Countdown to Earth Day Tip #11: Look Up at an Oak!

Countdown to Earth Day Tip #11: Look Up at an Oak!

  • There’s no need to wait until Earth Day on April 22 to start celebrating our planet and becoming more engaged in taking care of its precious resources. This article is part of a series of tips on how to “go green” in Kane County — 15 in all, one for every business day before Earth Day. Use them to tap into your inner eco-mindfulness and let your green spirit shine brighter than ever!
  • This article was contributed by Karen Miller, executive planner for the Kane County Development Department.

Tip #11 — Look Up at an Oak!

Have you ever taken the time to look up and appreciate the majestic beauty of an oak tree? It’s easy as we go about our busy lives to pass by these creations of nature and not consider what we’re missing above us.

A beautiful oak tree at Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve.

The intricate beauty of an oak canopy as the sun or moonlight sparkles through its branches can be hundreds of years in the making! That longevity, large stature and vast canopy contributes to its strength, diversity and beauty. No wonder the Oak Tree is our national tree and the White Oak is our state tree!

Oaks are viewed by some as iconic, majestic and able to capture the imagination. Did you know that inks from oak trees helped pen the Declaration of Independence, daVinci’s illustrations and Bach’s musical scores? Some say oaks save us from boredom.

By gazing skyward through an oak tree are you aware that it can support more than 600 species of mammals, butterflies, moths, nesting birds and bats, mushrooms and microorganisms including those that are threatened and endangered? And that a large oak can drink over 5,000 gallons of stormwater and absorb more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a single year?

Fortunately there are many beautiful examples of oak trees to enjoy and appreciate in our area – check out this Remnant Oak Woodlands map for Kane County. So the next time you’re out walking or looking for a place to sit and relax and you pass by a beautiful old oak tree, don’t forget to look up!

To learn more about the importance of oak trees and how you can help the coordinated recovery effort to preserve, restore and expand oak ecosystems across the region please see the Chicago Wilderness Oak Ecosystems Recovery Plan and/or contact Karen Ann Miller, executive planner, Kane County Development Department at

Read the Countdown to Earth Day Series!