Here's a helpful reminder: Sunday is Mother's Day. And several of the East Bay Regional Parks are planning special programs to help you celebrate it with Mom.

Among many programs this weekend at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont are two with maternal themes. "Farm Moms" is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Animals are mothers, too, so you can visit with the hens, ewes and nanny goats to learn how they care for their offspring.

Victorians sent messages of love via floral bouquets they called "tussie-mussies." Naturalist Jenna Scimeca will help you to assemble a special bouquet for Mom in a program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Ardenwood is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., just north of Highway 84 in Fremont. For fees and information, call 510-544-2797. Parking is free.

Coyote Hills: Not to be outdone, the naturalists at nearby Coyote Hills Regional Park will help you make a necklace for Mom out of pine nuts, shells, berries and beads, or a potpourri with sweet-smelling plants.

The free program is designed for ages 7 and older. It's from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the park's nectar garden. Coyote Hills is at 8000 Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There's a $5 parking fee. For information, call 510-544-3220.


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Tilden: At the Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley, interpretive student aide Morgan Evans will show how to make a Mother's Day keepsake box for visitors to take home. The free program is from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday. Materials will be provided, or you can bring your own decorations.

Meet at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. It's at the north end of Central Park Drive. But due to ongoing construction, you have to walk there from the end of Lone Oak Road. For information, call 510-544-2233.

Black Diamond: There's a Mother's Day mine open house planned from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. It consists of free, self-guided tours of about 1,000 feet of a former silica sand mine with points of interest along the way.

For safety reasons, the tours are restricted to ages 7 and older. However, there are activities for younger kids in a chamber just inside the mine entrance. And the nearby underground Greathouse Visitor Center is open to all ages free of charge.

Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, 4 miles south of Highway 4 in Antioch. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information, call 888-327-2757, option 3, ext. 2750.

Big Break: And at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, the interpretive staff will help visitors to create small Mother's Day mosaics out of recycled items and non-native plants, turning castoff items into beauty. The program is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

And while we're at Big Break, the temporary exhibits at the park visitor center are now being disassembled and demolished to make room for some new permanent ones. It's estimated that installation will be completed by July 1.

During the project, the visitor center will be closed on weekdays. The science and discovery room will be open on Saturdays and Sundays for regularly scheduled programs and drop-in visitors assistance. Previously scheduled education programs will take place. And the staff nature interpreters will rove the park to assist visitors. Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

Morgan Territory: Mom and daughter can join in an easy, 4-mile hike from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. It's on Morgan Territory Road east of Mount Diablo between Clayton and Livermore.

Led by naturalist Katie Colbert, this is one of her Women on Common Ground activities, designed for women who enjoy the outdoors but have concerns for personal safety. The hike is free, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 5832.

Bird day: This Saturday is International Migratory Bird Day. Intended to educate the public about the importance of migratory birds, and to encourage preservation of bird habitat, the day is celebrated at some 600 sites from Canada to Argentina.

East Bay Regional Park District offers bird programs throughout the year. There's a bird-watching walk at Ardenwood Historic Farm from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, led by Abraham Espinosa. And there's one from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont, led by naturalist Kristina Parkison. For information on the Quarry Lakes walk, call 510-544-3220.

Chabot Regional: Volunteers for Outdoor California (V-O-Cal) is looking for volunteers to join in a trail maintenance project on the weekend of May 16-18 at Anthony Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley.

In partnership with the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, volunteers will work on the Redtail and Towhee Trails. Work will include removing brush, reconstructing drain dips to ensure adequate drainage and raising the level of some trail sections above the wet season water table. The Towhee Trail is a wide, single-track trail open to hikers and equestrians.

Volunteers will camp at the Marciel Gate at the intersection of Redwood Road and Marciel Road a few miles north of Castro Valley. Meals will be provided from breakfast on Saturday through lunch on Sunday. One-day volunteers will be welcome as well.

V-O-Cal is a nonprofit organization that provides a volunteer workforce for large-scale trail maintenance and construction projects. To volunteer or obtain more information about the organization and the Chabot Park project, visit the website www.V-O-Cal.org.

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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