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Flower festival at Sunol

By NED MacKAY
Special to the Tribune

The hills are alive with wildflowers, and Sunol Regional Wilderness will highlight them during its annual Spring Wildflower Festival.

It’s scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9, and it’s bound to be a great show this year, thanks to all the rain.

Attractions will include naturalist-led wildflower hikes, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and lots of nature-themed activities for young and old alike.

Sunol Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 in southern Alameda County. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the festival is free of charge. For information, call (510) 544-3249.

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Another great wildflower venue is Morgan Territory Regional Preserve on the east side of Mt. Diablo. Naturalist Kevin Dixon will lead a wildflower hike there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.

This is a moderately strenuous hike of about 5 miles with some steep sections, designed for ages 10 and older. Meet at the park’s staging area on Morgan Territory Road. Bring a snack to share, water and your lunch.  Binoculars, a magnifier, and a camera may come in handy, too.

By the way, a landslide has closed Morgan Territory Road about a mile south of the intersection with Marsh Creek Road in Clayton. The slide won’t be repaired any time soon, so at present the only way to reach the preserve is from the Livermore side of Morgan Territory Road.

For information on Kevin’s hike, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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Lizards are leapin’ at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. Naturalist Francis Mendoza will lead a safari in search of them from 1:30-3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9. It’s an easy, 1½-mile walk during which the group will look for blue bellies and alligator lizards. And Francis will reveal how the reptiles help to combat tick-borne Lyme disease.

The walk is for ages eight and older. Meet Francis at the park visitor center.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per car. Francis’s walk is free.

Francis also plans a hike from 9-11:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 9 at Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park in Union City. It’s a short, three-miler, but with some steep grades. Ages 15 and up, please.

During the hike, Francis will talk about the overland expedition from Mexico to California led by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776, and how it impacted the native peoples of the Bay Area.

For the hike, meet Francis at the park’s May Road Staging Area off Mission Boulevard.

For more information on hike, call (510) 544-3220.

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Eggs and the animals that produce them are the topic during Family Nature Fun Hour from 2-3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9, at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. After that it’s fish feeding time from 3-3:30 p.m. at the visitor center aquarium.

Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. There’s a $5 parking fee at the center lot; admission to the center is free. For information, call (510) 544-3187.

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You can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, but it’s not easy to do. Naturalist Anthony Fisher will show that and other ancient fire-starting techniques in a program from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in the Environmental Education Center at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Drop by any time that afternoon to try your hand at it.

And from 3-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a short walk from the center in search of frogs, salamanders and lizards.

The center is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive. For information on either program, call (510) 544-2233.

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Farmers used to grow asparagus at what is now a flooded area of Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The interpretive staff will lead a walk from 2-3 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, to explore the park’s past.

Big Break is on Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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