All things Western will be on parade at the Cowboy Hootenanny Folk Festival at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County, set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
It's a celebration of Sunol's pioneer and ranching history with family-friendly activities including pony rides, branding and roping demonstrations, stick pony and other crafts, Dutch oven cooking, hand-squeezed lemonade and pioneer games.
Gordy Ohlinger, the Banjo-ologist, will perform with vintage banjos. Jimmy Chickenpants will play for square dancing.
The Diablo Mountain Cloggers and the Clogging Express Team will perform and give lessons. "Ranch Dressing" will feature old-time clothing fashions, which the kids can try on.
Sunol Regional Wilderness is located at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about 5 miles south of Interstate 680.
There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. Festival entry is free. For information call 510-544-3249.
Mountain lions: Speaking of Sunol, a major, long-term mountain lion research project is under way in the park and beyond. The 10-year goal is to collar and obtain data on the activities of as many East Bay mountain lions as possible.
As the first step, a network of motion-activated cameras has been placed in the Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness, which has a relatively low human population. Next, teams of researchers will begin tracking and capturing the pumas and fitting them with GPS collars to track their movements and activities.
It is hoped that the study will help determine how many lions there are in the East Bay, what their population's viability is in a human-altered environment, how they are moving around and avoiding park visitors and how much they prey on livestock. Study results will help with education, conservation and wildlife management.
Partners in the study are the East Bay Regional Park District, the Regional Parks Foundation, Chevron, Felidae Conservation Fund, UC Berkeley, the California Fish & Wildlife Department, National Geographic, the National Park Service and the Oakland Zoo.
CRAB COVE: A nature story and singing program for kids ages 1 through 5 will be conducted in Spanish on Friday and again Dec. 6 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. It's from 10:30 to 11 a.m., and the kids can enjoy the aquarium and exhibits afterward.
Crab Cove also hosts Family Nature Fun Hour from 2 to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in November and December, with a variety of natural history topics. This weekend, it's Bird Bingo time; play the game and view birds up close. Crab Cove is located at 1252 McKay Ave. off Central Avenue in Alameda. For information, call 510-544-3187.
birding: Birds are the words from 9 a.m. to noon every Monday in November at various regional parks, with naturalist Anthony Fisher as your guide. On Monday, the destination is Point Pinole Regional Shoreline on Giant Highway in Richmond. The walks are free and all levels of expertise are welcome. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.