In 2015, the governor of Illinois proclaimed that October would officially become OAKtober: Oak Awareness Month.
Oaks represent strength and stature and are historically significant to both the Chicago region and Illinois, evident in the fact that 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 decreasing our use of energy. But oaks need our help: around the world, more than one-third of all oak species are threatened with extinction.
OAKtober is a time to celebrate oaks and everything that they do for people, as well as to promote the planting and care of these important trees. 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.
Here are some ways to participate in OAKtober:
Find OAKtober events. Search ‘OAKtober’ on the CRTI events page, and fill out the form to add your own.
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.
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!
Check out these OAKtober resources. These resources from our partners can help you promote oaks and oak ecosystems.