By Ned MacKay
The East Bay Regional Park District will usher in the New Year with special programs at several of the parklands.
For the energetic, there’s an ascent of Wildcat Peak in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. It’s from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, led by naturalist Anthony Fisher. The trail is likely to be muddy and slick, so dress accordingly. Bring lunch and water.
And there’s another hill climb at Tilden from 2 to 5 p.m. on New Year’s Day, Sunday, Jan. 1, led by naturalist Trent Pearce. This one’s a four-miler.
For a less strenuous experience, check out fireside story time from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, with classic children’s stories about farming, insects and other nature topics.
For either hike or story time, meet at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233 for information.
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Not to be upstaged, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch is the venue for a New Year’s Resolution hike from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, led by naturalist Eddie Willis. This one is a peaceful stroll through green valleys with tales of the park’s coal mining days along the way.
Meet Eddie at Black Diamond’s uppermost parking lot, on Somersville Road, 3 1/2 miles south of Highway 4. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750. Heavy rain cancels.
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“Macro Mayhem” is the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. The group will collect some plankton and water bugs to discover the role they play in the wetland ecosystem.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. Call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050 for information.
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Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda will celebrate the impending New Year with a New Year’s Eve Beach Cleanup from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31. Then the center’s aquarium fish will get their New Year’s Eve meal from 3 to 3:30 p.m.
And the center will hold open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1. There will be family friendly activities and crafts throughout the day, starting with storytime and nature fun from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
Crab Cove is on McKay Avenue off Central Avenue. Call 510-544-3187 for information.
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Naturalist Morgan Dill will lead a “jumpstart the New Year’s Resolution” hike from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 31 at Anthony Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley. It’s a five-mile hilly challenge that leads down to the creek and back up again.
Meet Morgan at the park’s Marciel Gate, which is on Redwood Road about five miles south of the intersection with Skyline Boulevard in Oakland. For information and directions, call 510-544-3187.
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Nature journaling is the focus of the Family Fun program from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. You can drop in any time and create a journal to record your nature observations during the course of the New Year.
Snakes will star in a program from 2 to 4 p.m. the same day, hosted by naturalist Dino Labiste. Learn all about the reptiles, and create a snake spiral craft to take home.
Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. Call 510-544-3220 for information.
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However you spend your time as the old year makes way for the new, here’s wishing you health and happiness in 2017.
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The park district board of directors has voted unanimously to rename Martinez Regional Shoreline in honor of former board member Ted Radke, who died Aug. 28, and his wife, Kathy, who died in 2011.
The scenic 343-acre park on Carquinez Strait is now named the Ted and Kathy Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline, honoring the Radkes’ tireless efforts to preserve the Martinez waterfront.
Ted Radke, who was the Park District’s longest-serving Board member, devoted much of his career to preserving open space, increasing funding for land acquisition and working with state and federal legislators to advocate for environmental protection.
Kathy worked to save Mt. Wanda from development, preserve Franklin Hills as open space and, with her husband, was a co-founder of the Contra Costa Ecology Action Education Institute.