Astronomically and weather-wise, spring seems to have arrived. And the East Bay Regional Parks have scheduled lots of programs and activities to celebrate.
Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda will "splash into spring" with a whole day of family-friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23. Crafts, games and live music are first on the agenda from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The egg hunt is at 11:30 a.m. Then from 1:30 to 2 p.m. there's a bay diorama program. From 2 to 3 p.m. it's low tide exploration time, and from 3 to 3:30 p.m. the staff feeds the fish in the center's large aquarium.
Splash Into Spring is sponsored by the East Bay Regional Park District, the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department and the Alameda Rotary Club. Admission is free; if it's raining the event will be postponed until March 30. Crab Cove Visitor Center is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. For information, call 510-544-3187.
TAKE THE FAMILY: Family-friendly activities are also on the agenda during the weekend at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley. There's a family nature ramble scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 24, led by naturalist Gail Broesder. It's an easy walk starting at Tilden's Environmental Education Center.
Hard-boil some white or brown eggs ahead of time, then bring them to the center for an egg dyeing session from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. the same day, using natural dyes and hosted by interpretive student aide Morgan Rani Evans. Registration is required for the egg-dyeing program, and there's a fee of $6 per person ($8 for nondistrict residents). To register, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
Then from 2:30 to 4 p.m. March 24, Gail will preside over a program at the adjacent Little Farm, during which you can make a keepsake out of wool, corn and other natural ingredients. The center and farm are at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For details, call 510-544-2233.
SHORELINE STROLL: There's a naturalist-led stroll along San Leandro Bay at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline scheduled for 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 24 with a chance you'll spot lots of shorebirds and other marsh life. The walk is free of charge. Meet at the Tidewater staging area, which is located off Tidewater Avenue in Oakland. For information, call 510-544-3187.
HIKE SUNOL: Women on Common Ground is a hiking series led by naturalist Katie Colbert for women who enjoy the outdoors but have concerns for personal safety.
The group will explore five ponds and their amphibian inhabitants during a 5-mile hike from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 24 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County. The hike is free, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. Sunol has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is staffed.
COUNT THOSE BIRDS: Naturalist Mike Moran continues his series of public-assisted bird-of-prey censuses with a bird-watching walk from 9 to 11:30 a.m. March 28 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo.
Morgan Territory has a large population of hawks and eagles. No experience is necessary; Mike will show you how to identify the birds. The hike is free of charge, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
TRAIL CLOSURES: At Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond, there's a shortcut trail that leads through county-owned land between the park entrance road and the adjacent West County Detention Center. That trail may be closed periodically between now and early July because the Contra Costa County Public Works Department has contracted with Pacific Tree Care Company to work on a landscape restoration project on the county property.
The project consists of restoring trees to the site where a number of non-native eucalyptus trees and vegetation were removed. The area will be replanted with native vegetation to create a buffer between the Point Pinole entrance and the detention center. The landscaping restoration project won't affect vehicle access to the park and is not expected to result in delays along Giant Highway. Work is scheduled to be finished by July 9.
GET HEALTHY: As part of the Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative, the park district sponsored a "Get Active! Youth Creativity" art contest last year for youngsters ages 12 through 18. Entries depicted outdoor recreation in the regional parks.
Selections from the art competition are on display from now through May 31 at Contra Costa County public libraries in San Pablo and El Sobrante. For hours and directions, visit cclib.org/locations or call 510-374-3991 for El Sobrante, 510-374-3998 for San Pablo.
Email Ned MacKay at email@example.com.