June is Get Outdoors Month, with activities planned nationwide as part of a long-term campaign to improve public health by encouraging fresh air and exercise in public parks.
The East Bay Regional Park District will get outdoors with all kinds of "Healthy Parks Healthy People" activities all month long at many of its parks.
For starters, there's a "Healthy Day By the Bay" planned from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Tidewater Boating Center in Oakland at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline.
It's kind of an outdoor sampler, with free biking, hiking and canoeing adventures offered to visitors on a first-come-first-served basis and all equipment provided. Other activities will include arts and crafts, field games, camping gear demonstrations and a chance to meet a llama. The entrance to the Tidewater Boating Center is at 4675 Tidewater Ave. off High Street in Oakland.
The park district's celebrations of Get Outdoors Month will continue with the annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest on June 7 at Crown Beach in Alameda; the 15th annual Butterfly and Bird Festival at Coyote Hills in Fremont on June 8, the same day as a family campfire program at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. I'll have more information about those events in next week's column. Meanwhile, view all the June "Healthy Parks Healthy People" programs on this page: http://www.ebparks.org/activities/hphpHPHPBayArea#Programming.
CRAB COVE: Music lovers will enjoy a free Concert at the Cove scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 13 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, featuring "Petty Theft," a Tom Petty tribute band. Preconcert activities start at 4:30 p.m. on the deck at the visitor center. You can bring a lawn chair and a picnic dinner or buy food and beverages at the site.
Crab Cove is at 1252 McKay Ave. However, parking is on Webster Street, or more likely at the Crown Beach lot at the intersection of Westline and Otis Drives. From there, it's an easy walk to the concert. Concert sponsors are the park district and the Alameda Rotary Club. For information, call Crab Cove at 510-544-3187.
Roberts: Redwood ecology will be the theme of a Saturday Stroll on May 31 from 10 a.m. to noon at Roberts Regional Recreation Area in the Oakland hills. It's family-friendly, and dogs are welcome. This one's a hilly 3.5-mile hike.
And you can help with a research project that's scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Roberts and Redwood Regional Parks. Leaders are park district naturalist Sara Fetterly and Deborah Zeirton of Save the Redwoods League. Participants will help to collect data to measure how changing climate is affecting the redwood forest. The program is for ages 8 and older.
Both the stroll and the climate change program meet at the Redwood Bowl staging area on Skyline Boulevard just south of the Chabot Space and Science Center. For information on either program, call 510-544-3187.
Tilden: "Fun with Felt" is the title of a free program from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Tilden Nature Area in Berkeley, led by naturalist "Trail Gail" Broesder. She'll show participants how to make a unique work of art using soap and felt from the Little Farm sheep.
Naturalist James Wilson will lead two programs at Tilden on Sunday. There's a "morning meander" from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in search of the park's wildlife and an insect safari from 2 to 4 p.m. The insect hunt is designed for ages 6 and older.
For all three programs, meet at Tilden's Environmental Education Center. Construction is still under way near the center, so you have to get there by parking at the end of Lone Oak Road off Central Park Drive, then following the directional signs on foot. Call 510-544-2233 for more information.
hump day hikers: Wildcat Canyon in Richmond is the destination for the Wednesday Walkers informal hiking group next week, starting at 9:30 a.m. This one is a strenuous 7-miler up to the top of San Pablo Ridge. The payoff is great views west to San Francisco Bay and east to Mount Diablo.
Meet at the trailhead at the end of Park Avenue off McBryde Avenue in Richmond. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTRA LOMA: It's Sunday Funday this weekend at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch. From 10 a.m. to noon, naturalist Ashley Elliott will help families look for animals, explore the shoreline and play games.
The activities are geared for ages 6 and older, and one adult is required for every three children younger than 14. Contra Loma is located at the end of Frederickson Lane off Golf Course Road. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For Sunday Funday, meet at the boat launch parking lot, which is straight ahead past the entrance kiosk. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.
BIG BREAK: Birds are the theme of a fun-and-games program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. All kinds of waterfowl live in the area, and the park's naturalist staff will help you identify them. Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.