Imagine an isolated lake in the middle of a big city; it is surrounded with beautiful forestry and vegetation that the various animals of the Canadian wilderness call home. The lake is calm, and at certain parts of the day, beautiful swans can be seen on it. Now imagine this exact scene is located right in your backyard. In the case of us McMaster students, this is our exact situation.
We are so fortunate at McMaster University to back on to such a beautiful landscape that might not always stay that way. It is important for us to go out there and experience it for ourselves, before it is too late.
“Before it is too late” is referring to the amount of time we have to experience Cootes Paradise before it is not so pretty anymore. Although it is already polluted to a certain extent, it is still beautiful to look at, but one day it will be so polluted that all of the animals that live in or around Cootes will no longer inhabit the area. Mac Care is doing a great job at maintaining the harbour and keeping it relatively clean, and it is great to see just how much people care about the environment and the various ecosystems of Cootes, but it is also evident that a lot of people could not care less, which is to be expected in a school of 20,000. That is fine; you do not need to be a tree-hugging-animal-loving-environment-obsessed person to get out there and see something truly beautiful that happens to be attached to our campus.
But consider the location of McMaster in relation to other universities in Ontario; we are in a location that is a combination of cement and green space, which creates a happy and natural feel to our school overall. Now compare this to other universities, like the University of Toronto, The University of Ottawa and Western University. These schools are mainly concrete, and do not have the privilege of being attached to a beautiful area or body of water like Cootes Paradise.
The students at these schools are not able to look out their window at a beautiful view of the forest; they do not have the privilege of walking around campus and witnessing deer casually eating on open spaces like Faculty Hollow.
Wouldn’t it be great to take a couple of minutes out of our busy schedules to observe this up close and personally? Wouldn’t it be great to get the word out that McMaster is a really beautiful school and should be recognized not only for its outstanding academics and athletics, but our location and scenery as well?
Cootes Paradise might not always be considered a “paradise” to some, but it is a paradise to many in the here and now, and as McMaster students, we should be familiar with it. Why not get out there and explore? It is evident that we lead very busy lives, which sometimes makes it hard to find a good way to relieve stress. Never underestimate nature’s power in being the perfect stress relief.
A walk in Cootes Paradise can help you to clear your mind and put things into perspective, and the best part about it is that it is free.
Just remember: behind all of the stress and hustle and bustle of school, there is a beautiful and incredible world out there that is just waiting to be explored. You should get out there and see it for yourself.