Car Free Week in Hamilton winds up today – 15 people gathered this morning at McMaster to take a guided tour of Cootes Paradise with the ward councillor Brian McHattie, who also happens to be the past president of the venerable Hamilton Naturalist Club.

We were able to examine plant life representative of Carolinian forests which have their northernmost reaches here: Black Cherry, Beech, and the lovely Shagbark Hickory are just some of the distinctive species inhabiting the forest.

We encountered some difficulty with a large number of trails closed for natural regeneration, which meant the path we followed didn’t get us close to the marsh. Nevertheless we had an excellent two hour hike, and some people came back to the OPIRG office for free maps.

We did hear a woodpecker, saw two snakes, one frog, and learned a bit about the history of the nature reserve, and here, Brian brandishes a branch bristling with lichen.

For some McMaster students it was an introduction to this lovely natural area (owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens) bordering the campus.