Parks Canada supports protecting natural lands surrounding McMaster University

A group of people walking through greenspace. There are trees and a body of water in the background.

McMaster is one of nine partners making up the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System receiving funds from Parks Canada to protect natural lands.

Parks Canada is providing $3.5 million in funding to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) and other members of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, including McMaster University, to support the development of ecological corridors in protected areas and parklands between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment. 

The funds will be used to protect 2,200 hectares of land and connect wildlife across a highly urbanized landscape, through initiatives such as restoring natural habitats, increasing native plants, removing invasive species and protecting wildlife. The program will also involve Indigenous communities in sharing knowledge about the land. 

“This funding will enable us to continue and expand upon initiatives that protect natural lands owned by and neighbouring McMaster University,” says Wayne Terryberry, coordinator of natural lands at McMaster. “A great example of this is McMaster’s Carbon Sink Forest, a model forest which serves as an outdoor classroom and research project monitoring the amount of carbon dioxide that is being pulled out the atmosphere by each tree.” 

“The university’s long association with local conservation organizations ensures that McMaster’s natural backyard is protected and preserved.” 

A commitment to protecting greenspace on campus and beyond is outlined in McMaster University’s Sustainability Strategy and recognized in the university’s responsibility to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

“As a member of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, McMaster has a responsibility to support the stewardship of natural lands on and surrounding our campus, which are home to diverse and ecologically sensitive ecosystems,” says David Farrar, president of McMaster University. “McMaster continues to be committed to collaborating with our neighbours and partners to promote and protect this uniquely biodiverse area.” 

The nine organization members include the Royal Botanical Gardens, Bruce Trail Conservancy, City of Burlington, City of Hamilton, Conservation Halton, Halton Region, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Hamilton Naturalists Club and McMaster University. The Government of Canada’s most recent nature conservation campaign aims to protect 30 per cent of Canada’s lands and waters by 2030. 

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