Rockford, Ill. – October is Oak Awareness Month in the State of Illinois. Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey declared it at the City Council meeting on Monday, October 5, 2015 with an official Proclamation for the City of Rockford and Chairman Scott Christianse n will deliver a Proclamation for it to be OAKTOBER – OAK AWARENESS MONTH throughout Winnebago County at the County Board Meeting on Thursday, October 8.
The White Oak tree is the State Tree of Illinois. Oak ecosystems are in a state of decline now after more than 5,000 years of being an important part of the Illinois landscape. There are several reasons for this including a lack of public awareness, poor management practices, reduced resources and an increase in non-native invasive species. The quality of wooded habitats in Illinois is listed as a “major concern” in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan and suggests there is a need to manage oak decline in the state as we seek to understand it.
Research shows that benefits of oak ecosystems and forests include improved air and water quality, carbon sequestration, soil fungi associations, social and economic health and well-being, providing jobs and income and essentially improve the quality of life across neighborhoods and community boundaries for all residents.
Oak Awareness Month is an opportunity for different entities of government, conservation and recreational groups, community organizations, industry, businesses and citizens to take action to support our native oak ecosystems.
Natural Land Institute (NLI) invites the public to celebrate “OAKTOBER” – Oak Awareness Month by taking a hike at Burr Oak Valley Preserve. The OAKtober Hike will be on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Burr Oak Valley Preserve, a private natural area owned by NLI, is located in Roscoe off Elevator Road. Parking will be on site - look for flags at the entrance (south side of road, one tenth of a mile east of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 7404 Elevator Rd., Roscoe, IL 61073). Additional parking is available at the church. Cost is FREE. Hikers should wear long sleeves, pants and sturdy shoes (moderate level hiking). Please register for this free event: Call 815/964-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NLI’s Director of Stewardship Zach Grycan, and Restoration Ecologist Ed Cope, will lead the hike through the rolling hills and oak savannas of Burr Oak Valley Preserve. They will talk about the ongoing restoration work and general differences between red and white oak trees and their environmental benefits.
About the Natural Land Institute
The Natural Land Institute is a 501(c)3, non-profit land trust and conservation organization based in Rockford, Illinois, which has protected more than 16,000 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958. NLI’s current service area covers twelve counties in northern Illinois. NLI’s mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land in northern Illinois for people, plants and animals. The President of the Board of Trustees is Dan Williams. For more information and to donate: www.NaturalLand.org.