August 28, 2023 /
Christina Hester

Celebrating Oxon Run Day

Oxon Run Day, hosted by the Friends of Oxon Run, is a vibrant community event that celebrates nature, fitness, and local engagement! This year, we had the pleasure of tabling and sharing our passion for urban tree canopy growth and environmental education with the community. Casey Trees hosted engaging activities that educated the community about the trees of their local park and shed some light on the impact of these trees in urban environments – in a way that captivated both young minds and adults alike.

Our first activity, a “Trees of Oxon Run” scavenger hunt, set attendees on a self-guided exploration of the park. Groups of eager participants embarked on a quest for distinctive sweetgum balls, unique leaves, and intriguing bark textures. The park’s rich biodiversity provided ample material for exploration, and kids and adults dove into the search! Those who completed the scavenger hunt were rewarded with sustainable aluminum water bottles commemorating the day!

In conjunction with the scavenger hunt, we also provided a mini tree identification booklet that highlighted the various species found within the park. Equipped with identification tips, participants were armed with knowledge to enhance their scavenger hunt experience or simply to deepen their connection with the park’s natural wonders.

The second activity was a temperature study, that brought a scientific twist to the event. Attendees, from youngsters to adults, were encouraged to make predictions about temperature variances in different locations. Would the tent, the shade of a tree, or the sun-baked pavement yield the highest temperatures?

Guided by curiosity, participants set off, taking temperature readings of various landmarks across the park. While the difference in temperature might be something individuals have felt before, seeing the drastic change in temperature on the handheld device resonated deeply with the community – helping paint the picture of what a thriving urban canopy can bring to a city.

With ambient temperatures hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit under the tent, temperatures dipped to the mid to high 80s near a bald cypress tree, and (perhaps not so) astonishingly spiked to 138 degrees right above the pavement. This hands-on experience led to an enlightening discussion on the role of reflected heat from dark pavements and the cooling effect of large canopy trees.

Beyond these fun-filled activities, we engaged in meaningful conversations with the community. Casey Trees staff debunked tree-related myths and shared insights about our impactful planting programs. This direct interaction with neighbors highlighted the crucial role that trees play in urban ecosystems and addressed misconceptions that might hinder crucial tree conservation efforts.

The event was truly hosted for the community, by the community; as a gathering of like-minded environmental groups. Partners like Nature Forward, Capital Nature, Sierra Club, DC Greens, and DOEE also participated, creating a vibrant tapestry of environmental advocacy. The collaborative spirit of these organizations showcased a shared commitment to creating a greener, healthier future for the community. Another huge thank you to Friends of Oxon Run for gathering us all together, the love they have for their park and community is evident in everything they do!

And who could forget the fun-filled dunk tank featuring none other than Councilmember Trayon White? Thank you for being such a great sport and engaging your community!