Natural Land Institute Hosts Events to Celebrate OAKtober

Natural Land Institute (NLI) will celebrate Oak Awareness Month by holding two events in October: Fall Prairie Harvest Day and OAKtober Hike. 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 White Oak is the Illinois State Tree.

Fall Prairie Harvest Day, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at Nygren Wetland Preserve (3190 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton, IL  61072). Admission is free for this volunteer event where attendees will provide valuable community service by helping collect seeds from native wildflowers and grasses. The seeds will be processed and stored, then distributed at Nygren Wetland and other NLI preserves in the future.

This is a fun and easy volunteer opportunity for groups (Scout Troops, 4-H Clubs, church youth groups, employee groups, families, etc.) and individuals of all ages. Volunteers will be taught how to identify forbs and grasses in their dormant stage and how to collect seeds or seed pods from the plants. Not only will they learn about native prairie plants, but they will get to see young and mature oak trees, insects, birds, and other wildlife while harvesting seeds.

Attendees can come and go anytime throughout the event timeline and should dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Gloves are recommended. Registration is requested by Fri., Oct. 1 online at: https://www.naturalland.org/event/fall-prairie-harvest-day-4/ or call 815/964-6666.

The OAKtober Hike will be on Sat., Oct. 30 starting at 1:30 p.m. and last about an hour and a half at Burr Oak Valley Nature Preserve, located across the street from Cross and Crown Lutheran Church (7404 Elevator Rd., Roscoe, IL 61073). Hikers will be led on a guided tour throughout the rolling hills of the preserve by NLI staff who will talk about the ongoing restoration work in the wooded areas and prairies, the importance of oak habitat, and the recent designation of the preserve as an Illinois State Nature Preserve and Buffer.

Limited parking on site with parking also at the church. Moderate to difficult level hiking. Admission is free for NLI members, $5 non-member individuals/$10 families (includes a one-time 6 month introductory membership). Registration is required by Fri., Oct. 29 online at: https://www.naturalland.org/event/oaktober-hike-2021/ or call: 815/964-6666.

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