Coming Sunday, May 21, 2017
The 4th Annual Hillside Festival
Free. 10-5 Hillside Natural Area.
Festival Reception Area, end of Schmidt Lane near Recycling Center
Enjoy El Cerrito’s fourth annual Hillside Festival!
This year the main gathering spot is the Meadow just above the Schmidt Lane Trailhead.
Please help maintain and improve the Hillside Natural Area. The Hillside Festival is a free event, open to all and designed to showcase the natural and cultural beauties if El Cerrito’s Hillside. Trail Trekkers is dedicated to helping the city maintain this wonderful area, to improve its natural habitat, to remove dangerous overgrowth to prevents fires, and to improve access.
All hikes start at the Meadow by Schmidt Lane trailhead near the El Cerrito Recycling Center unless otherwise noted. Demonstrations and displays are at the Meadow.
All day: Wildlife Bingo. Learn about the animals that inhabit El Cerrito’s Hillside and other areas while having fun. Parents enjoy helping their children in this popular annual event.
All day: Community Garden Network, plant give-away and discussions about gardening and related topics.
All day: Rock display and education. Mark Petrofsky, from the Northern California Geological Society, will display a wide variety of local rocks, many of them beautiful, and all of them with their own stories.
All day: National Park Service ranger Naomi Torres will display material about and discuss the Anza Expedition, which passed through this area in 1775-1776 and the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail. Also on display will be the El Cerrito trail map and way finding signs to El Cerrito paths developed by the Park Service.
All day: Environmental Quality Committee Table, discussions of topics concerning the city’s environment, material about the 100 for 100 go deep green campaign, Green Teams activities, more.
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Janet Gawthrop of the California Native Plant Society leads a beginner-general level Plant Walk, focusing on native plant restoration. Meet at Madera Open Space, at the bottom of the stairs between house numbers 1540 and 1560 Madera Circle. Moderate.
10 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 several metal detectors including an antique detector from the ‘70s, and answer questions. Easy.
10 a.m. to noon. Boy Scout Troop 104 will lead an all-ages nature hike and work party to remove invasive plants. Learn about native plants while improving the Hillside. Moderate
11 a.m. to noon. A Poetry Hike for all ages. Poetry is hidden all over El Cerrito! Join Jenny Hammer for a literary treasure hunt as we ramble through nature and search for some of these hidden poems. Moderate.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dog Scouts of America: an organization dedicated to improving the lives of our canine companions. Come and meet a Therapy Dog. And, does your dog have a super-nose? Scent work is a slam-dunk for most dogs, but some training is required. Sherlock Dogs .. or wanna-bes…come and try your sniffing skills.
Noontime is for relaxing with a light lunch. We will have snacks. Bring your own sandwiches – while listening to poet and performer Kirk Lumpkin celebrate the city’s open spaces, and musicians Ken Hayes and Tom Cline, who perform superb renditions of roots and Americana tunes.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Ranger Naomi Torres of the National Park Service will lead a walk and talk about the Juan Bautista de Anza National Trail, focusing on the Anza expedition from Mexico to the Bay Area in 1775-1776. Meet at the meadow above the Schmidt Trail head. Moderate.
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wildflower Hike, Susan Schwartz, of Friends of Five Creeks, will lead an easy one-hour walk along the ridge, offering fabulous views as well as a chance to learn about native flowers, grasslands, oak forests, and coastal scrub. Meet at the King Court trailhead. Moderate. Hike ends at the Regency Court trailhead, where you can join the 2:30 p.m. Tree Hike, or return to the starting point with a car shuttle.
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Northern California Geological Society will lead a Short Geology Walk to get a close-up look of the former Hutchinson Quarry (the present day Recycling Center), whose stone face reveals much that is surprising about the Bay Area’s bumptious geological past.
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tree Hike. Ralph Boniello of the Tree Commission leads a family-friendly tour of the Hillside Area’s trees, from live oaks to exotics. Meet at Regency Court trailhead. Hike ends at the Meadow. Moderate.
3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dave Weinstein of the El Cerrito Historical Society will lead a hike focusing on the History of the Hillside Natural Area from the early 1900s to today. Strenuous.
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Biome Hike. The Hillside Area is a little over 100 acres but contains a variety of different “biomes,” plant and animal communities. Join Robert Schaadt for his popular Biome Hike to explore some of these, from open grassland to creekside. Strenuous.
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. Near the King Court Trailhead.
The festival is co-sponsored by the city’s Environmental Quality Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission.