The festival will take place over three days this year. Friday to Sunday with individual hikes and other activities through the Hillside Natural Area. Free, as always, and very family friendly.
Friday, May 4
Noon to 2 p.m. Introduction to the Hillside Nature Area, its history and natural history. Co-sponsored by the El Cerrito Historical Society.
3 p.m. to 4:30. Open House at Madera Elementary School Community Garden. Co-sponsored by Madera School PTA.
6:30 p.m. Family-friendly evening ramble through the Hillside. Alina Constantinescu. Start your weekend off right with a steep but relaxing 90-minute stroll through the Hillside to enjoy the views and the conversation.
Saturday, May 5
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Young persons’ Nature Hike led by Madera Elementary School PTA and Foundation members. Co-led by PTA President Maia Bazjanac and Executive Vice-President Jennifer Buchholz, join Madera parents and students on a hike through the Madera Open Space and Hillside. Meet at Location Two, Madera School, 8500 Madera Dr.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dog Scouts of America — Merit Badges, Community Service and Therapy Work. Co-sponsored by Dog Scouts of America, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of our canine companions. Meet a Therapy Dog, and have your dog learn scent work. Location Two, Madera School, 8500 Madera Dr.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hillside Natural Area Geology Walk. Co-sponsored by the Northern California Geological Society, leaders Mark Petrofsky and Bill Motzer. Learn about the geological setting of El Cerrito and about the rocks in our city – metamorphic rocks, the Franciscan formation, and faults and landslides. This moderate to strenuous walk will have steep sections. Location Six, Schmidt Lane trailhead. Schmidt Lane trailhead.
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All-ages nature hike and work party to remove invasive plants. Co-sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 104, which will lead. Learn about native plants while improving the Hillside. Moderate. Meet at the Location Five, King Court trailhead.
2 p.m. Early California Indian Life in the El Cerrito area. Berkeley’s historian and author and publisher of RSB books Richard Schwartz will discuss life in El Cerrito before the arrival of Spanish colonists and rancho life. Meet at the °crossroads,” with breathtaking views. From Location Four, on Regency Court, walk downhill a quarter mile. Signs will direct you.
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Beginner-general level Plant Walk, Janet Gawthrop of the California Native Plant Society leads this moderate walk, focusing on native plant restoration. Janet hopes to find Oakland star tulips in bloom. Location Three, Madera Open Space, at the bottom of the stairs between house numbers 1540 and 1560 Madera Circle.
Sunday, May 6
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wildlife Bingo activity. Learn about the animals that inhabit El Cerrito’s Hillside and other areas while having fun. Parents enjoy helping their children in this popular identifying plants and animals event. Pick up Wildlife Bingo cards at Location Six, Schmidt Lane trailhead.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. How El Cerrito Saved the Madera Open Space. A hike led by Dave Weinstein focusing on how the community united several years ago to preserve this 8-acre addition to the Hillside Natural Area. Meet at Location Three, Madera Open Space, at the bottom of the stairs between house numbers 1540 and 1560 Madera Circle.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Metal detecting for fun and education. Metal detecting enthusiast Bill Barr will demonstrate how kids and adults can use a metal detector to discover antiques and other treasures, display some of his finds, show off metal detectors, and answer questions. Meet at the meadow above Location Six, Schmidt Lane Trailhead.
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wildflower and Tree Hike. Susan Schwartz, of Friends of Five Creeks, and Ralph Boniello will lead a walk along the ridge, offering fabulous views as well as a chance to learn about native flowers, grasslands, oak forests, and coastal scrub. Location Five, King Court trailhead.
7 p.m. As the day winds to a close, join Nicole Becker from Ojas Yoga Center for Meditation in Nature, high in the hills by a rock outcrop with stupendous views. Relaxing. Location Five, King Court Trail-head. The meditation will take place a few hundred yards into the park.
Porta-potties are available at Regency Court and at King Court. There is a restroom open all day at the Recycling Center near the Schmidt Lane Trailhead.
* Donation time. The festival is free but maintaining and restoring the Hillside is not. Please make a tax deductible donation to this effort with a check to “ECCF,” with “Hillside Restoration” in the message line. (ECCF is EC Community Foundation, our fiscal agent.) Send to Pam Austin, 834 Kearney St., EC 94530. Or donate here.
Download the 2018 Festival Brochure Schedule and Map