A Walk on the Wild Side

Pleistocene megafauna

Treatment of Climate Change is much expanded as a result of recent research at the local university and we learn fascinating details of the many fluctuations from Pleistocene times to the present day warming trend.E.R. Ward Neale

Much debate has surrounded the late Pleistocene extinction of large animals. In North America, most extinctions took place within a narrow time interval, between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago…. The wave of extinctions coincided with rapid climatic changes at the end of the last glaciation. Climatic changes led to major alterations in vegetation cover on which herbivores depended, which precipitated an ecological crisis for large land animals.James S. Aber

Can you imagine walking in the footsteps of the great Giant Beaver, the Mastodon, or the American Cheetah?  12,700 years ago, 90 genera of mammals weighing over 44 kilograms 100 pounds) became extinct.

Was glacial Lake Agassiz home to the nine foot long sabertooth salmon? Would giant tortoises be walking the beaches of Glacial Lake Saskatoon I alongside the spectacular armadillo and the giant armadillo-like Glyptotherium?

Looking out over the Glacial Lakes, would giant beavers be building dams along side the glacier ice dams? Giant tortoises weighing 417 kg (919 lb) and reaching a length of 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). Whereas Giant Beavers, Castoroides, would a length between 1.9 m (6.2 ft), and 2.2 m (7.2 ft) had a weight of 90 kg (198 lb) to 125 kg (276 lb).

When you are out in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, are you walking in the footsteps of the giant sloths and short-faced bears weighing 900 kg (1 short ton). Would you meet up with the American lions (1.6–2.5 m long (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in)), dire wolves, “American cheetahs” (Miracinonyx -weighing 70 kg (150 lb)) or with saber-toothed cats like Smilodon and the scimitar cat, Homotherium? The saber toothed cat, Smilodon populator, is thought to weigh up to 400 kg (880 lb).

Can you just see the camelid animals such as two species of now extinct llamas and Camelops. And what of the other mammals, two species of bison; stag-moose; the shrub-ox and Harlan’s muskox; the 14 species of pronghorn (of which 13 are now extinct); horses; mammoths and mastodons.

Native horses and camels galloped across the plains of North America. Great teratorn birds with 25-foot wingspans stalked prey.David Polly

When you look up during your time travel excursion to the Pleistocene era, there would be birds such as giant condors and other teratorns soaring in the air overhead. One of these birds, Aiolornis incredibilis (formerly Teratornis incredibilis), of the teratorn family, was the largest known North American capable of flying possessing a wingspan of up to about 5 m (16 ft) and weighing in at 23 kg (51 lb).

Before the Quaternary extinction event there were tapirs; peccaries (Including the long nosed and flat-headed peccaries) and saiga added to the mix.

Walking in the footsteps of the Pleistocene megafauna is quite an adventure! When you are out at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, or when you are around and about the afforestation area formerly known as George Genereux Urban Regional Park, both created by the Pleistocene spillway flooding, consider also the Pleistocene mammals that wandered North America, the mastodons, giant condors and sabre toothed cats.

Ongoing analysis will no doubt have a focus on elucidating the successive train of events to better understand the geological conditions of the West Swale.  Philosophers and geologists are tantalized seeking their PhD theses uncovering and hypothesizing upon the wealth of information archived in the West Swale and South Saskatchewan River valley.

The West Swale  reconstruction of the most recent glacial retreat zipped through the Pleistocene geology, leaving us to wonder at the spectacular megafauna of the Pleistocene.  Why are there no longer any Giant Condors, or Mastodons roaming the prairies?  Why did the native North American horses and camels disappear?

Peace cannot be kept by force;
it can only be achieved by understanding.
– Albert Einstein

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Off Leash Dog Park Valley Road Saskatoon!
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Most of the important things in the world
have been accomplished by people
who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no hope at all.
– Dale Carnegie

What is the West Swale?

Geological formation during The Pleistocene Era

Geology of the Yorath Island Spillway After the Flood.

The geological formation of the West Swale occurred during the Pleistocene era from waters cascading out of the glacial l North Saskatchewan River valley, which is quite different from the formation of the North East Swale, which was formed from glacial ice waters in the South Saskatchewan River Valley subsidence.

The West Swale earth science features include glaciofluvial Iandforms created by meltwater channels during Pleistocene glacial drainage. The afforestation area formerly known as George Genereux Urban Regional Park, Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, the Chappell Marsh Conservation Area and Maple Grove at the West Swale Confluence are all provincially significant examples of a landscape typifying fluvioglacial erosion.

Meltwater channels are unique and significant as they possess characteristics which distinguish them from conventional river valleys. The low lying area of the West Swale does, indeed, display a fascinating geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age. On a walk in the Richard St. Barb Baker Afforestation Area, or the Urban Regional Park formerly named George Genereux park, and spend an absolutely unforgettable day 2.6 million years in the making.

The West Swale lands are of imperative value to surrounding rural agricultural lands at the present moment, but the lands also provide flood relief in the South West sector in Saskatoon. There are notable and significant geological features providing scientific, educational, historical and aesthetic landscape importance to the city of Saskatoon, the province of Saskatchewan, the nation of Canada.

What happened during the Pleistocene era?

2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago

“During the Quaternary period, between 2 and 3 million years ago, the prairies were covered by a glacier, the Laurentide ice sheet.

Northern hemisphere glaciation during the last ice ages. The accumulation of 3 to 4 kilometers (1.9 to 2.5 mi) thick ice sheets caused a sea level lowering of about 120 meters (390 ft)
Northern hemisphere glaciation during the last ice ages. The accumulation of 3 to 4 kilometers (1.9 to 2.5 mi) thick ice sheets caused a sea level lowering of about 120 meters (390 ft)

It was 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) thick which advanced and receded several times across the prairies. There were multiple glaciations affecting the Saskatchewan area during the Pre-Illinoian, Illinioan, and Wisconsin stages of the last Ice Age.” Geology These were the major glaciations, there were other glaciations summarized as follows.

Glacial Lake Agassiz A glacial lake is a lake with origins in a melted glacier. They are formed when a glacier erodes the land, and then melts, filling the hole or space that it has created. Near the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago, glaciers began to retreat. A retreating glacier often left behind large deposits of ice in hollows between drumlins or hills. As the ice age ended, these melted to create lakes.
Glacial Lake Agassiz A glacial lake is a lake with origins in a melted glacier. They are formed when a glacier erodes the land, and then melts, filling the hole or space that it has created. Near the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago, glaciers began to retreat. A retreating glacier often left behind large deposits of ice in hollows between drumlins or hills. As the ice age ended, these melted to create lakes.

Ice retreated, and drainage occurred to the north, creating Glacial lakes in low lying areas. Glacial Lake Saskatoon I situated in the northern Saskatoon Lowland and lower areas of the Elstow Basin. When the northern outlet of Lake Saskatoon lowered, the South Saskatchewan River Valley began replacing Glacial Lake Saskatoon I. A broad plain called the Cory Plain was created in the area south west of Saskatoon. Cory Plain features cut off meander loops, ox-bow lakes and geological features showing the historic river braiding and travels.

The northern flow of water in the Glacial North Saskatchewan River Valley was halted by ice, creating Glacial Rice Lake settling into the lowlands west of Grandora. Glacial Rice Lake drained by channels into the South Saskatchewan Valley “The Moon Lake Channel, a major spillway connecting the North Saskatchewan River basin with the South Saskatchewan, and a smaller parallel channel, Yorath Island Channel, also cross the Cory plain….but they are clearly not South Saskatchewan channels.”

Yorath Island Channel, Moon Lake Channel, Sutherland Channel and Cory Plain Channel Pleistocene Era South Sk River Valley 2588000 to 117000 years ago Adapted from Larry Edwin Hodges
Yorath Island Channel, Moon Lake Channel, Sutherland Channel and Cory Plain Channel Pleistocene Era South Sk River Valley 2588000 to 117000 years ago Adapted from Larry Edwin Hodges

Then there was another advance of ice ~ Patience Lake Ice ~ creating a kame and moraine ridge near Grandora 10 miles west of Saskatoon. The ice blocked the northern flow of water creating another glacial lake; Lake Saskatoon II. As the ice wasted away, & Lake returned to river valley, there were remnants of the lake in and south of Saskatoon. Lacustrine silts and clays were deposited south and west of the city area forming the Cory Plain surface. Paraphrase from Hodges

How is it best to preserve our nation’s geologic heritage which contain evidence some of the earth’s greatest examples of geologic phenomena. From glaciers to swales, it is a true inspiration to be immersed in your personal geologic experience here in the West Swale which envelopes the Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the Afforestation Area formerly known as George Genereux urban regional park. Yorath Island, an “end moraine” and a natural landmark in the South Saskatchewan River locates the confluence of the Yorath Island spillway with the glacial South Saskatchewan River Valley. The West Swale is a low-lying depression created by repeated glaciations and the melting of the last bit of glacial ice.

The West Swale, a major meltwater drainage channel, a glacial spillway and a prairie valley is a classical example of glacial spillway topography. In the West Swale are several areas and features that budding geologists can discover and study the results left behind as the “catastrophic floods of glacial meltwater and sediment washed through these valleys”, typifying the Yorath Island glacial spillway, now known as the West Swale.James S. Aber Pleistocene deposits and geology show “erosional features of the underlying bedrock surface such as buried valleys, which are filled and concealed by drift, and which result in a hickening of Pleistocene deposits; erosional features of the surface of the drift, such as stream valleys, which cause a thinning of the Pleistocene deposits; and depositional features such as end moraines, drumlins, and outwash plains of glacial origin, which result in a thickening of the Pleistocene deposits.P.F. Karrow

The preservation of the afforestation areas in 1972, therefore, has also preserved a segment of the invaluable historic geological landmark of the West Swale, and its Pleistocene heritage and history.  Next time you are out at the Richard St. Barb Baker Afforestation Area, or the Urban Regional Park formerly named George Genereux park, know you are spending an absolutely unforgettable day 2.6 million years in the making.

Now it is time to zip on over to an adventure amid the Pleistocene Megafauna – meet the mammoths, sabre-tooth cats, and tapirs.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Hodges, Larry Edwin: Morphology of the South Saskatchewan River Valley Outlook to Saskatoon PhD Thesis. Department of Geography. McGill University. Montreal, Quebec. July 1971.
Theberge, John B., (1989) The Wholeness of Nature. Legacy, The Natural History of Ontario. McClelland and Stewart Inc. ISBN 0-7710-8398-X

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Off Leash Dog Park Valley Road Saskatoon!
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
Pinterest richardstbarbeb

“Clearly, human pressure is exerting a sudden and cataclysmic impact on much of this province, if viewed in the time-frame of evolution and geology to which the rhythms of ecosystems are tuned. The groundswell of environmental concern taking shape among us, its citizens, results in public pressure for new and stronger strictures on human exploitation and desecration…Such action is needed as the embodiment of an ethical responsibility to the land and living things, for our own well-being as well as for that of all other species.” Theberge, 1989. P.376

The Heart of the Plains

Heredity and Environment in the Temperate Grasslands.

In continents and countries the anthropo-geographer looks to see not what reliefs are present, but how they are distributed. The plains, indeed, have been both source and recipient of every form of historical movement. Temperate grasslands have an innate and prevailing fitness for agriculture, trade and intercourse. They are favored regions for the final massing of a settled population.

Well-watered lowlands invite expansion, ethnic, commercial and political. In these areas the whole range of historical movements meet few obstacles beyond the waters gathering in their runnels and the forests nourished in their rich soils. The vast level plains of the earth have found their distinctive and lasting historical importance in the fact of their large and unbounded surface.

And, looking far ahead, can you hear the heart of the West Swale lowlands beating as one with the heart of the Bluegrass, and both beating as one with the heart of the world.

In the plains geography makes for fusion. Without boundary or barrier, there are no secluded corners where settlements could entrench themselves and preserve their individual identity. There is, as a point in fact, a vast melting-pot, which has succeeded in amalgamating the most diverse elements.

The more flat and featureless a prairie is, the more important become even the slightest surface irregularities which can draw faint dividing lines among the population. Here a gentle land-swell, river, lake, forest, or water-soaked wetlands serves as boundary. Especially apparent is the differentiating influence of difference of soils. Gravel and alluvium, sand and clay, limestone and more recent marine sediments, emphasize small geographical differences.

The meager rainfall of the aspen parkland ecosystem eliminates forests and restricts vegetation to aspen bluffs, grasses, sedges and those forms which can survive a prolonged summer drought and require a short period of growth.

The grasslands, the beloved Blue-grass land, known to the Saskatchewan pioneer and indigenous civilization developed historical importance only after the domestication of cattle, sheep, goats, bison, and horses. This step in progress resulted in the evolution of peoples who renounced the precarious subsistence of the chase and escaped the drudgery of agriculture, to devote themselves to pastoral life.

Historically, however, environment determined the nomadic habits of the prairie dweller. The distribution of pasture and water fixes the scope and the rate of his wandering; these in turn depend upon geographic conditions and vary with the season.

Heredity and environment act and react upon each other with the regularity and inevitability of succession of night and day. Neither tells the whole story; together they make up the sum of life; of the generations that are to come!

Heredity and environment create the make up of the geography of the eco-system, the physical biome of an area.

This process has been best described by Ellen Churchill Semple, Ellen Churchill Semple (January 8, 1863 – May 8, 1932) a geographer who focused on anthropogeography, environmentalism, and “environmental determinism”. An analysis of Semple’s works is one theory which unzips the heredity and environment of the Saskatchewan prairies, the world’s most endangered ecosystem.

The heredity and environment of the afforestation area has been examined to some extent. The afforestation areas are within the larger context of the West Swale. What is the heredity and environment of the West SwaleWhat is the West Swale?

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Off Leash Dog Park Valley Road Saskatoon!
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
Pinterest richardstbarbeb

True Heroes of the Afforestation Area

What are you doing this April 22, Earth Day?

In life there is a continuous succession of first impressions and adventures.

Why do we smile when a child puts on a man’s hat? The usual reply to such questions is, that laughter results from a perception of incongruity.

It is truly incongruous indeed that the afforestation area is besought with illegal trespass, however this is no laughing matter. No chuckle comes forward, only dismay, bewilderment, and nay even disgust that a forest should receive the dumping of trash, and environmental polluting.

However, to the rescue comes the RM of Corman Park 344 establishing posts, locks and chains to mitigate illegal trespass to the southern perimeter. Adjoining the RM are the Fat bike fatlanders brigade with their own volunteer labour securing the east side of the afforestation area near the Civic Operations Centre (City of Saskatoon bus barns) with a bollards, gate and “gently used” Jersey Barriers. The City of Saskatoon joins the ranks with their attention to the stakeholder’s interests, the additional “gently used” Jersey Barriers, the existing no dumping/no trespassing signs and the orange vehicle barriers.

This is not the least, the Saskatoon City Police, Warman RCMP force and the Corman Park Police Service have all offered support services to the citizen stakeholders. The Saskatoon Fire Department efficiently contained the grass fire of 2016, a great relief before it became a forest fire.  Everyone is doing the best that they possibly can.

Additionally Saskatoon groups, individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests have rallied to support the “strategic goal of quality of life” and the “strategic goal of environmental leadership” at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area in so many ways.  It is with great appreciation the volunteers offering their time at the community and Meewasin & Affinity Credit Union Clean-Up Campaign clean ups , the citizen neighbourhood watch stewards, the donations in kind in support of the clean up, and the financial donations which have been received towards the Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Trust Fund

So, “What are you doing this Earth day, April 22?”, is asked again. Hopefully it is getting out in nature, enjoying the fresh air, celebrating our amazing world, and reveling in the joy that so many residents in the city of Saskatoon embrace the Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area. It is an area large enough to embrace the ideals summarized as a “strategic goal of quality of life” and the “strategic goal of environmental leadership.”

Come out this spring, and celebrate the work done by diverse groups and residents in this afforestation area preserved in perpetuity! Look forward to seeing you, indeed. It is great to see so many different expressions to respect this semi-wilderness habitat corridor nestled in the West Swale wetlands.  For it is  joy seeing the coming forward  of the  City of Saskatoon citizens in regards to the afforestation area.  The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is held in the hearts of so many, and it may  truly and well be preserved for many generations to come.  Don’t you agree that in this there is, indeed, laughter and celebration for Earth Day!

“How much lies in laughter: the cipher key, wherewith we decipher the whole man!” wrote Carlyle.

Thank you!

PRAYER FOR THE TREES
We thank Thee God! for thy Trees,
Thou comest very near to us through thy Trees.
From them we have beauty, wisdom, love,
The air we breathe, the water we drink,
the food we eat and the strength.

Help us, Oh God!
to give our best to life
and leave the world
a little more beautiful and worthy
of having lived in it.

Prosper thou our planting
and establish thy kingdom of love
and understanding on the Earth.

~Richard St. Barbe Baker

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map

Off Leash Dog Park Valley Road Saskatoon!
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Cost of Barriers

recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker

Securing the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area from Illegitmate Access approved at the City Council meeting Aug 18, 2016

“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. He will have to discover where he went wrong and make his peace with nature. In so doing, perhaps he may be able to recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker”

The Standing policy committee on planning, development, and community services on July 18, 2016 met and advised that the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area – Measures to Mitigate Unlawful Dumping and Trespassing July 18, 2016 Community Services Department report should be received as information by the General Manager, Community Services Development. The report of the General Manager, Community Services Department, dated July 18, 2016, was recommended to go before City Council August 18, 2016, for information. At this meeting, Councillor Hill, Councillor Davies, Councillor Jeffries, Councillor Paulsen and His Worship the Mayor all voted in favour.

The committee also heard from Julia Adamson, Robert White, and Jeff Hehn in July of 2016.  Robert White, who personally knew Richard St. Barbe Baker, and is a member of SOS Elms Coalition spoke about the great humanitarian, and forester, Richard St. Barbe Baker the namesake of the Richard St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Robert White spoke “to the importance of the preservation of the area and expressed support
for some type of barriers to protect the area.”

The July 18, 2016 Community Services Department report examined measures to mitigate trespassing of motorized vehicles, and to prevent illegal dumping of refuse in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (RSBBAA). The committee examined the conditions of trash built up in the afforestation area, and realized that there are no funded City service levels for the RSBBAA as this area is not within the parks and open space inventory, and parks does not have maintenance over the area, as it belongs to Land Branch.

It was in the writing of this report, that the Community Services Department  discovered that the afforestation area east of the Southwest Off Leash Recreation Area ~ that region on part of the south east quarter of section 23, township 23 range 36 west of the third meridian~ was not legally within the legal land description during the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area naming process undertaken in 1978-1979.

There were three options proposed:

    1. Option 1 Frontage Fencing which includes installing page wire fencing on only areas adjacent to roadways or “frontage” areas with an approximate cost of $45,206. This sum includes the clean up tipping fee estimate of $13,500, so the actual fence comes to $44,806. If chain link fencing were employed for the frontage areas, then the cost would be $197,000.
    2. Option 2 Perimeter Fencing utilizing page wire fencing around the complete afforestation area would run around $147,000, which includes the tipping fees as well. If the perimeter were surrounded with chain link, the cost rises to $949,000.
    3. The third and final option examined was bollard and gate installation. This proposal showed an estimated cost of $30,500 (inclusive of the $13,500 tipping fee)

The recommendation favoured the third option realizing that the bollards and gates would perhaps result in vehicles going around these barriers if they were determined to enter the afforestation area without respect to these clearly defined property limits.

Other stewards to consult during the process and development are TransGAS, SaskPower and in later light another stakeholder is CN.

The report stated that “there are no policy, environmental, privacy, or CPTED implications or considerations at this time.”

As the south west sector planning continues over the next few years this will be re-examined and a more permanent solution may perhaps be conceptualized.

The full council meeting report of August 18, 2016 is available at City of Saskatoon website or at the City of Saskatoon Archives.

The above is a para-phrasing of the report written by Monica Hunt, Landscape Architect, Open Space Design.
Reviewed by Darren Crilly, Director of Parks.
Approved by Randy Grauer, General Manager, Community Services Department.

As the North East Swale watchers formed as an informal grouping to protect the north east swale, so do the users of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area come together to protect the riparian woodland, marsh wetlands, and the semi-wilderness habitat.

At community meet ups and clean up events, the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area sees representatives who care for the afforestation area from Ducks Unlimited, SOS Elms Coalition, Saskatoon Nature Society, Member of Parliament Sheri Benson, Standing councilor for Ward 2, The Saskatoon Baha’i Community, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cedar Villa Estates, Rural Municipality of Corman Park, North East Swale Watchers, West Swale watchers, Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, the SW off leash recreation area city liason, Meewasin Valley Authority, Fatbike Fatlanders Brigade, Casual Off leash dog walkers, Jane’s Walk, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, Nature Saskatchewan, several and many community associations in the south west of Saskatoon such as…Mount Royal Community Association, Montgomery Park Community Association, Parkridge Community Association, Dundonald Community Association, King George Community Association, Holiday Park Community Association, Fairhaven Community Association.

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city extending from the Civic Operations Centre (bus barns) and is the afforested woodlands area near Saskatchewan Highway 7 as accessed by Cedar Villa Road for either the west or east parking areas.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com

Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Tagged Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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Turn back the clock to April 2016

“I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.’”~Richard St. Barbe

“Almost everywhere in the world man has been disregarding the Divine Law and the Laws of Nature, to his own undoing. In his pride, he has rampaged over the stage of the earth, forgetting that he is only one of the players put there to play his part in harmony and oneness with all living things.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker

April 25, 2016 Pat Lorje, the previous City of Saskatoon ward 2 councillor, spoke to City Council;

  1. “What measures can be taken in both the short term (since there is no current budget for this) and the long-term to enclose the area in order to prevent unlawful dumping of garbage and trespass by motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles and ATVs? This could include measures such as strategically placed boulders, gates and fencing, and”
  2. “Can/will the City provide resources to pick-up the accumulated garbage in the area? This could be accomplished by either City crews picking-up this garbage, or by giving assistance for landfill tipping fees for community volunteers to start the clean-up of this significant urban asset.”

In following up on Pat Lorje’s request, the Parks design team went out to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, to determine trash sites, GPS locations, the manner of refuse dumped and where the egress points were for vehicles. The afforestation area east of the SW OLRA had a larger amount of household waste, as compared to the west side of the afforestation area near Sk Highway 7.

There are NO civic funded maintenance services for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

Community volunteer clean up initiatives were:

3300 kilograms (7275 Pounds) of trash, chesterfields, construction materials with nails, shingles, and tires were removed Cleanup ~ spring of 2015 from the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

8,300 kilograms, 18,300 pounds, 9 tons was the weight (approx tonnage) of shingles, construction materials, household garbage, appliances removed summer of July 2016 from the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

October 2016 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of trash that was missed in the previous clean ups of June 2015 and July 2016 from the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

The city covered the tipping fees.

Total of three community volunteer clean ups from landfill weigh scales… 28,875 pounds, 13,100 kilograms, 12.89 tons !

“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.’”~Richard St. Barbe Baker

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
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Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com

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If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
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Margaret Rae McKay ~ seeing the details

“Forest entomology and forest pathology are usually classified under the general heading of “Forest protection”…gathering data and information on the occurrence of insects and diseases and that protection from insect outbreaks reduces fire hazard.” ~ J.J. de Gryse

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author unknown.

It is just 6 year since Margaret Rae McKay passed away, and her life has been memorialized in an autobiographical account, “The Life of a Female Drifter.  An Entomologist Remembers.” Margaret Rae McKay (October 18, 1914 Vonda Saskatchewan – October 24, 2011 Ottawa, ON) was the very first women to graduate with her Master’s degree in entomology from the University of Saskatchewan (attending between 1931-1938). During this time, female scientists, were indeed, the exception to the rule, and it was very uncommon to see a female scientist, and almost unheard of for a female to become an entomologist. This trend continued on even into the 1970s, though has somewhat changed by the writing of the Entomological Society report of 2005.

McKay was hired initially after graduation as a talented artist at the British Museum of Natural History as a scientific illustrator, or morphological artist. For many true artists, the world is their pedestal, for McKay it was the world of insects, and embraced her attention to detail. In 1940, leaving her job in London, McKay traveled back to Canada, receiving employment with the Department of Agriculture working with the head of forest entomology in Ottawa. Over the summer, McKay’s work as illustrator allowed her to study  live insects. Encouraged during this time by her peers to write a paper or two for scientific journals to utilize her training in etymology from the University  of Saskatchewan, which she did successfully. From here, McKay worked a short time in the prairies before being called by the Civil service to the Vernon laboratory in British Columbia before returning to Ottawa, where she remained until 1946.

After her mother had a stroke in 1945 she came to Ottawa to live with Margaret. They both headed west the following year, spending the summer on the farm near Saskatoon before heading out to Vancouver, British Columbia. It was there, that McKay was welcomed back to the Vernon laboratory. About six forest rangers worked in the Vernon laboratory, who conducted forest surveys investigating any damage or insect infestation, recorded sites and collected live insects and the host plants they were found upon. The Victoria forest rangers making similar collections on Vancouver Island also submitted their findings to the Vernon laboratory. From the reports of the various sites, and information furnished to the laboratory, McKay described and documented the various life cycles to enable identification and life history of the insects. The Vernon laboratory sought to control any insect infestations by natural parasites, enemies and disease rather than the use of pesticides. During this era, there was a need of a reference collection. McKay established a well-organised and labelled system to rely upon, making a proficient sorting and classification system.

In 1944, McKay was invited to work with Dr. Carl Atwood (the father of Margaret Atwood), in Sault Ste. Marie. McKay spent a month there assisting on the insect survey. Here she saw North Bay during an infestation of May Flies, and a flight over Sault St. Marie revealed the spruce budworm damage.

From here, McKay returned to work in Ottawa, after receiving many offers at Lethbridge laboratory studying fruit insects, and other Forest Entomology laboratories across Canada ~ Winnipeg , Calgary or Sault Ste. Marie. McKay chose to work in Ottawa working under J.J. de Gryse, Chief Forest Insect Investigations, Department of Agriculture. “The problem of insect control in Canada is as really vast as the forest itself…The only rational approach to the solution of forest insect problems is through forest management…The great variety of physical conditions obtaining in a large country like Canada, the enormous number of insect species, and the complicated maze of relationships between insects and their habitat, and between insects and insects, constitute an inexhaustable source of problems requiring thorough investigation..see the forest as an organism and gauge the different factors involved which contribute to its health or decay.”de Gryse. 1943.

Canadian entomologists study insects within forest eco-systems alongside silviculturists. Both professions are working to maintain insect and disease populations within the forests at endemic levels and monitor conditions such that they do not reach levels that will create circumstances that will prevent long term forest sustainability.

McKay also wrote scientific papers who had them reviewed by Hazen Wagmore with degrees in both English and entomology. It was thus that McKay learned the language to become a successful writer in her field. Subsequently, McKay, herself became scientific editor analyzing the content of works submitted to The Canadian Entomologist.

During this era of her work in Ottawa, her attention and field of speciality turned to the immature forms of Lepidoptera. She remained in that field of study for 22 years, working with entomologist contemporaries such as G.J. Spencer, a professor in the UBC Zoology Department, who wrote one of the first definitive works in entomology and the identification of species in The Canadian Entomologist Volume 96, Numbers 1-2, January February 1964.

“Nor can one ignore morphological studies of those stages to distinguish species and determine relationships. There is a close relationship between the morphology (form) of a moth larva and the fine distinctions in its behaviour and environment. The position or shape of the head often appears to be associated directly, or indirectly with its behaviour” whether boring in the roots of the host plant, mining its leaves, living in a nest of webbing and frass (droppings) or in another habitat. The teeth of the mandible seem to be modified for feeding on conifers or deciduous hosts, or mining in leaves. The spinneret is modified for the type and amount of silk required for its owner’s mode of living. …This kind of information, basic research is required [without which a] project destined to fail from the beginning because two or more species were being treated as one, as a result of faulty identification….[McKay worked ] to distinguish each species, genus and the higher categories, so that I could classify each larval specimen and produce systematic keys that would, I hoped, enable others to do the same.”Margaret Rae McKay McKay was diligent in her work, and not at all nervous classifying insects. Both McKay, entomologist, and Richard St. Barbe Baker, silviculturist, were champions for the forest, protecting them. “Forest entomology and forest pathology are usually classified under the general heading of ‘Forest protection‘…gathering data and information on the occurrence of insects and diseases and that protection from insect outbreaks reduces fire hazard.” de Gryse. 1943.

As a member of the Lepidopterist Society in 1954, McKay’s interest was recorded as “LEPID larvae”, showing that she was interested in all lepidoptera larva, including Rhopalocera (butterflies), Macroheterocera and Microlepidoptera (moths). The Lepidoptera larva was the sphere to which she occupied herself with, and provided fascination. The translation, identification, and acquaintance with this sphere of nature and awakened in McKay some genius to convey this quality to other men. For botanists, for etymologists, nature will be reported. Scientists are engaged through time in writing the history of all things. On the planet, the moth goes attended by its cocoon, the butterfly the chrysalis. And it is thus, that the lepidoptera leave their memoranda and signature which speak out to the intelligent. In nature, this self-reporting is incessant, whether it is the channel in the soil left behind by the river, or the fern and leaf writing their epitaph in the coal. The records of the entomologists are alive, as that which they record are alive. It is thus, that the world has a new image, composed of pictures, eminent experiences, and journal writings. The facts of the forest insects, of the various butterfly and moths, do not lie inert, some will subside, but others will shine out. Whatever insect an entomologist beholds or experiences becomes a model for a picture. And nature further inspires, until at last, the entomologist can fully articulate the significance, the endowments, along with the frame of the ecosystem in the casting of the insect in its lot. With great attention to detail, classification and organisation the scholar in this field stands well among their contemporaries.

As a civil servant, McKay traveled North America, publishing numerous scientific papers. Between 1959-1961 McKay left the office and worked in the field collecting and observing insects at the Chisos Mountains in the Rio Grande Big Bend site of Texas, the One Sided Lake near Fort Francis and Kenora, Ontario, and another to Boulder Colorado across the mountains to Leadville, Buena Vista. McKay became a specialist in moths, and received acclaim for her research. As a pioneering female, McKay contributed to the Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada. Honoured by the Canadian Museum of National History along with eighteen other women scientists, and invited to a reception at the University of Western Ontario, London, On. Upon her retirement in 1972, McKay was asked by the British Museum of Natural History and from California, if she would consider going to work there.

McKay had suffered from a heart attack in 1966 and a third attack in 1977, which required open heart surgery. Following her retirement she took up world travel, and fine art painting. McKay passed away peacefully at home in Ottawa at the age of 97, and her ashes are buried alongside the family in Saskatoon.  The Margaret McKay Scholarship is awarded by for a female entomologist in a graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan.

March 8 is International Women’s Day. “We want to construct a different world of work for women. As they grow up, girls must be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional service and care options to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science…” – UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.* Being a woman in a male dominated field had its drawbacks for McKay.  A senior scientist asked to give an opinion on the stability of McKay, had evaluated her on the job performance as a “c” due to the fact that she was unmarried. When employed in field laboratories was passed over on aerial surveys to inspect insect damage because she was a girl. However, after years of service, upon retirement, McKay was one of the highest paid woman in the Civil Services department, with very few of the male staff earning the wage that McKay had earned. This was a fortunate anomaly for McKay, as even in today’s “more enlightened” times “Canadian women earn $0.82 to every $1.00 earned by men…[which] sets the gap in Canada at 18 per cent- much higher than in other countries, specifically in Europe.”Zamon On reflection, it seems as if the field of entomology holds promise for women scientists, on reviewing the life history of Margaret Rae McKay. Even today, there are “over 782 species of Lepidoptera in 6 families have aquatic stages. Unfortunately most have not been well studied. In Saskatchewan very little information is available on the aquatic species.”D Parker.

March is also National Women’s History Month

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
― George Carlin

“It is with a spirit of reverence that I approach God’s creation – this beautiful Earth. We may climb mountains or wander through field and forest, intoxicated by loveliness through the changing hours and seasons recorded by the length of shadows cast by the trees – and as we watch the pink, opalescent fingers of the dawn reaching up from beneath the dark horizon, so we wait for the sunrise of our awakening to the realisation of our kinship with the earth and all living things.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker, The Man of the Trees, Silviculturist, author and humanitarian

PUBLICATIONS by Margaret McKay [not complete list]:

Four monographs (book length) on the description of the larvae of families of moths, along with the detailed keys showing step by step routes to their identification, such as the larval study of Aegeriidae (clear-winged moths). Such monographs served to re-classify moth species by the larva to their respective genera. Up to this time botanist keys had been correlated for identification of adult lepidoptera, yet it was the larvae who affect the plants, flora and forest directly. To facilitate her research, McKay used an electron microscope to study the tiniest moth larvae species, who may bore in the needles of conifers, or mine leaves.

Additional larvae of the North American Olethreutinae (1) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Larvae of the North American Tortricinae (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Problems in Naming the Setae of Lepidopterous Larvae Canadian Entomologist 95(9):996-999 · September 1963

Larvae of the North American Torticinae (Lepidoptera: Torticidae)

“Almost everywhere in the world man has been disregarding the Divine Law and the Laws of Nature, to his own undoing. In his pride, he has rampaged over the stage of the earth, forgetting that he is only one of the players put there to play his part in harmony and oneness with all living things.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Bulletin. Entomological Society of Canada. Société d’entomologie du Canada … Volume 37 Number / numero 1. March / mars 2005.

De Gryse, J.J. Cooperation in Forest Insect Studies relating to Conservation Journal of Forestry, Volume 36, Number 10, 1 October 1938, pp. 983-986(4)

de Gryse, J.J. Report on the Sub-Committee on Forst Entomology of the Canadian Society of Forest Engineers. The Forestry Chronicle, 1936, 12(2): 237-239, 10.5558/tfc12237-2

de Gryse, J.J. Forest Entomology in post-war rehabiliation The Forestry Chronicle. , 1943, 19(1): 44-50, 10.5558/tfc19044-1

The G.J. Spencer Memorial Lecture Series at the University of British Columbia

Hanley, Debbie. Women entomologists 19 and early 20th centuries.

Lepidopterist’s Society [McKay, Margaret, (Miss). Div. of Entomology. Science Service Bldg. Ottawa. LEPID. larvae] List of Members. December 1954

Lepidoterists’ Society. 1952-6(6-8)125 List of Members. December 1952

Lepidopterists’ Society. List of Members. [McKay, Margaret, (Miss). Div. of Entomology. Science Service Bldg. Ottawa. LEPID. larvae] December. 1953.

Margaret Mckay Obituary. Legacy.com Ottawa Citizen.

Margaret Rae McKay. Necrologie.Genealogie Quebec.com 2017 The Citizen, Ottawa, ON

McKay, Margaret Rae. The Life of a Female Drifter. An Entomologist Remembers. General Store Publishing House. ISBN 1-894263-71-5. 2002. Burnstown, Ontario, Canada.

Parker, D. Saskatchewan Aquatic Neruoptera, Megaloptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera. Aquatex.

Pohl, Gregory R. Pohl, B. Christian Schmidt, J. Donald Lafontaine and Jean-François Landry,Gary G. Anweiler, Charles D. Bird.
Chapter 5 Moths and Butterflies of the Prairies Ecozone in Canada
[ includes Lepidoptera of conservation concern in the Prairies Ecozone ] Natural Resources Canada. Government of Canada.

Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Saskatchewan Volume 52. 2004. Editor Brian Galka.

Spencer Entolomological Collection. Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

Zamon, Rebecca. The Gender pay Gap in Canada is Twice the Global Average. The Huffington Post. May 6, 2015

“The spiraling flights of moths appear haphazard only because of the mechanisms of olfactory tracking are so different from our own. Using binocular vision, we judge the location of an object by comparing the images from two eyes and tracking directly toward the stimulus. But for species relying on the sense of smell, the organism compares points in space, moves in the direction of the greater concentration, then compares two more points successively, moving in zigzags toward the source. Using olfactory navigation the moth detects currents of scent in the air and, by small increments, discovers how to move upstream.”― Barbara Kingsolver

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com

Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

Save

Save

Save

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“Millions of acres of rich farm lands are now deserts as the direct result of wholesale destruction of trees and forests…Of the earth’s 30 billion trees, already nine million acres [are replaced by] desert …We submit that if the earth loses a third of its tree cover it will assuredly die. The water table will sink beyond recall, and life on this planet will become impossible. It is a deplorable fact that during the past fifty years we have been skinning the earth alive.~Richard St. Barbe Baker.”