Well, the City of Saskatoon and Meewasin Valley Authority were right. Canvassing the afforestation areas does show that these semi-wilderness areas do provide habitats conducive to flora and fauna including species at risk. The count is up to around twenty species at risk at the current moment. Thank you to everyone using iNaturalist and helping to document the species in the afforestation areas.
A 326-acre afforestation area, planted as a man-made forest on the prairies, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada was named after Richard St Barbe Baker, aka Man of the Trees. Celebrate this Jubilee celebration 50 years after he received his honorary doctorate at the University of Saskatchewan. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have commissioned a documentary about this remarkable man with historical footage, arguably the first global conservationist, and his legacy here in our city. It is based on interviews with several people who knew St Barbe Baker. The program, will also have greetings from conservationists from Australia, Switzerland, Scotland, Britain and the USA who were inspired by St Barbe and who became conservation leaders in their own right.
The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area has a heritage trail running through it. The Old Bone Trail is part of its history.
Where the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas once told a partial story including only what may be only the “what” and “how” stories of The Old Bone Trail, there was no mention as to “why” The Old Bone Trail came to exist.
So, if you are wondering where the previous Old Bone Trail posts have gone they have been removed in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation until such time as a more complete story or series of stories can be told relating the entire heritage and history.
In honour of Truth and ReconciliationWeek 2021 Mon., Sep. 27, 2021 – Fri., Oct. 1, 2021
True reconciliation is never cheap, for it is based on forgiveness which is costly. Forgiveness in turn depends on repentance, which has to be based on an acknowledgment of what was done wrong, and therefore on disclosure of the truth. You cannot forgive what you do not know.
Reconciliation is to understand both sides; to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side.
There is no reconciliation until you recognize the dignity of the other, until you see their view- you have to enter into the pain of the people. You’ve got to feel their need.
On the south west of the City of Saskatoon is an urban regional park named George Genereux Park at 147.8 acres in size. It is on the west side of Saskatchewan Highway 7 (the Pike Lake Highway.) The Saskatoon border loops around the quarter section. As shown on the map below, the afforestation area is a park surrounded by the neighbouring agricultural lands of the RM of Corman Park 344.
Many people from Saskatoon, the RM of Corman Park, and tourists have not known that this forest tucked beside the CNR overpass is really an urban regional park to enjoy nature, go for walks, watch birds, engage in health and wellness by bicycle, hiking and cross country skiing. Many classroom activities are planned for George Genereux Park as it truly is an amazing place for place-based learning nature field trips.
This park is an amazing mixed woodlands, a laboratory in ecological succession, and as such has many attributes of a boreal forest ecotone merging with the moist mixed grasslands. Many people local to this area enjoy this urban regional park as they don’t have to drive north of the provincial tree line to immerse in a delightful forest experience with changing microecosystems of evergreens, deciduous trees and meadows.
Back in 1972, when this tree nursery was created, the tree planters could randomly select from a wide variety of hardy drought-resistant saplings. This results in a unique experience. As you walk, one area of the parkspace will be quite distinct and individual from another region. Tt is fascinating to see how the existing aspen bluffs, and prairie animals have adapted to the trees planted in 1972. There are species at risk in the afforestation areas commonly found in a boreal forest ecosystem at a higher elevation, but rare on the prairies.
The trees selected for planting, were planted in a weaving pattern and not north-south and east-west in rows. This weaving pattern gives the park a naturalized appearance. The original intention was that the forests would become urban regional parks for Saskatoon and area to enjoy when the city grew out this way, which is happening now with the P4G and Blairmore Sector plans. The greenspaces started out a tree nurseries to transplant trees into city parks, and now, 50 years later, the trees are too large to transplant.
Here is a summer breeding bird checklist for the park space. Members of the Saskatoon Nature Society have been ringing (banding) birds at George Genereux Park for a number of years.
Please enjoy these urban regional parks located on the west side of Saskatoon! Richard St. Barbe Baker has the Chappell Marsh wetlands located within it, and to the south of Cedar Villa Road (Tsp Rd 362A) is the other side of the wetlands at Chappell Marsh Conservation Area owned by Ducks Unlimited in the RM of Corman Park. Both the afforestation areas are in the peri-urban region of the City of Saskatoon, and the greenspaces are enjoyed by health and wellness enthusiasts, dog walkers, and nature lovers. You are invited and welcomed to come out and explore these Undiscovered Forests of Saskatoon! The afforestation areas are amazing in all seasons. What will you discover?
Stay tuned for Sept 19-26 2021 National Forest Week events, the Nov 6 2021 Celebration honouring Richard St. Barbe Baker and the anniversary when he was bestowed the honourary Doctorate of Laws from the U of S for extraordinary humanitarian service, and the 2022 Birthday Party planned for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
What do Sherlock Holmes, Nature, “Where’s Waldo”, conservation and Word Search puzzles have in common? Have fun detecting, and finding nature out of doors in the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas. We need your skills! The more eyes that come out the merrier, and the more variety in species can be found! Young, old and anywhere between, groups and individuals, it all makes a difference to compiling a baseline data inventory at the Richard St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and at George Genereux Park in the City of Saskatoon!
There has not been an ecological assessment conducted at the afforestation areas yet. So many people think that there are only afforested tree species [exotic], and brome grass and nothing else, yet how does that explain a baker’s dozen species at risk? How does that explain the moist mixed grassland prairie species in the trembling aspen bluffs which have remained since before 1972, they are over 50 years old? How many people can actually see the laboratory in ecological succession happening in the afforestation areas? What about the wetlands? How come the forest is raising the water-table for the wetlands, and it has not dried up yet? This was a feature which Richard St. Barbe Baker advocated for a lot. What is it that trees do? Their roots go down, down, down, and bring water up to the leave, where there is transpiration, and there are micro-climates of rain for the trees and forests. Can you imagine if there were more and more trees and forests? Then there would not be micro-climates, there would be larger scale nature based solutions to climate change.
Two sundays in a row two different species at risk have been identified. Their lives depend on you to help document the biodiversity in the afforestation areas! So what will happen next Sunday?
Come out on your own or venture out at a group meet up time as follows:
Aug 8 meet at George Genereux Urban Regional Park GPS 52.1089473,-106.7925807 Aug 15 meet at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area GPS 52.1006373,-106.755882 SW OLRA Aug 22 meet at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area GPS 52.1038557,-106.7890613 West Side Aug 29 meet at George Genereux Urban Regional Park GPS 52.1089473,-106.7925807 Sep 5 meet at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area GPS GPS 52.1006373,-106.755882 SW OLRA Sep 12 meet at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area GPS 52.1038557,-106.7890613 West Side Sep 19 meet at George Genereux Urban Regional Park GPS 52.1089473,-106.7925807 Sep 26 meet at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area GPS 52.1006373,-106.755882 SW OLRA At the meetups, we can help you get familiar with the iNaturalist app.
In this year of severe drought, there are so many wetlands drying up, it is a wonder that those birds which migrated north have any water at all.
To begin to look at the species profile and why they are considered threatened, well there are little to no wetlands policies around for conservation when development wishes to go through, and then drought has taken what little there is away. And the reason for the threatened designation is that there are substantial declines recorded in bird surveys. Loss of wetlands is one concern, but there is also climate change taking its toll along with other factors.
Society has started to rally with Bee crusades, and Monarch butterfly flyways and pollinator gardens, but who has started a shorebirds action? Who has said that the wetlands policy must become a bylaw, and that it should protect the habitats of species at risk? So, COSEWIC provided the threatened designation 21 years ago for the Lesser Yellow Legs, and sadly to say, it has not changed. Are you good at letter writing. Can you write a letter to your Member of Parliament, Member of the Legislative Assembly, or Councillor? What would happen to mankind if we did nothing for the decline in homo sapiens species from Coronavirus COVID-19 for 21 years? Society surely did rally to fix the rapidly declining deaths and illness from COVID through a number of vaccines. The Lesser Yellow Legs is not sick, so it doesn’t need a rapidly developed vaccine. The population of the Lesser Yellow Legs has gone down because they have no home to live in. Their homes are wetlands. And what do we do with wetlands? Fill them in as quickly as possible with compost, gravel or any excavation material so we can build on them – who cares how many basements are flooded, and who cares how many Lesser Yellowlegs die without a home.
Luckily in Saskatoon the long range planners are doing a Green Network Connectivity Strategy to keep the wetlands of the West Swale! The West Swale joins the North Saskatchewan River Valley to the South Saskatchewan River Valley, and what a marvellous wetlands corridor that is! That surely shows continuous improvements and environmental leadership!
When will action start for the shorebirds? It is surely good that this decade is the United Nations Decade on Ecological Restoration, and we can love some shorebirds and protect their habitat. What thinks you?
Well still no luck at finding the Missing Linden Tree, but an endangered species was located on the Sundays At Two bioblitz or Nature Connect adventure. Woodland Skipper Ochlodes sylvanoides napa is an adorable small butterfly that also has some moth like features in the appearance of its body. Though it is classified as a skipper. This little Woodland Skipper is not found in Saskatchewan, is tracked by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre.
This little Woodland Skipper is tracked by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre, and is considered S2 which translates to
At high risk of extinction or extirpation due to a very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, threats or other factors.
Master Gardeners Association of British Columbia [MGABC} says “the name Ochlodes is Greek for turbulent or unruly, from the swift, erratic flight of the members of this genus. The name sylvanoides is derived from the Latin silva (woods or forest).” MGABC also confirms that the larvae feed on many species of grass, which makes the afforestation areas rather handy. The adults also like the nectar of Cirsium (thistles), Taraxacum officnale (Dandelion).
A Bio-Blitz is time spent looking for life (bio) in the form of mushrooms, plants, animals, and insects. Another word for Bio-Blitz is Eco-Quest. Here the word Eco-Quest refers to an investigation or a quest to explore what is living in the habitat or environment, or what makes up the eco-system of the area.
Bio-Blitzes or Eco-Quests are ways to connect with nature, become more observant of the surroundings, and discover the world of the afforestation areas.
There is a deep interconnectedness of all life on earth, from the tiniest organisms, to the largest ecosystems, and absolutely between each person.
Enviromental sustainability is key in naturing a healthy ecosystem that is mutually beneficial to a healthier quality of life today and in the future.
Download iNaturalist on your smart phone, sign in with you own user name and password and if you meet up in the afforestation areas Sundays at Two, we will show you how to use iNaturalist in nature to create a database of living organisms who share the park space.
Friluftsliv, what does it mean? Friluftsliv, is a Swedish word which literally means free-airlife and generally refers to outdoor education and nature tourism. How do you experience free-airlife in an urban regional park open to the general public? How would you identify your outdoor experience?
The 6th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas ( MMV ) examined many co-existing and dispartate segments for greenspaces. The gamut ranged from the value of outdoor activities, the outdoor nature experience, health and wellness in nature, the visitor experience, recreational values, the carrying capacity of greenspaces, user and visitor monitoring, the impact of tourism, nature educational perspectives, protected areas, user behavior, management strategies, conservation, and sustainable development, children, conflicts, risk and safety, assessments and research.
How does an urban consumptive culture weigh in alongside intangible heritage assets. Is it feasible to acknowledge natural, man-made and spiritual heritage assets and their values? What is the same about heritage management, and nature conservation when it comes to interpreting value of place? What is the difference between assessment measures and the process implemented to rate the importance and value of features, and place identity? Should communities strive to identify resources, and to the identity of place of biodiversity in the grand scheme? What idealogy, and framework is used to ascertain the significance of the built and natural features, assets, and the total user package?
It is all a balancing act, a dance between the context and monitoring or experiences, attitudes, in the dynamic rhythm of time and space. It is the vulnerability of the semi-wilderness habitat amid the exponential increase of the anthropogenic footprint. Its the indicator of the natural capital asset valuation system contrasting and comparing native environments with cultural heritage.
Users, and site visitors come to the afforestation area with a wide variety of experience needs, wishes and demands all placed on the environment.
Natural features with important physical and biological formations Geological and physiographical formations Aesthetic resources: landscapes, forests, wetlands etc Indigenous species · Animals · plants · Non-living organisms Exotic species creating the built heritage landscape · Animals · plants · Non-living organisms Systems of scientific importance Conservation of natural beauty Biodiversity Geomorphological Diversity Geological Diversity Distinctive Ecosystems Genetic Diversity Indigenous Species Natural Integrity Ecosystems Formations and Processes of Ecosystems Evolution and Succession Processes Typology
SHAPED NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Parks and Gardens Sacred Natural Wetlands Sites Underwater Cultural Heritage Humans in Nature Outdoor Centres Activity Centres BUILT ENVIRONMENT Trails SW OLRA Utilities ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MEMES Archaeological Sites Pleistocene Glacial Spillway PLACES OF MEMORY Old Bone Trail Settlers and homesteaders Biographies of namesakes West Swale
(Chart adapted from Papathansiou-Zuhrt (2012))
Fredman, Peter, Marie Stenseke, Hanna LIljendahl, Anders Mossing and Daniel Laven. eds (2012) The 6th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas. (MMV) Outdoor Recreation in Change – Current Knowledge and Future Challenges. Stockholm, Sweden.
Papathansiou-Zuhrt, Dorothea. (2012) See TCP Sagittarius. Golden Bow: Teaching Modules. Development of Transnational Synergies for Sustainable Growth Areas. Updated Version 2012.
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date! Canada Helps