Hillside Festival 2021

May 1 – May 31. In virtual space, and with family and friends in the Hillside Natural Area.

El Cerrito Trail Trekkers’ eighth Hillside Festival was different this year, with a mix of live and pre-recorded online “hikes” plus self-guided events for families, friends and individuals to do without the crowds that have attended past, pre-pandemic festivals.

All live virtual events were interactive, offering attendees the opportunity to show their faces and to speak. After each event concludes, it’s archived for watching throughout the rest of the festival – and beyond.

Live, virtual event, Saturday, May 8. 11 a.m. A Virtual Broom Pull. Broom! What is it? Why is it bad? How can we rid the Hillside and other natural spaces of this invasive weed? Our live discussion and Q&A features Howdy Goudey of the city’s Environmental Quality Committee, including movies showing Cub Scout Pack 104 using weed wrenches to remove broom. Learn how you can help restore habitat either with organized events – or on your own and with friends and family.

Watch the recording:

Live, virtual event, Sunday, May 9. 2 p.m. The Birds of El Cerrito’s Hillside. Naturalist, activist and birder Yari Greaney shows us the best places to spot birds throughout the Hillside, with close-up images and tips for identifying raptors, songbirds and more.

Watch the recording:

Download Yari’s Bird Guide to use while you hike or in your own yard.

Live, virtual event, Friday, May 14. 6:30 p.m. The Hillside Natural Area: its past and its future. Dave Weinstein, the founder of Trekkers, discusses with Wade Huntley the natural area’s past, the quarry, the Memorial Grove, an aborted plan to install a statue along with a waterfall, efforts at wild land preservation, and more.

Watch the recording:

Self-guided event, throughout May. Nature Scavenger Hunt. Learn about the plants, birds, animals, rocks, and creeks. Parents enjoy helping their children in this fun event. Find things on your list (no actual collecting please), take photos, and email them to Trail Trekkers, ectrailtrekkers@gmail.com, for posting on our website. Download the scavenger hunt.

Self-guided event, throughout May. Haiku contest. The contest is designed to enhance our Annual Hillside Festival by encouraging creative literature to spring from the hearts and minds of those who participate. The contest period is May 1st to May 31st, the deadline for emailing your submission. Focus your poems on your experiences in the Hillside Natural Area. Win gift certificates from El Cerrito Natural Grocery and Jenny K. Gifts. All haiku will be posted on the festival website. Rules, prizes, how to compose haiku.

Self-guided event, throughout May. Discover Hidden Poems in our Hillside. Are you interested in treasure-hunting during your walks in El Cerrito? Jenny Hammer and Tim Aaronson of El Cerrito Trail Trekkers have refreshed their Hidden Poetry geocaching hike series. These hikes were sponsored by Trail Trekkers and the El Cerrito Arts and Culture Commission and were a local twist to the international sport of geocaching.

Use the GPS coordinates and the maps at Trekkers website (under the PLACES/HIDDEN POETRY GPS tab) to find the hidden containers, read the poems inside, and then sign and date the log sheets. 

There are twenty-six caches with poems by, and short biographies of the poets all over our city. In Hike Series One, read poems of California poets laureate, starting with the first one, Ina Coolbrith (1915). Series Two will bring you to nine United States poets laureate, and Series Three highlights eight of our local poets. Use the GPS function of your smart phone or other device to find the caches. Afterward, if you’d like, post your comments at: https://www.facebook.com/El-Cerrito-Trail-Trekkers-115184015302188/ 

Also during the May festival, revisit some of Trekkers’ past events, which include:

A tour of the Rotary Interpretive Trail, featuring discussions of birds, insects, geology and more.  We thank the El Cerrito Rotary Club for this important amenity!

Trees and Climate Change, a fascinating tour of the Hillside led by David Ackerly, dean of the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley: part one, part two.

Would you like a map of Hillside trails and all the trails in the city? Visit Jenny K’s gifts.

Trail Trekkers looks forward to seeing all of you for a true, in-the-Hillside Festival in 2022.