October has become known as OAKtober in the conservation community throughout the state of Illinois since it was first declared “OAKtober” in 2015. The purpose of OAKtober is to bring attention to the importance of oak trees, which clean our air and water, reduce air temperature and energy usage, and provide habitat for wildlife. Oak trees are strong and majestic and create a sense of place wherever they are. The Illinois State Tree is the White Oak.
Natural Land Institute (NLI) seeks to engage everyone in the community to celebrate Oak Awareness Month by inviting them to attend and participate in several programs throughout the month. Register for the programs listed below on NLI’s website calendar page at www.naturalland.org.
Fall Prairie Harvest Day, Saturday, Oct. 5, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Location: Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton, Admission: Free. Registration requested by Fri., Oct. 4. This fun and easy community service opportunity is great for all ages and groups. Help collect seeds from native wildflowers and grasses which will be used in future prairie plantings at NLI preserves. Start anytime and work as long as you like between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Snacks and water available.
Lecture: Geology and How the Rivers Shaped Our Region, Wed., Oct. 23, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Cost: $10 (includes one beverage: beer, wine, soft drink). Natural Land Institute’s Education Committee will host a lecture at Prairie Street Brewhouse (200 Prairie St., Rockford, Peacock Room). The featured speaker will be Jerry Paulson, retired Executive Director of NLI. Jerry will share his knowledge about the geomorphic history of our region and inform the audience about how the rivers shaped this region. Register by 4 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 23. This lecture is presented in partnership with Prairie St. Brewing Co.
OAKtober Hike, Sat., Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Location/Parking: Burr Oak Valley Preserve, located across from Cross and Crown Lutheran Church, 7404 Elevator Rd., Roscoe. Limited parking on site with
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parking also at the church. Moderate to difficult level hiking. Admission: Free for NLI members; $5 for non-members (includes a one-time 6 month introductory membership). Registration requested by Fri., Oct. 25.
Community Service Land Stewardship Days: (For more information, location and directions, and to sign up: 815/964-6666, firstname.lastname@example.org) Land stewardship activities include removing invasive brush and collecting seeds. Volunteering for land stewardship is a way for individuals to make a difference in the natural environment, work together, be a part of a community and make friends with others who share an interest in helping to restore and protect nature. Volunteers can work for part of or for the entire designated time. And of course, they will see many types of beautiful, strong and majestic oak trees while they work.
Second Monday at Burr Oak Valley Preserve, Mon., Oct 14, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Third Saturday at Silver Creek Woods Preserve, Sat., Oct. 19, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
For more information about OAKtober Awareness Month visit: http://chicagorti.org/programs/oaktober-oak-awareness-month.
About Natural Land Institute
The Natural Land Institute, an accredited conservation land trust, is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization based in Rockford, Illinois, which has protected more than 17,300 acres of natural land in Illinois since 1958. The 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. For more information and to donate: www.NaturalLand.org.