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Healdsburg: Combine bird-watching and botany observation and discussion on a guided hike with resource ecologist David Self in steep wild country at Modini Mayacamas Preserves, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. Bring binoculars, lunch and water. Meet at Pine Flat Road near 4020 Red Winery Road. $20 non-preserve members. Limit of 15 participants. Register at egret.org. or call 707-431-8184 ext 503.


Glen Ellen: Learn how we can help nature keep the environment healthy during a 45-minute nature walk at 10 a.m. from the Beauty Ranch at Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road. Then use recycled materials to play games and make crafts geared toward kids K-2nd grade until 12:30 p.m. $10 for vehicle. Call 707-938-5216 or visit jacklondonpark.com for information.


Healdsburg: Join retired geologist Iain Jamieson on a geology hike with stops to discuss rock formations and geological history at Modini Mayacamas Preserves, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Bring lunch and water. Meet at 4020 Pine Flat Road near Red Winery Road. Register at egret.org or call 707-431-8184 ext. 503.


Glen Ellen: Take an easy 1.2-mile. Slow-paced Walk into Spring wildflower walk on the Wolf House trail at Jack London State Historic park, 2400 London Ranch Road, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday. Meet at the House of Happy Walls Museum. An intermediate, slow-paced 8-mile Hike into Spring on backcountry trails at Jack London State Historic Park is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 15. Meet in the ranch parking lot. General admission for both events is $15. Each event has a 15-person limit. Visit jacklondonpark.com for information.



Sonoma County: ParkRx program boosts healthy lifestyles

Sonoma County health care providers literally will soon be prescribing “a walk in the park” as part of a national ParkRx prescription program to promote their patients’ healthier lifestyles and engagement with nature.

The ParkRx for Health prescription program begins April 23. Jack London State Historic Park, Sugarloaf Ridge, Armstrong Woods, Austin Creek, Sonoma Coast, Trione-Annadel state parks and the Sonoma Overlook Trail are among the parks participating in the program.

Health care providers include Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph Health, Sonoma Valley Hospital and Sutter Health. Patients are encouraged to ask their doctor for a prescription of safe, healthy low-impact walking and other outdoor physical activity in nature.

Patients will receive a paper prescription for ParkRx monthly activities at participating state and regional parks or trails. A complete list of participating parks and trails is available at parkrx-sonomacounty.org.

Jack London State Historic Park is offering an easy one- to two- hour Wolf House walk that includes pre- and post-walk blood pressure checks by Sonoma Valley Hospital staff and a Family Hike on April 23. Registration and parking fees will be waived.

Information about the national ParkRx initiative is available at parkrx.org.


State Parks: New reservation system coming Aug. 1

California State Parks said it will begin a new, faster, easier and comprehensive system to make parks and tour reservations this summer.

Starting Aug. 1, the new reservation system ReserveCalifornia will provide additional self-service options, list campsites available for online reservation and include interactive and detailed maps and views of campsites, State Parks Deputy Director of Public Affairs Gloria Sandoval said.

ReserveAmerica formerly provided the State Parks reservation system for the past 10 years. Conduent Inc., a New Jersey-based business process services company and divestiture of Xerox, will now provide reservations services, Sandoval said.

“It’s a new user-friendly contract with a different provider. We want to enhance our communications with our visitors,” Sandoval said.

State parks visitors may continue to make reservations with ReserveAmerica through July 31.

Other features will be phased in on ReserveCalifornia between Aug.1 and March 1, 2018, Sandoval said. They include the ability of visitors and staff to view real-time reservation inventory, expanded tender and payment options and website trip planning.

The new reservation system includes state-of-the-art computerized point-of-sale and fee-collection equipment that allows debit and credit card payments at more locations, Sandoval said. That equipment will be installed in phases across the state.

Information about the new reservation system will be shared on the state Department of Parks and Recreation’s (State Parks) Facebook and Twitter accounts.

More information is available as parks.ca.gov/TransformationTeam.

California State Parks has 280 state parks in 22 field districts. Parks visitors are advised to make campsite reservations seven months ahead of their intended visit.


Willits: Kentucky Derby Day fundraiser

Tickets are on sale for Kentucky Derby Day at a Willits ranch where the legendary thoroughbred Seabiscuit recuperated from a 1939 left leg injury before winning the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap.

The nonprofit Redwood Community Services is hosting the May 6 event in the historic Howard House on the 5,000-acre Ridgewood Ranch at 16200 N. Highway 101, 5 miles south of Willits.

The Craftsman-style ranch house of C.S. Howard, the owner of Seabiscuit, was built in 1905. It was popular with visitors after Seabiscuit retired, and 20 historic buildings remain on the ranch where Seabiscuit was buried after his death in 1947.

Kentucky Derby Day at the ranch begins at 1 p.m. with Derby-themed drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a catered lunch. Activities include a Derby hat contest, silent and live auction, bidding booth and live streaming of the 143rd Kentucky Derby race. Country music artist McKenna Faith performs at the Willits event.

Reservations are required. Individual tickets are $80 and $900 for a table of 10 guests. They are available at rcskd.eventbrite.com, at the Mendocino Book Co. and the JD Redhouse and Mazahar boutiques in Willits.

Proceeds benefit Redwood Community Services, which provides specialized care and mental health services to foster children and their families in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

Call Pamela Mathias at Redwood Community Services, 707-367-4703, for information.