Friends of the Regional Park Botanic Garden


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East Bay Regional Park District



Events & Classes

Classes, Field Trips & Workshops  |  Wayne Roderick Lectures  |  Special Events  |  Tours  |  Calendar

Our schedule of fun and informative classes, field trips, and workshops offers something for every native plant lover. Choose from our changing selection of classes on botany and natural history, field trips to wild California, and hands-on workshops on gardening, art, and photography.

To receive email notices of classes and other garden events, please join our email list.


To enroll, print out the Class Registration Form and send it with your check to:

Linda Blide, 3249 Monterey Blvd., Oakland, CA 94602-3561

For additional information call Linda Blide at 510-384-2873 or
email at

(Advance registration is required for all classes. Drops in are not permitted.)

  • Weave a Paiute-Style Water Bottle
        Saturday, August 1, 9:30 am–3:30 pm

  • Drawing Plants
        Saturday, August 15, 9:30 am–3:30 pm

  • Ferns of California
        Saturday, August 22, 10 am–3 pm

  • Inviting California to Dinner: Using Native Plants in Your Everyday Diet
        Sunday, August 23, 10 am–3 pm

  • Designing a Native Garden
        Thursdays, September 10 and 17, 9:30 am–12 pm

  • Trees and Shrubs of the Bay Area
        3 Saturdays, 10 am–3 pm: September 26, October 17, November 7

  • Botany and Ecology of the Delta
        Sunday, September 27, 10 am–6 pm

  • Fall in the Siskiyou Mountains of Northwestern California
        October 9 through 12

  • Seed Propagation of California Native Plants
        Saturday, October 24, 9 am–12 pm

    Weave a Paiute-Style Water Bottle
    These beautiful bottles were traditionally coated with pine pitch inside and out to make them water tight or used uncoated as seed containers. We’ll practice splitting and trimming willow shoots, then we’ll begin weaving a close-twined bottle using whole willow shoots for the warps and split willow shoots for the wefts. A variety of twined willow baskets will be at hand for students to examine.

    Saturday, August 1, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Instructor: Charles Kennard
    Location: Visitor Center
    $95 members / $100 nonmembers
    Materials provided
    Please bring a lunch

    Drawing Plants
    Drawing can be a good way to increase our knowledge of native plants. By paying attention to the form and details, we can appreciate the beauty of nature better. We will use graphite to draw the form and details of plants to make them come alive, then we’ll create a pen and ink drawing. No previous drawing experience is necessary. Come and enjoy a new way to look at plants.

    Saturday, August 15, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Instructor: Lee McCaffree
    Location: Visitor Center
    $95 members / $100 nonmembers
    Materials required: sketching paper or sketch book, pencils (2H and HB), black permanent fine-point pen (e.g., Micron), pencil sharpener, eraser (white plastic, small block, or pencil type), clear plastic ruler, magnifying glass
    Please bring a lunch

    Ferns of California
    This one-day course at the Botanic Garden will introduce you to the often-difficult-to-identify ferns and their relatives, demystifying recognition and expanding knowledge of the multiple habitats ferns live in. We’ll watch an indoor PowerPoint presentation on ferns, walk through the garden to see how they grow, and end by keying ferns with the aid of microscopes.

    Saturday, August 22, 10 am–3 pm
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Visitor Center
    $40 members / $45 nonmembers
    Please bring a lunch

    Inviting California to Dinner: Using Native Plants in Your Everyday Diet
    This class will cover many of the more edible natives such as miner’s lettuce (salad green) and wild grape (edible grapes). We will also discuss some of the more obscure but equally useful native food plants like saltbush (edible and tasty roasted seeds) and Cleveland sage with local onions (combined to make a California pesto). Samples of California Pesto, prepared with native onions and sage collected from California native gardens, will be demonstrated and available to taste. Class includes a lecture, detailed recipe cards, and harvesting and cooking demonstrations.

    Sunday, August 23, 10 am–3 pm
    Instructors: Antonio Sanchez and Naomi Fraga
    Location: Visitor Center
    $90 members / $100 nonmembers
    Please bring a lunch

    Designing a Native Garden
    Katherine Greenberg will present ideas for designing a native garden, from evaluating the site to selecting plants and creating a planting plan. You will have an opportunity to design a small garden or a section of a larger garden using native plants that are appropriate to the climate and conditions of the site. The format of the class will include time for discussion and walks through the Botanic Garden to see examples of design concepts and plant combinations for various garden situations. Class size is limited to 12 students.

    2 Thursdays, September 10 and 17, 9:30 am–12 pm
    Instructor: Katherine Greenberg
    Location: Visitor Center
    $150 members / $160 nonmembers
    Materials required: ruler or scale, straight edge, template with circles of various sizes, pencils, eraser, and clip board
    Instructor will provide graph paper and useful hand-outs with design suggestions.
    Recommended reading: Growing California Native Plants, 2nd edition, by Katherine Greenberg (UC Press, 2012): Describes over 300 native plants and includes useful plant lists and resources (nurseries, websites, etc.) for gardeners

    Trees and Shrubs of the Bay Area: A Field Trip Series
    Woody plants form the framework of most of our native habitats from hot, dry chaparral to moist, lush redwood forests. We’re particularly lucky in the Bay Area to have a high diversity of woody plants from a varied palette of plant communities, all within a moderately short drive. This series highlights three areas to expand your knowledge, especially important at a time of year when flowers are no longer available. Come join us for a local adventure with our most prominent native plants.
    Field Trip 1: Mount St. Helena: Saturday, September 26. At the head of Napa Valley, Mount St. Helena displays many faces to the world with hot, dry exposures as well as cool, moist shady places. Our excursion will take us around the northwest side of the mountain on Ida Clayton Road, where we can explore a wide variety of conifers along with broadleaf trees and a host of accompanying shrubs. Highlights include several different ceanothuses, sugar pine, Sargent and MacNab cypresses, flowering dogwood, and leather oak.
    Field Trip 2: Mount Tamalpais, Saturday, October 17. Closer to the coast than Mount St. Helena, Mount Tamalpais provides easy access to a range of manzanitas and ceanothuses together with oaks, Sargent cypress, Douglas-fir, coast redwood, and much more. Our hike will take us from Mountain Home Inn on Panoramic Highway to the top of the mountain.
    Field Trip 3: Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, Saturday, November 7. East of Mount Diablo and north of Livermore, this park is the place to see riparian trees and a wide variety of native oaks, all within a beautiful loop hike. The steep upper slopes support chaparral, while the canyon bottoms host sycamores, maples, and black oaks.

    3 Saturdays, 10 am–3 pm: September 26, October 17, November 7
    Instructor: Glenn Keator
    Location: Various sites—driving directions and a list of items to bring will be sent upon registration
    For the whole series: $300 members / $320 nonmembers
    Parking fees are charged at Mount Tamalpais and Morgan Territory
    Please bring a lunch

    Botany and Ecology of the Delta
    The delta blooms late because water is not limited, so late September and early October, when flowers in the uplands are long gone, is a great time to see color in the Delta. We will visit Bay Point, the Antioch Marina, Big Break, and Sherman Island, with one or two possible additional sites. These locations will allow us to learn the flora of the Delta--including common plants as well as rare ones. We will discuss ecological factors that determine plant distributions, and we will also discuss the history of the Delta to get a good sense of how things have changed since before the Gold Rush.

    Sunday September 27, 10 am–6 pm (class will likely end earlier)
    Instructor: Stephen W. Edwards
    Location: Various sites—driving directions will be provided upon registration
    $95 members / $100 nonmembers
    Bring lunch, water, sun and wind protection, plus a hand lens and binoculars if you have them

    Seed Propagation of California Native Plants
    Many California native plants are easily grown from seed, while some are more challenging and require special treatment to germinate. This class will demonstrate collecting, cleaning, and germinating seed of a range of native plants from annuals to perennials, shrubs, and trees using techniques that you can employ at home.

    Saturday, October 24, 9 am–12 pm
    Instructor: Susan Ashley
    Location: Visitor Center
    $35 members / $40 nonmembers


    Susan Ashley has taught propagation at Merritt College, Diablo Valley College, and the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. She has a special interest in California native plants and currently runs a small business growing natives for local retail nurseries.

    Stephen W. Edwards served as director of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden for 31 years. He is a native plant botanist, geologist, and paleontologist. Living near the Delta has given him ample opportunities to explore its ins and outs, and he loves sharing its riches.

    Naomi Fraga is Director of Conservation at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. She recently received her PhD in botany from Claremont Graduate University. Her research focus is the flora of Southern California and conservation of native plants. Naomi enjoys gardening and cooking with native plants.

    Katherine Greenberg is a garden designer and author. She was the founding president of the Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden and also a past president of the Mediterranean Garden Society and Pacific Horticulture Society. She is currently on the Advisory Council of the Friends and the Advisory Board of the UC Botanical Garden. Her native garden in Lafayette has been featured in a number of books and articles.

    Charles Kennard of San Anselmo is a long-time basket weaver and student of California Indian and European basketry techniques. He is active in native habitat restoration in Marin County, managing several projects for Friends of Corte Madera Creek Watershed, and he has created a basketry plant garden at the Marin Art and Garden Center.

    Glenn Keator is a popular freelance instructor of botany in the Bay Area. He currently teaches, leads field trips, and provides docent instruction in botany for the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. He is the author of a number of books on native plants.

    Lee McCaffree is a botanical illustrator. She is co-coordinator and a primary instructor for the Filoli Botanical Art Certificate program in Woodside, CA. Her work is included in the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation at Kew Gardens and the Filoli Florilegium as well as in private collections. She created the East Bay CNPS plant sale poster for many years.

    Antonio Sanchez is Nursery Production Manager at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, where he guides the propagating and growing of native plants for restoration and sale at Grow Native Nursery. He has worked at various native plant institutions across the state, including the Theodore Payne Foundation, Cal Flora Nursery, and Nopalito Native Plant Nursery.


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