hikes.

For more information on either hike, call 510-544-2233.

* * *

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is the mantra for a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The interpretive staff will show how you can reuse common household items, and provide hints for recycling and reducing waste.

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

* * *

No matter the season, there’s always a lot to see and do in the East Bay Regional Parks. For full listings, visit the website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *