Expanding its health-oriented partnerships with other public service organizations, the East Bay Regional Park District has applied for a Community Transformation Grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Grant money would be used to establish the "Get Outdoors! (GO!) Network for Kids Health," a multiagency collaboration led by the park district. Partners in the network would be the Oakland and West Contra Costa unified school districts, the Alameda County Office of Education, EcoVillage (a project of Earth Island Institute), Children's Hospital & Research Center of Oakland and UC Berkeley's Atkins Center for Weight and Health.
The district already partners with the Kaiser Permanente HMO in its "Healthy Parks-Healthy People" program. So the GO! Network would link three sectors to work together for better public health -- the health care system, school system and a public park agency. The impetus for the proposal is data showing that a large percentage of fifth- and seventh-graders in the Oakland and Richmond schools are at high risk in terms of obesity.
The agencies would team up to increase awareness of the health benefits of outdoor recreation, reduce barriers to park access, encourage healthy lifestyles and generally get the kids outdoors in the parks.
The group is seeking a $2.6 million grant and hopes to hear the result by the end of September.
A draft master plan has been prepared in consultation with a variety of interested organizations and individuals. Input from the general public will be sought in a series of six meetings at locations throughout the two-county district.
The first meeting is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Trudeau Training Center, 11500 Skyline Blvd. in Oakland. The second is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle.
More information on the master plan and the schedule of subsequent meetings can be obtained at the park district website, www.ebparks.org.
COASTAL CLEANUP: Shoreline parks, lakes and creeks of the East Bay Regional Park District will get their share of attention during the 28th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 15. Volunteers collect literally tons of trash, debris and shoreline flotsam that presents dangers to wildlife.
Volunteers ages 6 and older are welcome at cleanup sites throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. They will be briefed at each site about how to deal with debris that appears to be from the Japanese tsunami.
Parking and entrance fees are waived that day, but registration is required in order to volunteer. For information or registration, visit the park district website at www.ebparks.org or call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.
APPLE FESTIVAL: Garin Regional Park in Hayward has a unique attraction -- an apple orchard maintained by volunteers where delicious antique apple varieties are preserved that can be found almost nowhere else and definitely not at mainstream supermarkets.
All things apple-related are celebrated in the annual Garin Apple Festival, which this year will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Music, dancing, crafts, fresh-pressed apple cider, hand-cranked ice cream and tours of the orchard are all part of the old-fashioned fun.
The park is at the end of Garin Avenue off Mission Boulevard in Hayward. Epicenter of the festival is the Red Barn Visitor Center, which contains memorabilia from Hayward's ranching and farming heritage. Parking costs $5 per vehicle. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, call 510-544-3220.
SNAKE SHOW: Naturalist Bob Kanagaki will take his reptilian friends on another road trip Saturday, this time to Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch. From 10:30 a.m. to noon he'll be in the area of the swim lagoon with a portable terrarium of snakes.
The free program is designed for ages 7 and older. Contra Loma is at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle.
OWL YOU LEARN?: Owls and their food preferences will be the topic of a program from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, led by naturalist Eddie Willis. The group will find out about the birds' diet by picking through owl pellets.
Meet Eddie at the Greathouse Visitor Center. It's underground, just up the hill from the Somersville town site picnic area. Follow the signs from the parking lot.
Black Diamond Mines is located at the end of Somersville Road, four miles south of Highway 4. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the entrance kiosk is staffed. Eddie's program is free. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
FREE BEE PROGRAM: Bees are fascinating insects that play a vital role in sustaining our environment. In celebration of National Honey Month, naturalist Morgan Rani Evans will host a free program from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Environmental Education Center of Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills. After a talk about bees and their life cycle, Morgan will lead the group to the center's Kid's Garden to see the bees that live and work there.
The center is at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
ALAMEDA WALK: Alameda's colorful history will be recounted during a free bayside stroll from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Crab Cove Visitor Center, 1252 McKay Ave. in Alameda, led by Victoria Baird.
If you come, you're welcome to bring your own photos, memorabilia or personal stories of life in the town. For information, call 510-544-3187.
SUNOL HIKE: There's an easy half-mile walk scheduled from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County, led by Nancy Ceridwyn and designed for seniors ages 50 and older.
The group will visit a meadow where Native Americans may have gathered. The program is free of charge, but registration is required. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2 and refer to program 30154.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.