The mighty oak, that East Bay native tree that grew from that little acorn, is threatened by a fungus-like water mold known as sudden oak death.

There is no cure for the condition, which researchers believe is spread by infected bay trees, but vigilant tracking of the condition of trees can slow its spread. Tracking will be the aim of a two-day survey by volunteers on April 27 and 28 and the public is invited to be part of the "blitz" assessing the condition of coast live oaks.

A pair of one-hour training sessions to prepare volunteers for the blitz will be held on April 27. Bill Hudson will lead a session at 10 a.m. in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library, 26 Orinda Way. To register send an email to wllhh@ymail.com.

The second session will be at 1 p.m. on the UC Berkeley campus and registration and other details are online at www.sod2013.eventzilla.net.

After the training, participants can choose their own schedule and locations to collect suspect leaves in public areas or even your own back yard. Samples, along with notation of where they were collected, should be turned in at a designated drop box by morning on April 29.

Samples will then be analyzed in a laboratory and the results, which will be made public in early fall, will go a long way in helping determine where the condition has spread -- and where it hasn't.

Blitz co-sponsors -- including Friends of Five Creeks (f5creeks@aol.com), Friends of Sausal Creek (coordinator@sausalcreek.org), and Garber Park Stewards (garberparkstewards@gmail.com) -- can suggest survey routes most likely to fit a volunteer's walking abilities.

Training is also available on how to deal with sudden oak death.

To learn more visit nature.berkeley.edu/garbelotto/english/sodblitzparticipate.php.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: The legendary garden created by the late Harland Hand at his hillside home in El Cerrito will be part of the East Bay Area Open Day tour being held by The Garden Conservancy on May 11. From the tour description: "This half-acre garden sits on a steep hillside with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay. Designed and built by Harland Hand (1922-1998) whose house was inspired by the Sierra Mountains. He sculpted concrete steps, paths and pools with dramatic color combinations of plants."

Private gardens in Albany, El Cerrito and Oakland that are not usually open to the public are on this year's tour. Details and tickets: www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays/ or 888-842-2442.

  • If you haven't caught or participated in an outing of that rolling celebration known as the East Bay Bike Party, your next chance is at 8 p.m. April 12, when the party will set out from the Ashby BART station. The theme of the ride is "Grease," as in the musical movie/stage tribute to the 1950s. The lighted, decorated, musical two-wheel procession will go to the Trumer Pils Brewery at 1404 Fourth St. for a Rock the Bike dance party and show. Details: eastbaybikeparty.wordpress.com.

  • Susan Hampton will lead a free El Cerrito Trail Trekkers woodland hike in the Hillside Nature Area in El Cerrito at 10 a.m. April 14. Meet at the Schmidt Lane entrance to the nature area, just west of Navellier Street.

  • The El Cerrito Historical Society is seeking narrative stories, memories and memorabilia from the original incarnation of El Cerrito Plaza. Anyone willing to share photos, stories or artifacts can contact Dave Weinstein at 510-524-1737 or davidsweinstein@yahoo.com.

  • The Saint Mary's College High School drama students will present the musical comedy "Hairspray!" at 7 p.m. April 19, 20, 26 and 27 in the school auditorium, 1294 Albina Ave. in Berkeley. Tickets available at the door.

    Details: www.saintmaryschs.org.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway.