Wonderful Woodlands in Ward 8

This post, from Aug. 30, has information on upcoming Hamilton Naturalists’ Club initiatives.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

The Hamilton Naturalists’ Club will continue its stewardship of the Rolston Community Forest and the nearby Gourley Park forest this September. If you’d like to be involved in the continuing community care of these valuable Ward 8 assets, this post is for you.

For more details, please continue reading below…

There are several urban woodlands within Ward 8 that provide important habitats for wildlife in a sea of urban development. These special spaces are critical refuges for both wildlife and people to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Hamilton Naturalists’ Club (HNC) recognizes the significance of these woodlands and the importance of stewarding, or caring, for them. These pockets of nature in the city need our help to be able to provide the best habitat possible for the wildlife that depend on them. This includes managing invasive species, planting native species, and picking up garbage.

HNC has been focusing its stewardship efforts on Rolston Community Forest in Captain Cornelius Park and, more recently, the nearby Gourley Park forest. These urban forests provide almost 20 acres of natural space for numerous species of birds, plants, mammals, and pollinators, including Cooper’s Hawks, songbirds, spring ephemerals, chipmunks, bumble bees, and other pollinators.

For several years a dedicated team of HNC volunteers has been working hard to remove invasive shrubs like Common Buckthorn from Rolston Community Forest. Buckthorn can quickly take over a forest, preventing other native plants from becoming established. Invasive plants provide virtually no food value to wildlife so it is important to remove them and replace them with native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. So far HNC volunteers have planted over 100 wildflowers and 80 trees and shrubs, with plans to add more this fall. This enhances biodiversity in the forest, while also providing wildlife with important food sources.

At Gourley Park a key forest health concern is the open understory. There are many mature trees, but far fewer smaller trees and shrubs. Understory plants provide much of the food and shelter for small animals and birds, and fill in the canopy when large, old trees die.  Staying on the trails helps to protect these important plants.

Starting September 17 from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, we will help build the forest understory by planting native trees and shrubs. Anyone is welcome to join us for this family-friendly volunteer planting event. We will also be hosting a guided tree walk on September 28 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM to talk about the unique features of the forest and what can be done to improve it.

We always welcome new volunteers to help with stewardship efforts in these forests. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to find out more please contact Jen at land@hamiltonnature.org.

Hamilton Naturalists’ Club is a volunteer-led charitable organization with over 600 members. For over 100 years

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our office here.

Councillor John-Paul Danko