Search for turkeys, make corn husk dolls at East Bay parks

Search for turkeys, make corn husk dolls at East Bay parks

Search for turkeys, make corn husk dolls at East Bay parks
East Bay Regional Parks has a lot of fun fall activities coming up including searching for wild turkeys, drawing oak trees and making corn husk dolls.

SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY AREA (Nov. 5, 2022) — The Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley harbors a diversity of plants and habitats that are attractive to migratory birds.

Naturalists Paula Urtecho and Melissa Fowlks will lead an easy walk at the garden 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in search of some of the seasonal arrivals. Binoculars will be available for loan.

The free walk will be led in English and Spanish. It’s part of a recurring bilingual program, “People of Color: Walks & Talks.” The 1- to 5-mile walks are great for families. All are welcome.

No registration required. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and dress for the weather. Heavy rain cancels.

Meet at the Botanic Garden entrance at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2527.

More Tilden fun

Fowlks also plans an easy walk in search of wild turkeys in the Tilden Nature Area, 1-2 p.m. Nov. 12. The program will end with a turkey-themed craft.

Or you can join naturalist Anthony Fisher on the back deck of the Visitor Center 2-3 p.m. for an hour of fun. The group may make cordage, start a (small) fire with a hand drill, play games or throw an atlatl.

Both programs are free and registration is not required. Meet for either at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Understanding the mighty oak

Down at Sunol Regional Wilderness, oak trees are the subject of a “Talk ’N’ Draw” session 1-1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, led by naturalist Erica Stephens. The group will draw oak trees step-by-step while learning about the ecosystems that they create.

No registration required. Drawing supplies will be provided, or you can bring your own. All ages are welcome; parents must participate.

Meet at the Sunol Visitor Center, which by the way has been completely renovated. Formerly in a dilapidated state, it now features interactive exhibits showcasing the area’s Native American and ranching history, wildlife research and a kids’ discovery zone with live animals. Exhibits are bilingual in English and Spanish. In general, the center is open 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.

Sunol Regional Wilderness is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. The program is free; parking is $6. For information, call 510-544-3249.

Old-fashioned fun

Folk art is the theme of a program 1:30-2:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

Participants can fashion dolls out of colorful corn husks gleaned from the farm fields, adding corn silk hair, a twig broom or an acorn cap to complete the effect. Naturalist Chris Garcia will preside.

The program is drop-in; all ages welcome. Ardenwood admission fees apply.

Ardenwood recreates life on a prosperous 19th century estate, with all sorts of historic attractions and activities. The park is at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. For information, call 510-544-2797.

Of plants and animals

The plants and animals of Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch will be on display during a series of 2- to 3-mile naturalist-led hikes on some Saturdays in November and December, including 1:30-3:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

It’s drop-in and free of charge, though there’s a $5 parking fee when the kiosk is attended. Minimum age is 4; parent participation required.

Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. Meet at the uppermost parking lot, a mile past the kiosk. For information, call 510-544-2750.

Time to collect some data

“Bio Blitz” is the name of the game 11 a.m.-noon Sunday, Nov. 13, at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

During the community science activity, the idea is to see how many different plants and animals you can find throughout the park. This helps the staff collect meaningful data on species richness and diversity.

Meet supervising naturalist Wyatt Moore at the Visitor Center. The event is open to all levels of expertise; parent participation required.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 510-544-3050.

There’s always something interesting going on in the East Bay Regional Parks. For the full story, visit

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