It's now officially McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
An entrance sign was unveiled in a ceremony Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Berkeley Meadow area on University Avenue and Frontage Road, honoring longtime environmental activist Sylvia McLaughlin.
Speakers included Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who authored the bill for renaming the park, Bob Cheasty and Norman La Force of Citizens for Eastshore State Park, and Sylvia McLaughlin herself.
Emcee was Robert Doyle, general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, which manages the park on behalf of the state. About 100 people attended, including many other residents whose work made preservation of the shoreline park a possibility.
McLaughlin cofounded Save the San Francisco Bay Association in 1961 after she and other community activists became alarmed by indiscriminate filling of the bay, destroying wildlife habitat and eliminating public access.
Subsequently, she cofounded Citizens for East Shore Parks along with Dwight Steele and other community volunteers. During the past 40 years, she has been active in efforts by these two organizations and the Sierra Club to preserve and protect the bay shoreline.
Eastshore State Park extends for 8 ½ miles along the bay front between Oakland and Richmond. It offers hiking and bicycling trails, spectacular views, and areas set aside for wildlife habitat.
Nearby, Coyote Hills Regional Park plans a couple of interesting programs this weekend.
From 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, naturalist Dino Labiste will lead a half-mile walk from the park's visitor center to a reconstructed 2,000-year-old Ohlone village site. The site has a replicated pit house and sweat house.
Along the way, the group will see plants that provided food, medicine and tools for the Indians. Dino's program repeats on Dec. 29.
Then on Sunday Dec. 1, Coyote Hills will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the visitor center, hosted by naturalist Bev Ortiz and friends.
Visitors will be able to make nature-themed gift cards and stocking stuffers, sample hot, spiced apple cider and homemade treats, take tours of the visitor center and its exhibits, watch wildlife videos and go on scavenger hunts with prizes. There will be raffles at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Gift items will be available for sale.
Coyote Hills is located at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the open house is free. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3220.
Bird watchers will enjoy a walk in search of waterfowl from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Waterbird Regional Preserve near Martinez, led by naturalist Eddie Willis.
It's free, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 4257.
Eddie leads another bird walk at the same time on Dec. 15, at Bay Point Regional Shoreline in Bay Point. For that one, refer to program 4258.
If you'd like to burn off some of the calories accumulated during the Thanksgiving Day feast, join naturalist Sara Fetterly for a 2 ½-mile walk from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 29, at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland.
It's short, but a bit strenuous. Meet Sara at Redwood's Skyline Gate staging area on Skyline Boulevard. Rain cancels. For information, call 510-544-3187.
On Sunday, Dec. 1, it's Family Restoration Day at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley. Naturalist James Wilson will host a program from 10:30 a.m. to noon about nature's interrelationships, and coordinate the removal of some invasive plants. The program is free, designed for ages 8 and older.
Meet at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. Because of ongoing construction, you get there by parking at the end of Lone Oak Road off Central Park Drive, and following the directional signs on foot to the center.
For information, call 510-544-2233.
While we're at Tilden, be advised that a wildland fuel reduction project will be underway there from December through the spring of 2014. The plan is to thin eucalyptus, brush and accumulated surface fuels in order to reduce the wildland fire hazard.
The work will take place along Wildcat Canyon Road between the botanic garden and Inspiration Point. In general, work hours will be between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Signs will inform motorists about delays or closures. The project is funded by Measure CC bond revenues and the park district general fund.
For more information you can call the district's fuels reduction information line at 510-690-6612 or visit www.ebparks.org/stewardship/fuelsplan.
Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs highlighting the return of monarch butterflies to Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont continue with slide shows and walks from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30. Meet at the granary.
The butterflies rest in Ardenwood's eucalyptus groves annually from approximately November through January, as part of their multigenerational migratory life cycle.
The phenomenon can be spectacular, as the butterflies cling to the trees like living shingles, occasionally taking flight in clouds of orange and black.
Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. Admission on Nov. 29-30 is $3 for adults and seniors, $2 for children. Parking and the butterfly programs are free. No reservations are required.
For Ardenwood general information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2797.