While I cannot think of a better way to spend Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend then out running in the beautiful Genesee Valley, there is another important reason to run the Oak Tree. 100% of the entry fees support the not-for-profit Genesee Valley Conservancy.
The Genesee Valley is home to several important landscapes: the Nations Road area is a nationally recognized Important Bird Area due to the rare and endangered species living in the grassland fields, the soils in the Genesee Valley are some of the highest quality and most productive for agriculture in the State, and the value of having open space and recreational opportunities in nature adds to the quality of life in western New York.
All of these things are threatened by harmful development. Building in the grasslands fragments the habitat necessary for endangered birds to survive, paving over prime farmland prevents nutrients in the soil from transforming into food on our tables, and the loss of open space reduces the joys of living in a rural community.
Landowners in the area formed the not-for-profit Genesee Valley Conservancy in 1990 to save these special places. By running the Oak Tree, you aid these efforts. Over 3,000 acres along the Oak Tree course have been protected from development, ensuring habitat is available to many rare and endangered birds. Thousands of acres of productive farmland have been conserved to ensure these highly productive fields will always be providing a productive base for the agricultural industry to grow crops. Nature preserves provide recreational trails, kayaking access, and areas used by schools for outdoor education.
The Oak Tree Half Marathon & 5K raises awareness of this important work while also raising funds to support our continued efforts with farmers, landowners, and students.
We are thrilled to show off just a small portion of the Genesee Valley during the Oak Tree and I hope you will enjoy running here as much as I do, perhaps a little bit more knowing the important work you are helping support.