Before they learned how to produce metal, people throughout the world made tools out of stone.
Some experienced stone toolmakers will demonstrate this ancient skill at a "knap-in" Aug. 25 and 26 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont in a program hosted by naturalists Dino Labiste and Kristina Parkison.
Knapping has nothing to do with sleep. During informal sessions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the park's visitor center, you can learn how chert, obsidian and other stones were knapped (shaped by striking) into spear points, arrowheads and drills. The visitor center also has great exhibits highlighting the cultures of Central California Indians and the local Ohlone Indians, who have inhabited the region for millennia.
Young children may watch the knapping process; anyone 13 years or older can give knapping a try. If you want to do it, bring leather gloves and protective eyewear.
Coyote Hills is located at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. The "knap-in" is free of charge. For information, call 510-544-3220.
Moon hike: Down at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County, naturalist Katie Colbert has scheduled a wilderness moon hike from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 25 as part of her Women on Common Ground series.
It's for women who enjoy outdoor activities but have concerns for personal safety. This one is a three-mile round
It's free of charge, but reservations are required. Call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 30029.
Astronomy campfire: And Katie will host a campfire program from 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Del Valle Regional Park south of Livermore. It's at the park's campground, but noncampers are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Katie's topic is astronomy. Find out why the year 2012 is important to the traditional Mayan calendar and pick out summer constellations as you duck the falling stars of the weekend's Perseid meteor shower. Bundle up and bring a blanket to lie on after dark.
Del Valle is located at the end of Del Valle Road off Mines Road, about nine miles south of Livermore. There's a fee of $6 per vehicle at the entrance kiosk. Park by the campground store. For information, call 510-544-3249.
Evening stroll: For an evening activity without a campfire, join naturalist Trent Pearce on a two-mile stroll from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Brushy Peak Regional Preserve in Livermore. With luck you may hear owls, frogs and other denizens of the dark.
It's free of charge, part of the park district's Tuesday Twilight series. Meet at the end of Laughlin Road just north of Interstate 580. For information, call 510-544-3285.
Snake show: Naturalist Bob Kanagaki likes to take road trips with reptilian companions. He's bringing his snake show to Martinez Regional Shoreline from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11.
If you'd like to learn more about Bob's captive snakes and their wild cousins, meet him at the picnic area near the park's North Court Street parking lot, just over the railroad tracks from downtown Martinez. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
BIRD WALKS: Naturalist Anthony Fisher has scheduled a series of free bird watching walks this month in the regional parks, all from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays. The first one is Monday at Crockett Hills. Meet at the Crockett Hills Staging Area on Crockett Boulevard in Crockett. The next one will be Aug. 20 at the Albany Bulb. Meet at the end of Buchanan Street in Berkeley. For information, call 510-544-2233.
ROCK WALL TOUR: Mysterious low rock walls can be found in out-of-the-way places within many East Bay regional parks. In the absence of facts, speculation abounds as to their origin and purpose.
Naturalist Morgan Evans will lead a 3.5-mile hike to the walls at Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and discuss various theories along the way. Meet Morgan at the Quarry picnic area on Wildcat Canyon Road. Bring water and a snack to share. For information, call 510-544-2233.
DOG WALK: Your dog might enjoy a walk with you in shady, scenic Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. If you think so, bring the pooch and join naturalist Kristina Parkison there Sunday for a hike from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kristina will provide homemade dog snacks. Participants should bring a picnic lunch. The hike is designed for ages 8 and older (people, that is). It's free, but registration is required. For registration and directions, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 30056.
Cajun fest: Reminder for music lovers: the good times will roll at the Cajun/Zydeco Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard in Fremont.
Tickets at the gate cost $22 for adults, and $5 for ages 4 through 15. It's free for ages 3 and under.
Performers will include Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic, Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band, and Tom Rigney and Flambeau.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.