By NED MACKAY
East Bay Regional Parks
The rites of spring will be celebrated in style during May Day open house, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at the Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley.
Festivities will include maypoles, bubble blowing and spring-themed crafts for the whole family. The Berkeley Morris Dancers will perform rites of May dances from 11 a.m. to noon. It’s all free of charge.
Activities will take place in and around the Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive.
And that’s not all. A whole series of programs based at the center are scheduled during the month.
Naturalist Anthony Fisher will host “insect parties” from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday, May 4 through 25. It’s a weekly exploration of insect life in ponds, streams and fields, followed by viewing live insects through a microscope.
After that, you can help Anthony feed the animals and close the Little Farm for the day, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Saturday in May.
And Tilden’s interpretive staff hosts “Talk With The Animals” programs from 11 to 11:30 a.m. every Sunday in May and June at the Little Farm, next door to the center.
Learn how the farm and nature area animals move, find their food, and keep safe from predators. A different animal is featured each week.
For information on any of these programs, call 510-544-2233.
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“Family Nature Fun” is the theme of programs from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in May and June at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. There’s a new topic and nature craft every week.
Then from 3 to 3:30 p.m. visitors can watch the staff feed the crabs and fish in the center’s large aquarium.
Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.
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“Discovery Days” is a recurring program of hands-on nature exploration for the entire family, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.
You can come to the visitor center at 11 a.m. for an introduction to the topic of the week, or drop in any time during the day to participate at your own pace. Parent participation is required.
And naturalist Francis Mendoza will lead an ethnobotany hike from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 5. It’s a moderate, two-mile walk to learn how native Californians managed the land through burning, pruning and cultivation. Ages 12 and older, please.
Francis also plans a program highlighting the Ohlone people and their culture, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 and again May 19. He will discuss the Ohlone’s intimate relation with nature, family and their ancestors. The program is for ages eight and older.
Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the programs are free of charge. Meet at the visitor center. For information, call 510-544-3220.
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Butterflies are the focus of a program from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 4 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch.
Naturalist Kevin Dixon will discuss where butterflies spend the winter and when they return in the spring. The program repeats at the same time on May 11 at Diablo Foothills in Walnut Creek and on May 18 at Carquinez Strait in Martinez.
The hikes involve moderate distances with possible steep terrain. All are for ages eight and older. Bring binoculars if you have them.
For the Black Diamond Mines program, meet Kevin at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. For information on any of the three programs, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
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Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley offers “Delta Discoveries” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, with hands-on arts and crafts activities highlighting the Delta’s natural history.
And visitors can help staff to test the Delta water from 9 to 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Results go into a regional database used by scientists and water managers.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050 for information.