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Oaktober-Oak Awareness Month

October is Oak Awareness Month

In response to advocacy from The Chicago Region Trees Initiative and its partners across the state,  Governor Bruce Rauner has designated October Oak Awareness Month in Illinois. Every individual, organization, community, park district, forest preserve, and  public or private landowner or manager can play an important role in celebrating oaks and oak ecosystems across Illinois throughout the month of October— OAKtober!

Oaks represent strength and stature.  In fact, the white oak is the Illinois State Tree. Majestic oaks create a sense of awe and wonder. These trees work for us by cleaning our air and water, reducing ambient air temperature and usage of energy. They reduce flooding and support our native wildlife. Our oaks, and trees in general, improve our well-being and support a sense of community.

How can you be part of OAKtober? 

There are many ways your organization, community, friends and neighbors can facilitate OAKtober—Oak Awareness Month—and help create awareness of the value of oaks across the state of Illinois and develop a network to support our important oak ecosystems. Here are some suggestions:

  • Host an oak workday. Individuals can help to remove invasive species to improve growing conditions for an oak ecosystem. Or plant, water, and mulch oak trees.
  • Sponsor a campout. Individuals and families can camp under the oaks and learn about the history of our region and the importance that oaks play.
  • Read a story, share a story.  Read personal stories from the Arboretum team to learn why oaks are vital for local communities and ecosystems across the world, then share a story of your own. 
  • Lead a walk through an oak woodland. Help participants notice all of the wildlife and plants that make up the oak ecosystem.
  • Host a talk. Have a local oak expert give a public talk and invite your organization’s members, and their friends and neighbors.
  • Collect acorns and plant them in pots.  Plan to plant them out into the community or parks in a few years.
  • Find your largest oak. Identify the largest oak tree in your community or park, determine its approximate age and introduce community members to the tree and its history.
  • Host an OAKtober beer or wine fest.
  • Engage the local schools. Encourage students to write essays or create posters on the importance of oaks to our communities and our ecosystems.
  • Hug an oak tree!

Join the effort and memorialize your event.  Take pictures and send them to mcustic@mortonarb.org so we can post them on this OAKtober event page and in local, regional and state-wide newspapers and social media.  Let us know what you are doing so we can all celebrate our collective action.  Be part of our annual OAKtober celebration!

Register your event  with Melissa Custic, Chicago Region Tree Initiative Coordinator at mcustic@mortonarb.org so we can track the statewide effort to support our oaks.  Happy OAKtober!