Thursday, September 19, 2013

habitat ~ 09/19/13 ~ Tilden Regional Park

 overlook to San Francisco Bay from Centennial Drive, UC Berkeley

What started out as a passing idea turned into a little adventure for me.  For our upcoming camping trip to Rocky Creek, I thought it'd be a fun activity to white sheet light for moths, so I asked around if anyone had DC (no electrical outlets available) equipment that I could borrow.  Of course, as usual, the only "local" moth person anyone knows of is Jerry Powell at UC Berkeley. Since he plans on using his equipment, he put me in touch with the Collections Manager at the Essig Museum of Entomology. Before I knew it, I was making the 2 hour drive north to Berkeley to pick up a UV light, two 12V batteries, and a charger, all in the name of fun.  Given the cost of gas and the money spent on food, I could have purchased a lighting set for cheaper.  However, I would have missed out on the adventure of visiting UC Berkeley, meeting Pete, touring the Essig, finding Tilden Regional Park, discovering Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes on Telegraph Avenue, and enjoying Ethiopian cuisine for lunch and Japanese cuisine for dinner.  Yum!

I am so unfamiliar with the East Bay area that I used google maps to find a park not too far from the University campus.  Obviously I didn't zoom out far enough, because once I got to the Botanic Garden, I discovered it's only a small part of a much larger Tilden Regional Park, which itself is only one of a whopping 65 parks in the East Bay Regional Park District.  What an incredible find!  It's an impressive park system.  I spent most of my afternoon walking through the Botanic Garden.  They took much of California's flora and squished it into 10 acres.  I noticed many well-established plants weren't faring so well.  Maybe given the drought we've had the past 2 years?  They had sprinklers going, which I ran through to cool off (always gotta do it... er, only if it doesn't smell like mixed fertilizer).  I'm so looking forward to the upcoming rains.

 incredible stonework by the CCC

There's a distinctive style of stonework frequently found in our National, State, and regional parks and forests.  Whenever I look to see who did it, it's almost always the Civilian Conservation Corps. Those young men certainly left an indelible legacy in only 9 years of work, a much better use of human resources than fighting wars.  As turbulent as the first half of the 20th century was, I'm continually amazed at what came out of those years compared to the seeming counterproductivity of today.

If I lived in Berkeley (don't think I haven't considered this), I would probably come swimming here regularly.  The beach was crowded by young and old alike.  I also went to a place called "Inspiration Point", which didn't really inspire me.  Maybe in the spring?

It doesn't matter how old I get, I still like seeing farm animals, be it at the county fair or attached to parks.  I was very impressed with the variety of recreational opportunities in Tilden.  All in all, it was a good day, complete with a full belly.