Oak Tree Tea hosts 100+ people and celebrates the oaks of Pasadena through Art, Poetry, and Music

Oak Tree Tea celebrates the oaks of Pasadena

With Artist Jennifer Bentson 

Saturday, June 11, 2016, Caltech hosted and the City of Pasadena enthusiastically embraced their natural oak heritage at Dabney Hall at Caltech.

Jennifer Bentson and Mayor Terry Tornek

Jennifer Bentson Caltech Oak

Caltech Oak

Jennifer Bentson 02

Made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division


Jennifer Bentson 11

Saturday, June 11, 2016, Caltech hosted and the City of Pasadena enthusiastically embraced their natural oak heritage at Dabney Hall at Caltech. Someone remarked that they thought that the campus oaks were glad to see over 100 folks including Mayor Terry Tornek at the tea.  The tea which took place from 3pm to 6pm was the zenith of an art project funded in part by a grant from the City of Pasadena.  Jennifer Bentson has contacted various organizations in an effort to identify significant oak trees over the past year.  What makes a tree significant?  The story of that tree.  Some of the stories are of trees that do not exist anymore such as the great oak at Memorial Park that fell down during a wind storm in 2011, or the two oaks that changed the direction of Orange Grove Boulevard in the late 1800’s.  But there are many oaks living today that are truly fascinating as are their stories.  The story of Frank’s Family Oak is one that exemplifies the extent that the residents of Pasadena love their trees.  During a fire in 1961, Frank ignored the Fire Department’s warnings and stayed on top of his roof to water the roof and the oak nearby.  The oak was partially burned, but today is a testament to Frank’s heroic efforts.  The tree shades Frank’s grandchildren as they play in the backyard.

The community of Pasadena rallied to help Jennifer Bentson identify and tell the story of their community through the oak trees and the people associated with the oaks.

The afternoon was a collection of talent from the Pasadena Community.  Poetry celebrating the 400+ year old Engelmann Oak was read by Kathabela Wilson and the poets on campus group accompanied by an ancient Japanese flute played by a Caltech Emeritus Professor, Rick Wilson: and the Pasadena Conservancy provided David Margolis and his classical guitar for the reception.

Jennifer Bentson book 01Jennifer Bentson Jen and Rob reading Jen's Books

Jennifer Bentson and Rob Leber

A book was created from the stories and paintings of Jennifer Bentson and was inaugurated at the tea as well.

Guests voted on their favorite paintings in this project.  The top two were,  Huntington Garden’s Canary Isle Oak, and On the Edge of the World Wide Church Oak.

It was an enjoyable afternoon.  Jennifer Bentson will be presenting the book, Pasadena Oaks, at a signing later this year.  Eaton Canyon Nature Center has graciously offered to host an event to celebrate their oaks and the art of Jennifer Bentson.  Look for more paintings of oaks and stories too at Eaton Canyon Nature Center.

To order Jennifer’s Books go to..



Jennifer Bentson Oak Tree on Green Street and Orange Grove

Oak Tree on Green Street and Orange Grove 

To view more of Jennifer’s work go to..



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