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Close to Home Field Trip Schedule 2014-2015

Each field trip is on a Saturday, running from approximately from 9am-3pm, unless otherwise indicated. Bring your lunch and plan on a great time enjoying the out-of-doors and connecting with the amazing forms of life all around us

May 10  Naturalist and birding bird author David Lukas will be leading us at Point Reyes National Seashore, starting at Bear Valley Nature Center. Depending on weather and what’s “hot” that day, we may see elk, or deer, or harbor seals, or any number of the 1500 plant and animal species that live there. David has been leading hikes here for years. 

June 14 Morgan Territory with naturalist Jim Hale. He’ll be taking us along the creek to native peoples’ village sites including a Volvon village with hundreds of bedrock mortar depressions. Jim cares deeply about mountain lions and has been identifying their corridors for several years with night photography. He thinks there are about a dozen individual cougars in the East Bay.  

July 12 A Walk Down Strawberry Creek Canyon. In Year One of Close to Home, Bob Charbonneau, led us on an amazing hike starting at UC Botanical Garden, through UC campus, and down to a daylighted section of creek near San Pablo Ave. He’s an expert historian for the creek and happy to do it even though he’s now head of Environmental and Emergency Services for UC.

Aug 9 A new ecovillage hopes to provide a model for urban organic farming and collective living on ten acres in El Sobrante. We’ll begin with a morning tour and optional hands-on activity. There’s a freshwater spring and creek that have played a major role in stopping overdevelopment. We’ll have lunch and then move on to Wildcat Canyon Park nearby for an afternoon hike to see the Indian rock.

Sept 13  Poisonous Plants! Can you recognize hemlock? Poison oak? Stinging nettles? Sue Rosenthal,  native plant nerd and contributing editor for Bay Nature magazine, will lead us on an East Bay hills hike to spot the “bad” guys and learn how toxicity serves the plant—and sometimes us, too. Sue is on the board of the East Bay CA Native Plant Society.  

Oct 11   Sunol Regional Wilderness is lovely in the fall and EBRPD naturalist Cat Taylor knows it well. Cat is expert at scat and tracking and we’ll begin with a lesson on scat using tootsie rolls as our medium. CTH did this in 2010 with her and folks remember and use what they learned. We'll delve hands-on into the world of scatology before hiking along Alameda and Indian Joe Creeks to learn to read nature's newspaper.

Nov 8  Naturalist Ken Lavin will take us on a 4-mile saunter to explore an area burned in the September 2013 fire. It will be interesting to see the shape of the land and see what has regenerated in grassland, woodland, riparian, and chaparral habitats a year after the conflagration.  Our route offers great views of Curry Canyon and the rugged wilderness beyond.  


No trip in December

Jan 10, 2015  Marsh Creek Odyssey with Mike Moran. We’ll follow the course of the creek down its path and through its history from Round Valley Regional Preserve, to Creekside Park in Brentwood, then down to the newly installed fish ladder, and finally to the mouth of the creek at the Dutch Slough Restoration Project, at the delta. Eyes out for fish, otters and turtles in the second largest creek in the county.

Feb 14  A trip to Sonoma for a CTH first! Jack London State Historic Park, a National Historic Landmark. We’ll start with a docent-led tour of the “House of Happy Walls” museum, the restored Cottage where London wrote and died, and several buildings within Beauty Ranch where London’s love of the land is still evident. A naturalist will lead us on an afternoon hike to London’s Lake and beyond.

March 14  "Lake of the Water King”:  Explore by boat and on-foot the rich wildlife habitat and colorful human history of the oldest reservoir in the Bay Area— Lake Chabot.  Guided by environmental educator Tom Tyler, the Chabot Queen will tour the 315-acre lake and give us a close-up view of the dam and popular birding sites.  We’ll hear stories of “Water King” Anthony Chabot and see vestiges of the original 19th-century waterworks.

April 11  Hike and then party at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline in the EBRPD’s shoreline facility. This is one of the major success stories of the East Bay Regional Park system. Years of restoration work have brought back resident water birds such as avocets and stilts, and offer a refuge for migratory fowl during fall and spring trips along the Pacific flyway. We’ll take a walk around the shoreline and party on the edge. For everyone!



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Oakland Museum of California / Oakland Zoo

Bay Nature magazine /  Lindsay Wildlife Museum

EarthTeam Environmental Network


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Close to Home
3758 Grand Ave. #38
Oakland, CA 94610
Cindy Spring 510-655-6658

updated 28 of April 2014