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Johnny Appleseed Day approaches

By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune

Johnny Appleseed isn’t just a figment of American folklore; he was an actual person.

His real name was John Chapman. Born in 1774 in Pennsylvania, he became a pioneer nurseryman as an adult, establishing apple tree nurseries in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and other states. He was also a missionary for the Swedenborgian Church.

According to contemporary accounts he lived a very simple life, often sleeping in the woods or receiving a night’s lodging with farmers in exchange for his storytelling and proselytizing.

Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont will celebrate his life during Johnny Appleseed Day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 12, organized by naturalist Christina Garcia.

It’s a chance to learn more about Johnny, the history of apple cultivation, and taste a variety of delicious apples. Other activities will include tree planting, apple cider pressing, and crafts for kids.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. Admission is $3 for adults and seniors, $2 for children ages 4-17. Parking is free. For information, call (510) 544-2797.

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Family friendly “Discovery Days” are from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in and around the visitor center at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. There’s always a presentation at 10:30 a.m. on the topic of the week, but you can drop in any time for nature exploration and crafts.

The Coyote Hills naturalists also will conduct tours of the park’s reconstructed 2,000-year-old Ohlone Indian village site from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, and Sundays, March 19 and April 16. It’s a half-mile walk through marshland to see a shade structure, pit house and sweat house.

Coyote Hills is located at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. The activities are free; there’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call (510) 544-3220.

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Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda will celebrate fishing in San Francisco Bay with a “Catch of the Day” cavalcade from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. There will be a behind-the-scenes aquarium tour from 11-11:45 a.m., a fishing clinic from noon to 3 p.m. (gear provided), fish cooking demonstrations in the afternoon, family nature fun from 2-3 p.m., fish feeding at the aquarium from 3-3:30 p.m., and a low tide walk from 4:30-6 p.m.

Crab Cove is located at the bay end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. There’s limited parking at the visitor center, and more parking at the Crown Beach lot at Westline and Otis drives. Both cost $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is attended. For information, call (510) 544-3187.

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All sorts of activities are scheduled during the March 11-12 weekend at the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Here’s a rundown:

Interpretive student aide Sharona Kleinman will help visitors to create their own rain sticks in a program from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday. She’ll offer water conservation tips, too.

Tiny wildlife will be collected and put under the microscope in a program from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, led by naturalist Trent Pearce.

Then from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will lead an ascent of Wildcat Peak. Bring a snack and water for the climb from the center to the summit for panoramic views.

Gail also will lead an easier walk from 2-3 p.m. Sunday, a stroll from the center to Jewel Lake in search of local wildlife.

Or you can take in a recycling puppet show at the center from 1-2 p.m. Sunday, featuring Sharona and Dante the Dragon.

The center is located at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, which you can reach via Canon Drive from Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. For information, call (510) 544-2233.

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There are lots of other programs planned this spring in the regional parks. Find out more by visiting the district website at www.ebparks.org.

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