The autumn cavalcade of special events in the East Bay Regional Parks continues Sunday, Sept. 22 with the Stone Age Olympics and Knap-In at Coyote Hills in Fremont.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can try your hand at lots of prehistoric life skills, such as dart throwing and fire starting, under the guidance of naturalist Dino Labiste. You can also watch skilled knappers turn rocks into functional tools. It all takes place at the park's Dairy Glen campsite.
Coyote Hills is located at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. The event is free, though Coyote Hills has a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 510-544-3220.
Dino will also preside over two ancient skills programs at Coyote Hills on Saturday, Sept. 28. There's a fire-making clinic from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and an atlatl dart-throwing session from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
The fire-making program is designed for ages 16 and older. It's free, but registration is required. Call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 3456.
Atlatl practice is also free, and no registration is required. It's for ages 8 and older; meet at the Hoot Hollow picnic area. Hoot Hollow is located in the back of the Visitor Center, along the Quail Trail. Look for the Hoot Hollow sign. Or ask the staff in the Visitor Center.
Coyote Hills' main event is the Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples on Sunday, Oct. 6. More about that in a future column.
Astronomically speaking, the official end of summer is the autumnal equinox, when the day and night are of equal length. This year the first day of autumn is Sunday, Sept. 22.
The naturalists at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley will mark it that day with a free open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm. It's a chance to pet a chicken, groom a goat, brush a cow, make a craft, and generally celebrate the change of seasons.
From 2 to 3 p.m. there will be a walk from the center led by interpretive student aide Morgan Rani Evans. The group will gather autumn leaves, return to the center, and fashion them into a sun-catcher to take home.
The center and farm are located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Autumn's gold is the theme of a hilly, four-mile hike at Round Valley south of Brentwood from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Sept. 22, led by naturalist Eddie Willis.
It's free, designed for ages 8 and older. Round Valley is a beautiful grassland studded with oak groves, surrounded by high ridges that give it a sense of seclusion. No dogs, please. Dogs are prohibited because the valley is habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox.
Meet at the park's staging area on Marsh Creek Road between Deer Valley Road and Vasco Road in Brentwood. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
The Wednesday Walkers will take on Brushy Peak near Livermore for a four-to-five-mile moderate-to-strenuous hike starting at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 25.
This is a good chance to see a golden eagle. They like it out there, and I've seen an eagle almost every time I've visited the park.
To get there, take the Vasco Road exit from Interstate 580 in Livermore. Head north toward Brentwood, but immediately after the 580 overpass, turn right on Northfront Road. In about a mile, turn left on Laughlin Road and drive to the end.
For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3241.
There's a fun-sounding overnight campout scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, at Lake Del Valle south of Livermore, part of the park district's "Living With the Earth" program series.
Led by naturalist Cat Taylor, the group will gaze at the full moon and Orionid meteor shower, and gather around a campfire.
Campers supply gear and a potluck dish; there's a ¾-mile walk to the campsite with shuttles available for gear transport.
There's a fee of $18 for the program ($20 for nondistrict residents), and registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 3717.
Ned MacKay writes about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.
Insects are on the agenda for Family Nature Fun Hour, which is from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22 at Crab Cove Visitor Center at Crown Beach in Alameda. The free program will explore many different kinds of insects and how they live.
Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.
By the way, the sand replenishment project at Crown Beach is now underway. Contractors are pumping sand onto the beach from offshore barges to replace sand that has been lost to years of storms and erosion.
During the project, sections of the beach will be closed to all public access. For your own safety, please abide by any signs, barriers or instructions from park staff and workers.