Hiking opportunities abound, and free, guided nature walks for all ages are scheduled in the East Bay Regional Parks during the coming week. To mention a few of the times and places:

Sibley Regional Preserve, Oakland's backyard volcano, is the destination for a nature hike from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, led by naturalist "Trail Gail" Broesder. Meet at the park's staging area on Skyline Boulevard just east of the intersection with Grizzly Peak Boulevard. The hike is on, rain or shine. Bring water and a snack to share

Naturalist Sara Fetterly will lead one of her Saturday Strolls from 10 a.m. to noon this weekend at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. This is a bit more than a stroll -- it's a moderate, 4.25-mile loop through the redwoods on the Golden Spike and West Ridge trails. Meet at the Big Bear Gate staging area, which is on the right side of Redwood Road about 2 miles east down the hill from the intersection with Skyline Boulevard.

Bird watchers can enjoy a level, 2-mile walk from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. All levels of bird expertise are welcome. There's a variety of bird habitat, which should make for good sightings. If you go, remember that the tunnel from Point Richmond is closed for repairs, so you have to detour via Western or Seacliff drives. Then meet in the parking lot on the Bay side of Dornan Drive, closest to the tunnel.


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At Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, naturalist Eddie Willis will lead a hike from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday in search of early wildflowers along the Chaparral Loop and Manhattan Canyon trails. Eddie's hike is geared for ages 8 and older. Meet him at the uppermost parking lot on Somersville Road, 5 miles south of Highway 4.

Also on Sunday, interpretive student aide Morgan Rani Evans will host a program from 2 to 3 p.m. at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley to discuss the vital role oak trees play in the wildland environment. Meet Morgan at the Environmental Education Center, located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive.

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

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