Welcome the new year at East Bay Parks, from farm walkabouts to King Tide watching

SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY, CA (Dec. 26, 2021) — The New Year in the East Bay Regional Park District continues the welcome trend toward in-person interpretive programs, with some enjoyable activities scheduled for the first weekend in 2022.

For instance, the naturalists at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont plan to start the year with an easy walk around the grounds starting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 1. Enjoy the weather, visit the farm animals, and discover something new at the farm.

Two-mile “Farm Walkabouts” are also scheduled at Ardenwood from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sundays, Jan. 2, 16 and 30. The naturalists will lead a search for interesting plants and wildlife, and tell stories of the people who lived and worked at Ardenwood. Meet at the train station.

And a top-making workshop is on the Ardenwood calendar from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2. Make your own top and complete in a skittles tournament for prizes.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. For information on admission fees and park hours, visit www.ebparks.org or call 510-544-2797.

Naturalist’s Trail

At the Environmental Education Center in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley, there’s a “Naturalist’s Trail” program from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2.

The Tilden naturalists also lead Monday birding walks in various regional parks from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s a great way to get some fresh air with friendly people. The next one is on Jan. 3. Meet in Shimada Friendship Park at the end of Marina Bay Parkway in Richmond.

The EEC is located at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, next to the Little Farm. For information on programs, call 510-544-2233.

While you are at Tilden, the Regional Parks Botanic Garden is a great place to visit. The garden has sections devoted to every botanical region in California, so even in winter, there’s always something in bloom. Garden hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It’s located at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive, next to the Brazil Building. For information, call 510-544-3169.

Rising Tides

King tides are the highest tides of the year, and give us a sense of what may happen in the future as sea levels rise due to climate change.

You can see the results of king tides locally during the first three days of January at Radke Martinez and Bay Point Regional Shorelines on Carquinez Strait in northern and northeastern Contra Costa.

At Martinez the peak of the king tide is at 11:27 a.m. on Jan. 1, 12:18 p.m. on Jan. 2, and 1:10 p.m. on Jan. 3. At Bay Point the peak hours are 11:32 a.m., 12:23 p.m. and 1:16 p.m. respectively.

You can get involved as a citizen scientist to record the king tides with the California King Tides project. For more information, visit coastal.ca.gov/kingtides.

MLK Day of Service

Looking ahead, the park district plans to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by celebrating a 27th annual Day of Service from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 17 at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline in Oakland.

Participants will help to clean up the shoreline and improve wildlife habitat.

Preregistration is required to reserve a time slot for yourself or your group. Details will be available soon at the park district website, www.ebparks.org.

Activities and projects for everyone

Besides the calendar of upcoming events and programs, the park district website is a great source of information for activities and projects that you can enjoy on your own time. And the website has just been redesigned, though the address is the same. So by all means check it out for nature lore, tips on regional park explorations, and more.

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