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Showing posts from May, 2012

History Hike at McMaster June 5

Ponds to Parking History Hike into West Campus with guide Randy Kay, Tuesday, June 5, 12:30pm sharp, depart from the OPIRG Office (McMaster University Student Centre room 229) - free! - explore the history of McMaster's expansion into West Campus: Visit a Pioneer Cemetery, check out Ancaster Creek (AKA Coldspring Creek), find out what happened to Binkley's Pond, and find out about recent developments to improve the natural habitat in Parking Lot M.

Did you know that the west campus parking lots were, from 1958 until McMaster purchased the land in 1963, owned by Royal Botanical Gardens as Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary?

Blue Herons for Coldspring Valley!

We have a new poster for raising awareness about the opportunity to turn paved parking lots back into healthy wetlands next to Ancaster Creek in McMaster's "Lot M" on west campus. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and stay actively involved.

If you are able, print a poster off and put it up somewhere! If you want some to put up, you can contact Randy at 905-525-9140 ext. 26026 or e-mail dundastard@gmail.com for free posters.

Thanks to volunteer Aili Wang for the poster design!

paradigm shift

Like many others in the city, I find myself riding through Dundas Valley on my bicycle along the Rail Trail, enjoying the changing seasons, stopping to rest at a bench, maybe taking a lunch and eating it on a sunny hilltop.

Yesterday, returning to the city across a newly-paved extension of the trail at its eastern reaches, we see train cars parked on the other side of a fence. The trail here parallels the train yard until the path veers to the right and joins the city street network.

Those trains, or trains like them, once ran on tracks where we now walk and ride bicycles. There is a long history of trains bringing people between cities and towns, and farmer's produce to market here. The Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway (TH&B, also sometimes referred to as "To Hell and Back") was incorporated in 1884, but by 1998 the track between Hamilton and Brantford had been removed and the rail bed transformed into a crushed gravel multi-use path for non-motorized users.

T…

Turtles versus Traffic

Tys Theysmeyer, the head of conservation for the RBG, says, “It’s a big problem. The turtle population is going down and down. The road is built right through the centre of the travel route for the turtles. Dundas turtles get help in their battle with trafficHamilton Spectator 


Barry Gray/The Hamilton... 1 2 Sidebar Do you want to help? What: Royal Botanical Gardens workers are asking for volunteers to help

What 30 metres looks like

View McMaster 30 M buffer between parking and creek in a larger map


This map illustrates a very rough outline of how much space a 30m buffer would look require, though more accurate measurements have been taken by OPIRG McMaster on the ground since this map was created in 2008.


The 30m naturalized buffer is to undo the damage to the creekside riparian zone when parking lots were built over a wetland. Restore Cootes has been trying to get McMaster University to act on the 30m buffer since discovering that the buffer is included in the Campus Master Plan. 


The long Westaway Road that extends along the southern edge of parking to the western edge of Lot M needs to be considered as well for restoration. Cold spring-water bubbles to the surface on the slope just south of the roadway, and has been contained by culverts and pipes to prevent the formation of creeks that existed in the 1960s. The creeks were of course in the way of the parking lots being constructed in the late 1960 and early 197…

For the Turtles of Cootes

Turtle Watching: Volunteers Needed

By fragmenting the western end of Cootes Paradise with a four lane highway (Cootes Drive 1936) and McMaster parking (1969), car drivers gain at the expense of intact habitat for a multitude of species. Road kill on Cootes accounts for a severe threat to the survival of at risk species, and perhaps none so glaringly as the slow moving turtles who inhabit the remnant marsh.
A local volunteer group has, for the last few years, formed to assist the turtles and increase awareness, and (hopefully) survival rates. 
Please consider giving some of your time to the turtles of Cootes Paradise.
April 2012

Turtles will begin to move from their wintering sites in late May and their peak nesting period is mid-June. Dundas Turtle Watch identifies, monitors and rescues turtles at risk from traffic, and protects nests from predation wherever possible.
 The group  is  looking for people with a digital camera  who are  prepared to volunteer regularly, for approximately 2 hours week, plus some record keepin…