Froggy friends and nature photo clinics among Pi Day park activities

In my last column I urged park visitors to carry out and recycle plastic water bottles that they bring into East Bay Regional Parks and other open spaces, instead of just discarding them.

The park district is going a step further, encouraging people to reduce plastic use by bringing along non-disposable water bottles when they visit parklands. To help with this, the district is in the process of installing water bottle refilling stations at a number of regional parks.

There’s more: the district is starting a pilot program to expand recycling and enable food scrap composting. This consists of placing three-stream compost/recycle/landfill containers at various parks. Compost includes food scraps and food-soiled paper/cardboard. Recycling includes clean paper and cardboard in addition to bottles and cans.

Look for the new containers at Anthony Chabot, Briones, Robert Crown, Diablo Foothills, Garin, Lake Chabot, Sibley and Tilden Nature Area.

Pi Day hike

Mathematicians among us recognize March 14 (3.14) as Pi Day, an occasion to celebrate a mathematical constant: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

At Sunol Regional Wilderness, naturalist Erica Stephens will observe the day by leading a hike from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to the high valley barn, where a pie treat awaits.

The hike is for ages seven and older and there’s a fee of — what else — $3.14. Registration is required. Call 888-327-2757 and select option 2.

And all ages will enjoy a Froggy Friends hike from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 at Sunol with naturalist Alex Collins. The program will include family-friendly frog activities.

The park also has three recurring programs each weekend. Animal feeding time is from 10:30 to 11 a.m. every Sunday through April 26 inside the visitor center. Nature crafts are from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday and Sunday through March 22. And Wild Wonders, a program of games, activities and explorations, is from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through March 22.

Sunol Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. The recurring programs are all free. Call 510-544-3249.

Flowers and frogs

Photographers will enjoy a flower photography program from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 14 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, led by photographer Don Jedlovec and naturalist Kristina Parkison. It’s twofold: get tips on getting professional-grade images of flowers in the park’s butterfly garden, and learn how to attract bird and insect pollinators to your own garden.

The program is for ages 12 and up. It’s free, but registration is required. Call 888-327-2757, select option 2 and refer to program number 28116.

Frogs and other amphibians are the focus of a program at Coyote Hills from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 with naturalist Dino Labiste. It’s a walk from the visitor center to the marsh and a chance to make a frog craft to take home.

Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. Call 510-544-3220.

Nature photography clinic

Frogs and photography are also on the agenda at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will lead a search of the nature area ponds for wet wildlife. It’s from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 14.

And naturalist Anthony Fisher plans a nature photography clinic with your camera or mobile phone, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 15.

Both programs meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.

Along came a spider

Spiders are the subject of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. You can learn about the eight-leggers and join in some arachnid-themed activities.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

This is just a sample. It’s springtime and there are lots of programs on the calendar in the regional parks. For full information, visit the website,

Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at