North End Raccoon Walks

Hey raccoon friends! We’ve been learning lots and scheming all winter long, and we are really excited to offer this early springtime workshop series in Hamilton’s North End. Click this image for more details: !


Part 1-

The Secret Language of Tree Bark

Sunday March 25th 1-3pm

Join us for an early-Spring wander to kick off the North End Raccoon Walks series!

In this workshop we will spend time getting to know the different tree types that are common in urban wild spaces. Our intentions are:

  • to build our collective literacy in identifying scrubland and city-edge trees
  • and to practice some skills for cultivating familiarity with the subtle details in bark texture, twig patterns and buds that make each tree special and unique

With a little practice, we can find more wildness and liberty, everywhere from urban spaces to deep forests, by exercising our senses. Let’s break the spell of everyday city sights, and instead take time to seek out and focus on the tiny intricacies of natural patterns.

We can start by listening to bark with our fingers. A tree’s story– its age, health, and history– is written in the furrows of its bark. Listening closely to these stories from an urban ecosystem can teach us many things about resilience and growing health in our communities.


Part 2-

Train Tracks as Corridors

Sunday April 8th 1-3pm

Wild and forgotten corners of the city hold hopeful secrets about animal movement and the most resilient of ecosystems.

The train tracks running through the North end of the city are an inspiring example of corridors for the movement of plant seed, wildlife, and health. They are a vital artery for re-wilding brownfields, as well as for maintaining genetic diversity and health by linking forest spaces to the west, like Cootes, with those further east, like Red Hill Valley.

During this workshop, we will walk beside the same path that raccoons, deer, rabbits, coyotes, fox, possum, mice and more are known to travel. We will explore the idea of train tracks as corridors by walking from the the Dundurn castle grounds to the north-end poison forests (scattered scrublands on sites healing from industrial contamination).

From here we can build wonders and intention for next week’s workshop…


Part 3-

Into the Poison Forest

Sunday April 15th 1-3pm

Like slow and careful raccoons, we will take time to get to know spaces healing from deep scars and contamination left behind by industry. The North end holds many former industrial sites that are now left to re-wild. These sites are gems of biodiversity and health within a neighbourhood over-burdened with environmental injustice.

We will focus on reflection, stillness, and wondering as tools to cultivate a new relationship with these inspiring first-response forests that are so often just dismissed as value-less weeds. With open hearts, we will consider the work being done by the willows, poplars, goldenrod, sumac, burdocks and junk-trees growing there.


Part 4-

Dig in with Healing Roots

Sunday April 22nd 1-3pm

After last week’s wander through North end forests, we are left with many exciting questions. How are these plants healing the land? What are the specific species we found there and exactly what is it that they are they doing to clean up these sites?

For this workshop, we will be focusing on a little bit of the theories behind bioremediation and digging into the 5 main ways plants can heal contaminated soil: Degradation, extraction, microorganism stimulation, volatilization, and stabilization. We can link this knowledge back to the plant species we encountered at different re-wilding sites last week.

This concluding workshop is really our first step in a long-term process of allying with the earth and seeing our neighbourhood as an ecosystem capable of growing more and more diverse, healthy, and beautiful.


Registration Details:

Space is limited to 25 participants, and we ask that you be able to commit to at minimum 3 of the 4 dates. Make-up workshops will be offered at the end of the series.

Meet-up locations will all be closely accessible from the downtown Hamilton area. (We will let you know where to meet the workshop crew once you have registered).

Adults only for these workshops, please.

Please let us know if you have any accessibility needs so we can make sure you are included.

To register, send us an email!

**Participants from last year’s Learning from the Land Series workshops are welcome to join as co-facilitators. We would love to have you back!**

3 responses to “North End Raccoon Walks

  1. amazing work! are y’all available to come down to ptbo at the end of may? our little anarchist festival would love to have you! workshops, skill and knowledge shares… check our Points of Reference on the blog for a feel of our vibe… we’re still looking for workshop/event proposals. 🙂 msg us if you can make it!! sustainedengagements [at] resist [dot] ca

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