By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune
There’s lots of variety in the free public programs scheduled in coming days at Tilden Nature area near Berkeley.
First on the agenda is “Soapy Suds, DIY Cleaning Supplies,” from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, hosted by interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker.
Brianna will show visitors how to use natural materials to mix up some cleaning potions that smell great. You can also learn how soap works, what chemicals to avoid in your household cleaning supplies, and take home recipes to make your own cleansers.
Hikers will enjoy a lake-to-lake watershed walk from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, led by naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder. Along the way Gail will point out some hidden waterfalls and talk about how the East Bay Regional Park District got started way back in 1934. Tilden was one of the original parks.
Then from 2-3 p.m. the same day, Gail will guide visitors in making miniature boats out of tule reeds. The reeds were used in many ways by California Indians. The program includes testing to see if the mini-boats will float.
All three programs meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call (510) 544-2233.
Mammals, a species that includes us humans, are the focus of Family Nature Fun Hour from 2-3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26, at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. Games, crafts and special treats all carry out the theme. Fun Hour is scheduled every weekend, with a different topic each time.
After Fun Hour it’s always feeding time from 3-3:30 p.m. at the center’s large aquarium, which contains examples of the fish that inhabit San Francisco Bay.
Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call (510) 544-3187.
Budding birders ages seven and older will enjoy a program from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 25 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, led by naturalist Kristina Parkison. Kristina will lead activities to help the kids learn the basics of bird identification.
Kristina plans a native people’s nature walk from 1-2:30 p.m. the same day, also for ages seven and older. She’ll discuss Native American knowledge of plants and animals, and the group will play some Ohlone Indian games.
Meet at Coyote Hills’ visitor center. It’s at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call (510) 544-3220.
There’s a really scenic, easy walking trail at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, overlooking the bridge, the strait and Port Costa. Naturalist Virginia Delgado will lead a 1½-mile stroll along it from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 25, designed for ages six and older.
Meet at the Bull Valley Staging Area. It’s on Carquinez Scenic Drive just east of the town of Crockett. For information and directions, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
Naturalist Mike Moran has been collecting data for years on the raptor population in East Contra Costa, and you can help him.
Mike will lead one of his raptor baseline hikes from 9-11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 30, at Round Valley Regional Preserve south of Brentwood. No experience is necessary; Mike will show how to identify the hawks, falcons and eagles.
The hike is free of charge, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 15906.
And remember, more information on these and lots of other park district programs is available at the district web site, www.ebparks.org.