Earth Day is this Friday, so we’re offering up a few suggestions this week that will get you outdoors and, in one case, chipping in to help beautify our city by planting trees. We’re also shouting out what should be an exciting meet-the-author event at Oakland Public Library’s Eastmont Branch, and a special jazz concert at Yoshi’s featuring some of our city’s brightest young up-and-coming players. 

As always, keep a mask handy (some places require them, others don’t). Also remember to bring a paper or digital copy of your vaccination card, as the city of Oakland is still requiring proof of vaccination for many indoor establishments.

Know of an event that should be featured? Email our arts and community reporter Azucena Rasilla at: azucena@oaklandside.org

Tree planting in Arroyo-Viejo Park

A view of the meadow at Arroyo Viejo Park in East Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz

Looking to make a positive local impact this Earth Day weekend? The city of Oakland, the local group Trees for Oakland, and students from the Oakland Tech ecology club are inviting residents to help plant 60 trees at Arroyo-Viejo Park in East Oakland this Saturday. If you’re not known for having a green thumb, that’s alright—the morning kicks off with a tree-planting training. Once the job is done, kick back in the park and enjoy your handiwork during a picnic lunch with other volunteers. The event is being sponsored by One Tree Planted, a charitable organization that supports reforestation efforts around the globe.

Saturday, April 23, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Arroyo-Viejo Park, 7701 Krause Ave., register here

Earth Day celebration at Jack London Square

The main entrance to Jack London Square. Credit: Amir Aziz

Earth Day falls on Friday this year, and if you’d like to enjoy it outdoors, then consider peeling off some extra time for lunch and heading down to the waterfront at Jack London Square. Local businesses there will be hosting an Earth Day celebration in the plaza just outside of Plank. Attendees will receive a free planting kit and the first 10 visitors will also get treated to $10 off a meal at one of the commercial district’s surrounding restaurants. 

Friday, April 22, 12 p.m.–2 p.m., Jack London Square at the plaza by Plank, free to attend

Walk the Stream Trail at Redwood Regional Park

A ladybug colony on the Stream Trail at Redwood Regional. Credit: Jacobo Juarez

One of the joys of living in Oakland is that we don’t need to go too far to be surrounded by nature. In fact, one of our area’s most impressive redwood forests is located just a couple of miles north of Skyline Boulevard. Much of the Bay Area was built using wood from this area’s old-growth trees, which were cleared in the mid-1800s. But there’s no sign of those old logging operations now: Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park boasts over 1,800 acres of forest and grasslands, and miles of walking and biking trails that run alongside natural creeks, traverse ravines and hillsides, and wind around 150-foot coast redwoods. The park has multiple entry points and you can plan ahead to find a trail that’s right for you. But if you’re just getting acquainted with the park or have children, dogs, or elders in tow, then you might consider starting with the Stream Trail. The popular trail is easily accessible from the main park entrance on Redwood Road, and you don’t need to be a serious hiker to complete the loop. In the colder months, the Steam Trail is an excellent place to observe ladybug colonies. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the meadow (keep an eye out for rabbits) about a quarter-mile in, next to the children’s playground, or venture deeper into the forest for a more immersive experience. Bring a sweater, as the canopy keeps the forest surprisingly cool, even on warmer days.

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, main entrance at 7867 Redwood Rd., 5 a.m.–10 p.m. unless otherwise posted, fees for trailered vehicles, buses, and dogs are collected only on weekends and major holidays from April through October (and only at the main entrance), check website for full details

Black Roses: Odes Celebrating Powerful Black Women

Artist and storyteller Harold Green III will be performing verses from his new book, Black Roses, at the Eastmont Branch of the Oakland Public Library this coming Monday, April 25. He’ll also sit down for a live conversation with Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code. Green’s book pays homage to some of the contemporary Black women who inspire him, from Simone Biles to Issa Rae, Kamala Harris, and Misty Copeland, to name only a few. The volume is gorgeously illustrated by Jamaican-born artist Melissa Koby, and the Grammy-nominated female rap artist Rapsody was her subject for the cover. Signed copies of the book will be on sale at the event, courtesy of Hayward bookseller, Books on B.

Monday, April 25, 5 p.m.–7 p.m., Eastmont Branch, 7200 Bancroft Ave. Suite 211, registration required

Oakland School for the Arts Jazz Night at Yoshi’s

Yoshi’s at Jack London Square. Credit: Amir Aziz

Numerous music legends have graced the stage at Yoshi’s jazz club over the years, and now, a talented group of middle and high school students from Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) are being given a chance to follow in their footsteps. OSA boasts one of the top school-based music programs in the city, and it’s no wonder: They’ll be performing under the direction of Oakland’s own Kev Choice (whose performance dropped jaws at The Oaklandside’s inaugural Culture Makers event last month), along with highly touted instructors Daniel Parenti, Josh Jones, Mark Clifford, Patrick Anseth, and Jimmy Touzel. The students will be performing in small combos and big band settings. If you love jazz and enjoy supporting local talent, this could be your jam.

Monday, April 25, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, doors open at 7 p.m, show starts at 8 p.m., purchase tickets here

Jacob Simas is Managing Editor of The Oaklandside. He joined us from Univision, where he led social-impact initiatives and established the Rise Up: Be Heard journalism training program at Fusion for young people and community organizers in underserved areas of California. He was a senior editor and director of youth and community media at New America Media, where he led a community news network that amplified student and youth reporting in California news deserts. He is an advisory board member for Youth Beat, a graduate of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and a former producer with KPFA's First Voice apprenticeship program.