This Oaktober, Kane County's Oak Trees Offer Relief From Emotional Stress of COVID-19 Pandemic

This Oaktober, Kane County’s Oak Trees Offer Relief From Emotional Stress of COVID-19 Pandemic

Since 2015, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative has promoted the value of oak trees through Oaktober – Oak Awareness Month.

And Kane County is joining the promotional effort in a big way during this year of COVID-19.

“We’ve learned how oaks trees work for us by cleaning our air and water, reducing ambient air temperature and usage of energy,” said Kane County Development Department Executive Planner Karen Ann Miller. “They reduce flooding and support our native wildlife. But in this year of COVID-19, it is important to emphasize how oak trees, and trees in general, improve our well-being and support a sense of community.”

Miller said staying safe and healthy during the COVID-19 epidemic has been a priority for several months.

“A lot of us have turned to the great outdoors for escape and relaxation from the to what the Kane County Health Department has described as the ‘normal physical, emotional, mental and behavioral reactions to the abnormal situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.’ ”

Studies have shown being around oak trees and nature in general have the following benefits:

  • Improves self-esteem and concentration.
  • Encourages more physical & recreational activities.
  • Creates opportunities for safe socialization in public spaces.
  • Improves relaxation and mood.

Recognizing the value of oaks and their ecosystems, Chicago Wilderness and the Morton Arboretum, including members of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative developed the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan to lead a coordinated recovery effort to preserve, restore, and expand oak ecosystems across the region.

“Oaktober” was created to educate and motivate the public about the benefits of oaks.

Each year, celebrations and activities take place on and around Oaktober.

“The safe practices of COVID-19 are influencing this year’s activities but don’t make them any less important,” Miller said. “In fact, getting out and appreciating nature this year can be more important to our physical and mental well-being than ever before.”

In order to see what Oaktober activities are taking place near you, visit the Chicago Region Trees Initiative Events page or your local forest preserve or park district website.

“But you don’t need an organized activity to get outside and take advantage of oaks,” Miller said. “Find a park or forest preserve near you, or walk your neighborhood in search of majestic oaks.”

Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve is a great place to see some of Kane County’s most beautiful oak trees.

SOURCE: Kane County 

Fun Forest Preserve District of Kane County Events During Oaktober