As the site of a Tuibun Ohlone Native American village that existed for 2,000 years before the arrival of Europeans in the Bay Area, Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont is a center for preservation of ancient cultural resources and the interpretation of Ohlone cultures past to present.

It all culminates in the annual Gathering of Ohlone Peoples, which takes place this year from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the park's visitor center. It's coordinated by naturalist Bev Ortiz and the park's interpretive staff. Ohlones will share their culture and history, demonstrating basketry, jewelry, soaproot brush and dogbane string making. Visitors can join in an Ohlone game, make fire without matches or put together a miniature tule boat.

Native plant teas, Manzanita cider and acorn soup cooked with heated stones in a basket all will be available for tasting. Coyote Hills is located at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway, north of Highway 84. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the gathering is free of charge. For information, call 510-544-3220.

In the weeks after the gathering, Coyote Hills will continue its ongoing series of programs led by naturalist Dino Labiste, demonstrating skills that were a part of early peoples' everyday life for millennia.


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Cordage making will be the focus of a program from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Learn how to twist, twine or braid plant fibers into cordage used for dozens of purposes. The activity is designed for ages 9 and older. It's free, but registration is required. Cordage also was used to make knotless net bags. Dino will teach that skill in a program from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., also on Oct. 12. This one is for ages 18 and older; there's a fee of $6 ($8 for nondistrict residents).

Then from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 19, Dino will conduct a session on flintknapping, the art of turning an obsidian flake into a cutting tool or arrowhead. It's free, but registration is required and participants must be 18 or older. For registration and information on any of these three programs, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For cordage making, refer to program 3457. For netted bags, the number is 3458, and for flintknapping it's 3459.

BIG BREAK: The interpretive staff at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley is hosting a series of 30-minute discussions on the many current issues affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The next one is from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. It's free of charge, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 3895. Big Break is located at 69 Big Break Road. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

CRAB COVE: Shorebirds and ducks on the bay will be the focus of the Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Crab Cove Visitor Center on Crown Beach in Alameda. Binoculars will be available to loan for up-close viewing.

In addition, Sharon Nelson-Embry, Crab Cove's supervising naturalist, will lead bird-watching walks from 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday. Families and beginners are welcome. Crab Cove is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. The programs are free. For information, phone 510-544-3187.

When you're visiting Crown Beach, remember that there's a beach restoration project in progress there. Sand is being pumped onto the shore from barges to replace beach that was lost to erosion. Construction zones are fenced off, but please abide by any directions from workers or park staff.

LAKE TEMESCAL: Saturday and Sunday Strolls are free, family-friendly walks led by naturalists to explore various regional parks.

There's one from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Temescal in Oakland. It's an easy, mile-long walk around the lake, which was Oakland's first water reservoir. Meet at the park's Broadway Terrace staging area. For information, call 510-544-3187.

TILDEN: The secret life of the wood rat will be disclosed in a revealing program from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley, led by interpretive student aide Morgan Rani Evans.

The program is free of charge. Join Morgan at the Environmental Education Center at the north end of Central Park Drive for a short stroll in search of wood rat nests. For information, call 510-544-2233. By the way, remember that there will be a major sewer construction and upgrading project under way at the Tilden Nature Area from now through February. During this time, several areas will be closed to the public: the Little Farm, Indian Camp parking lot, picnic areas, play structure and restroom.

Visitors will have pedestrian access to the center through the Indian Camp Parking lot. The center plans to remain open to walk-in visitors from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and nature interpretive programs will continue.

Point Pinole: Free food, live music and all kinds of family-friendly activities will be on tap at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.

Attractions will include nature walks, pony rides, Zumba, fishing exhibits, and a tractor-drawn choo-choo train for the little kids. Clarence Van Hook will play the blues, Claudie Cuentos will share Latin rhythms and Hector Lugo will lead a drumming circle. There will be free bike helmets for children. The free food menu includes burritos and salads.

Sponsors of the event are the park district, North Richmond Open Space Alliance, Sierra Club, San Pablo Economic Development Corporation and the city of Richmond. Point Pinole is located on Giant Highway off Richmond Parkway.

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at nedmackay@comcast.net.