The autumn cavalcade of special events in the East Bay Regional Parks continues Sept. 22 with the Stone Age Olympics and Knap-In at Coyote Hills in Fremont.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can try your hand at lots of prehistoric life skills such as dart throwing and fire starting under the guidance of naturalist Dino Labiste. You can also watch skilled knappers turn rocks into functional tools. It all takes place at the park's Dairy Glen campsite.

Coyote Hills is at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road, off Paseo Padre Parkway. The event is free, though parking is $5. For information, call 510-544-3220. Dino also will preside over two ancient skills programs at Coyote Hills on Sept. 28. There's a fire-making clinic from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and an atlatl dart-throwing session from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The fire-making program is for ages 16 and older. It's free, but registration is required. Call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 3456.

Atlatl practice is also free, and no registration is required. It's for ages 8 and older; meet at the Hoot Hollow picnic area. Hoot Hollow is in the back of the Visitor Center, along the Quail Trail. Look for the sign or ask in the Visitor Center. Coyote Hills' main event is the Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples on Oct. 6 -- more about that in a future column.

CRAB COVE: Insects are on the agenda for Family Nature Fun Hour, which is from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22 at Crab Cove Visitor Center at Crown Beach in Alameda. The free program will explore many different kinds of insects and how they live.

Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave., off Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.


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By the way, the sand replenishment project at Crown Beach is under way. Contractors are pumping sand onto the beach from offshore barges to replace sand that has been lost to years of storms and erosion. During the project, sections of the beach will be closed to all public access. .

FALL EQUINOX: Astronomically speaking, the official end of summer is the autumnal equinox, when day and night are of equal length. This year the first day of autumn is Sept. 22.

The naturalists at Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley hills will mark it that day with a free open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center and Little Farm. It's a chance to pet a chicken, groom a goat, brush a cow, make a craft and generally celebrate the change of seasons.

From 2 to 3 p.m., there will be a walk from the center led by interpretive student aide Morgan Rani Evans. The group will gather autumn leaves, return to the center and fashion them into a sun-catcher to take home. The center and farm are located at the north end of Tilden's Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.

night hike: Watch day turn to night and learn about nocturnal animals during an easy hike from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 24 at Briones Regional Park near Orinda, led by naturalist Trent Pearce.

It's free of charge. Meet Trent at the East Bay Regional Park District's Bear Creek staging area on Bear Creek Road about 5 miles east of San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda. Bring a flashlight. For details, call 510-544-2233.

WALK IT: The Wednesday Walkers will take on Brushy Peak near Livermore for a 4- to 5-mile moderate-to-strenuous hike at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 25. This is a good chance to see a golden eagle. They like it out there, and I've seen an eagle almost every time I've visited the park.

To get there, take the Vasco Road exit from Interstate 580 in Livermore. Head north toward Brentwood but, immediately after the 580 overpass, turn right on Northfront Road. In about a mile, turn left on Laughlin Road and drive to the end. For details, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3241.

Camp under stars: There's a fun-sounding overnight campout scheduled on Oct. 19-20 at Lake Del Valle, south of Livermore, that's part of the park district's "Living With The Earth" program series.

Led by naturalist Cat Taylor, the group will gaze at the full moon and Orionid meteor shower and gather around a campfire. Campers supply gear and a potluck dish; there's a ¾-mile walk to the campsite with shuttles available for gear transport. The program costs $18 ($20 for nondistrict residents), and registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 3717.

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