OAKtober is Illinois’ monthlong celebration of oak trees and the things that make them great. We love oaks here at the DuPage Forest Preserve District, so we’re thrilled to be a part of it!
Why celebrate oaks?
Think of your favorite wild animals — white-tailed deer, woodpeckers, chickadees, white-footed mice, nuthatches, owls, squirrels. In one way or another they all depend on oaks for food or shelter. Over 500 different kinds of insects rely on the trees! (That’s good news for the birds, frogs, squirrels and other animals that dine on insects.) Oaks also provide shade and soak up thousands of gallons of water during heavy rains.
What are some more fun facts about oaks?
How can I celebrate OAKtober?
Whether you’re ready to start planting or just want to spread the word, there are lots of ways!
- Plant an oak in your yard this fall.
- Volunteer at an oak-recovery workday, and help remove invasive plants so oaks have space to grow.
- Hug an oak tree.
- Join a guided walk through an oak forest.
- Invite a local oak expert to talk at your next neighborhood or civic meeting.
- Encourage your town to plant oaks in picnic areas and parks.
- Find the largest oak in your neighborhood and share it with your friends on social media.
- Encourage classrooms to write essays or create posters on the importance of oaks.
- Sign up for one of the OAKtober programs below!
Discover new and exciting nature facts and finds as you explore a preserve on a casual guided walk, which will be 2 miles or less. You must wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. All ages; under 18 with an adult. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-933-7248.
Get some healthy exercise and enjoy the wonders of a DuPage forest preserve on a guided 3- to 5-mile hike. Ages 18 and up. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-933-7248.
|Oct. 4||8:30 – 10 a.m.||Fullersburg Woods|
|Oct. 11||8:30 – 10 a.m.||McDowell Grove|
|Oct. 18||8:30 – 10 a.m.||James "Pate" Philip State Park|
|Oct. 25||8:30 – 10 a.m.||Greene Valley|
The Ins and Outs of Oak Trees
Celebrate OAKtober with a walk through an oak savanna, and then relax in Mayslake Hall’s historic library with some white oak bark tea. Take a docent-led tour of the library and study, both featuring 100-year-old oak walls and flooring, and leave with acorn flour recipes from the 1920s. Ages 18 and up. $10 per person. Register online or at 630-206-9566.
|Oct. 2 & 16||1:30 – 3 p.m.||Mayslake|
Oak Recovery Hike
On this 4-mile guided hike through a high-quality oak woodland, learn about the Forest Preserve District’s efforts to restore the county’s disappearing oak habitats and how you as a homeowner can help. Ages 18 and up. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-933-7248.
|Oct. 20||Noon – 1:30 p.m.||Greene Valley|
Oaks on the Prairie
Help harvest native wildflower seeds for use in new or existing forest preserve habitats, and find out how oaks play a role in prairie ecosystems. All ages; under 18 with an adult. Free. Register online or at 630-933-7233.
Enjoy the fall colors as you learn about oaks on a guided walk. If you wish, you bring crayons and paper to make your own leaf and bark rubbings. Ages 5 and up; under 18 with an adult. $5 per person. Register online or at 630-933-7248.
|Oct. 17||2 – 3 p.m.||St. James Farm|
Peabody’s Pages Book Club Three-Part Discussion
Meet in Mayslake Hall’s 100-year-old library for these enriching meetings, where you’ll discuss great reads with fellow book fans! Ages 18 and up. $5 per person for all three discussions. Register online or at 630-206-9568.
Tractor-Drawn Wagon Ride
Enjoy a 30-minute ride through the scenic forest preserve. Rides leave at 1, 1:45 and 2:30 p.m. Tickets are first-come, first-served and go on sale at noon the day of the rides. All ages; under 13 with an adult. $5 per person ages 5 and up; under 5 free. No registration. For questions or private group ride reservations, call 630-668-6012.
|Oct. 2, 3, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 & 31||1 – 3 p.m.||Danada|
Tractor-Drawn Wagon Ride: Fall Oak Colors
Celebrate OAKtober on a 30-minute covered wagon ride through one of the largest oak forests in DuPage. Rides leave at 1, 1:45 and 2:30 p.m. All ages; under 13 with an adult. $5 per person ages 5 and up; under 5 free. Register online or at 630-933-7248. For additional dates as the colors change, visit dupageforest.org.
|Oct. 23 & 24||1 – 3 p.m.||St. James Farm|
Volunteer Restoration Workday
Help improve a forest preserve prairie or woodland by collecting seeds or removing nonnative plants. Ages 8 and up; under 18 with an adult. Free. Register online or at 630-206-9630 at least five days in advance (10 days by phone for groups of five or more).
|Oct. 3, 9, 11, 16, 18, 24 & 30||8:30 – 11 a.m.||Churchill Woods|
|Oct. 9 & 30||9 a.m. – Noon||Churchill/Glacial|
|Oct. 23 & 30||9 a.m. – Noon||Maple Grove|
Woody Invasive Species Workshop
Pick up tips for creating healthy home landscapes, and discover how tackling invasive woody species can improve local ecosystems while increasing an area’s natural beauty. Ages 18 and up. Free. Register online or at 630-933-7248.
|Oct. 1||7 – 8:30 p.m.||Online|
What makes oaks a "keystone species"?
Why is it important to plant oaks in my town?
As the county’s oaks age (many are well over 100 years old), there aren’t as many new ones to replace them. The Forest Preserve District creates areas where oaks can thrive, but the benefits of oaks don’t stop at the property line. Oaks planted outside of the forest preserves extend the oak canopy into parks and backyards, giving wild animals that depend on the stately trees more places to live and dine.