Workshops and Events

Pollinator Power Party 2022

EPRI is hosting a week long party to celebrate pollinators, June 20 to June 24! The goal is to reach 2.5 Million people! You can read more & register here for the event.

People around the world are becoming aware of the importance of pollinators in their daily lives. From the food we eat to the art we enjoy, bees, butterflies, and birds are integrated into our lives in more ways that we realize. The declines in pollinator populations are causing global concern. While power companies may not be the primary cause of pollinator decline, they are interested in being part of the solution! There is an opportunity for electric power companies to work together on joint efforts that result in greater benefit than can be accomplished alone. As a non-profit research institute with a public benefit commitment, EPRI provides this unique collaborative platform and is leading progressive work that supports power companies, the public, and pollinators themselves.

See the Pollinator Power Party Program below:

Download the Pollinator Power Party 2022 PDF

Pollinator and General Garden Workdays – weekends at the Gardens at Lake Merritt
To volunteer email:

Past Events

Tees for Bees
Saving the environment one swing at a time.

When: May 22, 2022, 1-3 pm

Where: Redwood Canyon Golf Course
17007 Redwood Rd
Castro Valley, CA 94546

Join us for a fun community event! Hit seed balls filled with wildflower seeds, learn about local pollinators and birds.

For further information, e-mail:

Victoria the Corpse Flower – Events

We are delighted to be showcasing Victoria the Corpse Flower who bloomed on 6/13/21. To celebrate this event which was 14 years in the making we are hosting meet and greets with Victoria on 6/15 Link Here.

We hosted a zoom talk on Friday 6/18/21 in her honor – Stinky Plants and the Pollinators Who Love Them where we took a deep dive into extreme pollination from Sumatra to California with naturalist Damon Tighe. Link to recording on youtube

Pollinator Posse Day in Oakland

Join us to celebrate as Mayor Libby Schaaf proclaims Pollinator Posse Day in Oakland.
May 22, 2021 11am-1pm at The Gardens at Lake Merritt

Tees for Bees
Saving the environment one swing at a time.

Two Dates & Two Locations!
When: May 2, 2021, 1-3 pm
Where: Redwood Canyon, Golf Course, 17007 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94546
Register for May 2nd: Redwood Canyon Golf
For More Info contact:

When: May 17, 2021, 4-6 pm
Where: Lake Chabot, Golf Course, 11450 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605
Register for May 17: Lake Chabot Golf
For More Info Email:

Help the bees by hitting seed balls with local wildflower seeds into open spaces.

Come out to Tees for Bees, and join Touchstone Golf, Pollinator Posse and Ace Kids Golf programs in changing golf courses from recreational spaces to critically needed habitat for our local pollinator populations. Learn about how you can help to bring back these populations of important creatures that keep our open spaces thriving. We will be holding workshops about what pollinators live here in the bay area, and what they need in order to survive and how the golf courses can become the answer to saving them. You can help by hitting seed balls with local wildflower seeds into the open spaces at the golf course

You will go home with knowledge that you can apply at your home also to create healthy habitat for bees and butterflies. Help us spread the word about saving the bees!

Autumn Lights Festival 2020

Every year since 2012, more than 10,000 art and nature enthusiasts flock to Oakland’s Lake Merritt to immerse themselves in the Autumn Lights Festival ─ a one-of-a-kind interactive art experience that is always the talk of the town. This year, our ever-popular annual tradition will expand its reach by going virtual with three nights of distributed presentations on October 16, 17, and 18. Thanks to our generous partner Niantic Labs the event is FREE (donations encouraged).

A gift to our community in support of the Gardens, the 9th annual benefit for our non-profit Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt will bring upwards of 40 locally produced illuminated art displays to life through video, demos and live chat, treating audiences to an exciting, behind-the-scenes experience with both longtime and new artists of Autumn Lights.  Click Here or the button below to join us in celebrating the hundreds of artists that have shared their art and time so generously over the years to support the Gardens.

The Posse will be online Saturday night with our Pollinator Perspective Exhibit and artists Terry Smith and Aimee Baldwin.

Tora Talks Monarchs

March 21, 2019
Placer County Master Gardeners
Auburn, CA

Tora Talks Pollinators

March 28, 2019
Lincoln Garden Club
Auburn, CA

The Buzz

(our latest news, not always about bees….)

March ( Castro Valley )-Possible Tees 4 Bees at Redwood Canyon Golf Course with Ace Kids Golf and Touchstone Golf association

March 21st (Auburn )- Tora Monarch talk Placer County Master Gardeners

March 28th ( Auburn ) – Tora pollinator Talk- Lincoln Garden Club

April 6th ( Sunol )- East Bay Regional Wild flower Festival, – pollinator outreach tabling

April 13th (Rocklin )- Placer County Master Gardener Garden Faire- Tora talk on Pollinators and Native plants.

April 20th (Auburn )- Earth day Celebration at Forgotten Soldier Community Garden- Air bee n bee outreach and tabling.

April 27th ( Richmond ) – Butterfly Summit Annie’s Annuals – outreach and tabling, 10am-4pm

May 4th ( Santa Rosa )- Sonoma County Pollinator Garden Tour. Tora Speaking Robin North’s Ca. Native garden open on Tour

May 18th ( San Leandro) Endangered Species Day – Monarch outreach and tabling

June – Bird and Butterfly Festival ( Fremont )

August ( Folsom )- Tora Pollinator Talk San Juan water district

Sept. 10-12- ( Santa Rosa )- Heirloom Festival Kids outreach

Oct. 17-19 (Oakland )- Autumn Lights Festival


February 20 ( Oakland ) – Seed Ball making at La Plazita after school program, 2pm-5pm

Feb. 23rd (Oakland ) – Tees 4 Bees @ Chabot Golf Course with Ace Kids Golf, 2pm-5pm


East Bay Regional Wild Flower Festival

Sunday, April 14, 2019,
11:00am to 4:00pm

Sunol: Visitor Center

The hills are bursting with colors, as we celebrate the season. Hikes throughout the park get people into the blooms, while games, crafts, and activities offer something for everyone on the valley floor.

Carpooling encouraged. Offsite parking with shuttle will be provided.

No registration, drop-in
Info: (510) 544-3249

More Details


7th Annual Autumn Lights Festival, The Benefit for Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, Three nights – Thursday October 18 thru Saturday October 20

Proceeds will fund improvements at the gardens including construction of two new landscaped gates and entry plazas on Bellevue Avenue.

Imagine yourself immersed in acres of lush gardens illuminated with mesmerizing, larger-than-life art and lighting installations created by Bay Area artists. Join us for our 7th Annual Autumn Lights Festival, beautifully situated in the gardens of Lakeside Park on the shores of Oakland’s shimmering Lake Merritt. The festive evenings blend live music, art, fire dancers, food and libations to make one unforgettable experience. This wildly popular annual tradition benefiting the Gardens at Lake Merritt is easy to get to and fun for all ages.  Autumn Lights is a magical festival of illuminated art by acclaimed Bay Area artists, in support of the non-profit Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt. This year the Autumn Lights Festival will be three nights – Thursday October 18 thru Saturday October 20.  Tickets and more info at

The Festival is a unique Oakland tradition, a huge art and light event! It’s a community gathering held within the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Lakeside Park. The Festival is a fundraiser for these beautiful, free public gardens, which are truly the “Green Heart of Oakland.” Local artists create gigantic and small works of art using light. From tiny clay pottery lanterns to Burning Man pieces, everyone in our art community comes together to create the magic. Immerse yourself in mesmerizing, larger-than-life art installations, fire dancers, live music and more!

Annie’s Welcomes Back Monarchs!

740 Market Ave, Richmond, California 94801


11 AM-4 PM

Let’s welcome back our favorite fluttering fauna as they return to their overwintering sites along the California coast!

Join us for a fun and info-packed celebration of all things Monarch at this day-long event featuring experts, educators and enthusiasts imparting a wealth of important information for the home gardener and butterfly lover!

Learn how to plant a garden that welcomes Monarchs (best plants, best practices), where to see Monarchs overwintering in the Bay Area, learn about Monarch biology and natural history and more! Panel presenters will discuss critical issues facing Monarchs today, providing gardeners with the latest information and ample time for questions and concerns.

Plant lists, gardening tips, volunteer opportunities and butterfly watching hot spots will be shared!

11:00 am: Bring the kids to see caterpillars and learn about the Monarch life cycle and the importance of host plants from Oakland’s Pollinator Posse.

11:00 am: Tora Rocha and the Pollinator Posse discuss the importance of pollinator passageways and the work its Magic Monarch program does with citizen scientists in conjunction with Children’s FairylandThe Gardens at Lake Merritt and local classrooms.

1:30 -3:30 pm: Panel presentation and discussion. Hear from the experts who have worked to monitor and protect Monarchs and other butterfly species in their urban and suburban neighborhoods. Speakers and panelists include:

Tora Rocha, founder of Oakland’s Pollinator Posse.

Angela Laws, Monarch and Pollinator Ecologist with the The Xerces Society on why Monarchs need a special welcome! Overview of their amazing life cycle throughout the year, why this is such a species of concern and what threatens them at each stage.

Mia Monroe, The Xerces Society Volunteer and coordinator of Western Monarch Count in the SF Bay Area.

Suzanne Clarke, Master Gardener, shares her success and secrets in welcoming Monarchs into her garden. Follow her on her Facebook page: Sonoma County Butterfly Alliance.

Bill Shepard, retired teacher and citizen scientist on the wonder of butterflies in the East Bay – and where to watch for them! Find out how to see the Monarchs at the San Leandro Golf Course, where thousands overwinter most years.

First Annual Bay Area Bee Fair

Saturday, May 19, 2018 12-5pm

LOCATION: Derby Street Block Party, 1300 block of Derby Street, Berkeley

First Annual Bay Area Bee Fair

A celebration of Pollinators

Potluck, music, kid’s activities, pollinator/ gardening/ naturalist/ citizen science education. Bee there!!!! Catch the buzz!!!!


SATURDAY, May 26, 10-4

butterfly_poster_2018_r2Annie’s is thrilled to announce our second Butterfly Summit! Join us and several of the Bay Area’s most devoted butterfly experts to find out what you can do to garden for butterflies, create butterfly corridors and preserve habitat! Free and open to all ages

10 am: Bring the kids to see our caterpillars and adult butterflies, talk with our experts and share your experiences!

11 am: Art Shapiro, professor of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis will share a state of the state keynote address on butterflies in Northern California. Come learn how butterflies are doing and how they are adapting. Art will identify the plants most likely to attract and sustain butterflies in this area, address the issue of native plants vs. non-native plants (you’ll be surprised!) with special reference to both plant and butterfly seasonality.

All day: Stop by one of our regional info tables to learn more about what you can do to help re-establish butterfly populations throughout the greater SF Bay Area.

See a detailed schedule of events on Annie’s Annual’s website. 

Butterfly & Bird Festival

Sunday, June 3, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

COYOTE HILLS REGIONAL PARK – Join us for a joint celebration of nature’s flying critters and Coyote Hill’s 50th anniversary at this year’s Butterfly & Bird Festival. Enjoy garden tours, family hands-on activities, educational speakers, photo presentations, and music. This event is dedicated to sharing 50 years worth of stories around increasing the numbers and species of butterflies and birds here at Coyote Hills, and how you can do the same for Bay Area landscapes.

For information: (510) 544-3220.

Parking fees apply where charged. Disabled accessible.

No registration required; Drop-in program only.

6th Annual Autumn Lights Festival

October 19 – 21, 2017 at Gardens at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Tickets now on sale for our 6th Annual Autumn Lights Festival! This year’s spectacular showcase of illuminated art takes place October 19 – 21 benefiting Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Get your tickets soon as we expect sales to be brisk and you won’t want to miss out! Ticket info here:

Pollinator Pallooza

June 25, 2017 10am-2pm at Lakeside Park

Join the National Wildlife Federation, Children’s Fairyland, The Pollinator Posse, City of Oakland, Insect Sciences Museum and many more for free workshops, seminars and Garden tours. Learn how to attract the Bay area pollinators to your neighborhood. Book Signing by Beth Pratt Bergstrom, author of “When Mountain lions are Neighbors.” Meet local experts and enjoy our local wildlife.

June 25th Pollinator Palooza 2017 flyer (PDF)

Let’s Wing It, The Butterfly Summit at Annie’s Annuals, Richmond, CA

March 25, 10am-3pm

Tees For Bees

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Posse flew up to Oakland’s Lake Chabot Golf Course on Monday, April 3, 2017 to partner with Ace Kids Golf for the first-ever “Tees for Bees” event. Over 100 local kids on spring break enthusiastically explored this intriguing workshop blending golf skills clinic with pollinator education and lunch. The pay off for the attendees? Practicing their driving skills by knocking “seed balls”– golfball-sized seed bombs they learned to make– into the green space next to the course. In no time, a bee-friendly habitat they planted will be abloom!

Earth Day at the Gardens at Lake Merritt


Saturday, April 22, 2017