As spring arrives and people start thinking about pruning trees in their yards, it is important to remember that there is a provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees from April 1 to August 31 due to the risk and threat of Dutch elm disease (DED). This ban is in place to prevent the spread of the fungal disease which can be deadly to elm trees.
Saskatoon is known as the “City of Bridges” and “The Paris of the Prairies” due to its many beautiful elm trees. In fact, one in every four trees in Saskatoon is an elm tree and is at risk of DED. The Afforestation Areas, planted in 1972 and 1973, also contain many elm trees among the recommended tree species which include American Elm and Siberian Elm.
Recently, DED was found in the nearby Montgomery Place neighborhood. It is crucial to prevent the spread of this disease to other areas, including the Afforestation Areas. Storing cut elm as firewood or in any form anywhere is not recommended. The bark beetle makes its way to decaying elm wood, and the beetle carries the DED fungus on its back. By having any form of elm tree cut in or nearby to the Afforestation Area, all elm trees are at risk.
As users and stewards of the Afforestation Areas, it is our responsibility to protect the trees from diseases and to maintain their health. The Afforestation Areas are home to many species of wildlife, including birds, deer, and small mammals. Trees are an important part of their habitat, and cutting down or damaging trees in the forest can have a significant impact on their survival.
We encourage all residents to be aware of the Dutch elm disease and the importance of following the provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees anywhere in Saskatoon and area. By doing so, we can help protect our beautiful elm trees and the wildlife that depends on them.
If you suspect that an elm tree in the Afforestation Areas or elsewhere may have DED, please contact the City of Saskatoon Urban Forestry Department immediately. They will send an arborist to assess the tree and determine if it needs to be removed.
In conclusion, let us all do our part to protect the elm trees in the Afforestation Areas and throughout Saskatoon from Dutch elm disease. By following the provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees and reporting any signs of DED, we can ensure that these beautiful trees continue to thrive for generations to come. Thank you for being a responsible steward of our natural environment.
Seeking an Innovative App Editor for Cultural & Environmental Heritage Prairie Forest Guide
Are you a forward-thinking individual who is passionate about bridging the gap between traditional connections with nature and modern science? Are you looking for an opportunity to develop a new and innovative app that teaches people about the cultural and environmental heritage of the prairie forest?
We are seeking an experienced and knowledgeable app editor to develop a Prairie Forest Guide that will teach users about the local flora and fauna, as well as the traditional uses of native plants for healing and medicinal purposes.
In this role, you will be responsible for researching and writing content, as well as developing interactive activities and illustrations. You will need to have a deep understanding of both indigenous terms for flora and fauna as well as Western scientific classification systems. Your goal will be to create a unique and inspiring experience for users that will foster reconciliation between cultures.
The ideal candidate for this position will have a degree in ecology, environmental studies, or a related field and will be knowledgeable about the prairie forest and its various plants, animals, and traditional uses. They must also have excellent communication skills, be organized and detail-oriented, and be comfortable working with a variety of software tools.
If you are interested in this opportunity and believe that you have the skills and experience necessary for success, please submit your resume and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you are the best person for the job to our email address. We look forward to hearing from you!
Are You an Experienced Cultural and Environmental Heritage Writer?
We’re looking for an experienced Cultural and Environmental Heritage Writer who can edit and run reconciliation, traditional ecological ways of knowing fact checks on The GPS interpretive app. The GPS interpretive app is designed to facilitate place-based learning for families, health and wellness enthusiasts, classrooms, nature lovers, and greenspace park users.
The ideal candidate should have a strong background in cultural and environmental heritage writing and an understanding of the importance of reconciliation and traditional ecological ways of knowing. They should also have a passion for nature and the outdoors, and a desire to help educate others about the importance of protecting and preserving nature.
Responsibilities for this position include:
Editing and running reconciliation, traditional ecological ways of knowing fact checks for The GPS interpretive app
Developing content for the app that is both accurate and engaging
Ensuring accuracy in all content related to traditional ecological ways of knowing
Collaborating with the app developers and other stakeholders to ensure the accuracy of the app
Qualifications for this position include:
Bachelor’s degree (or higher) in Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, or a related field
Strong writing / editing skills, with experience in cultural and environmental heritage writing
Understanding of reconciliation and traditional ecological ways of knowing
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
If you are an experienced Cultural and Environmental Heritage Writer and are interested in this position, please send a CV and writing samples to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
Share the gift of health and wellness this winter. Come celebrate winter in the forest! Appreciate this semi-wilderness habitat with species at risk, eBird hotspots for bird viewing, and an off leash recreation area. Have you come out to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area or to the George Genereux Urban Regional Park yet? Join the growing community who appreciate these forest spaces. Directions
A 2023 calendar for you to download and print presenting both wildlife and wilderness habitats from Saskatoon’s hidden gems. In gratitude for everyone who became members, and gave donations, we were happy to be able to have calendars this year to showcase these natural heritage greenspaces. We have no more printed copies, so we would like to share the pdf with whomever would like a copy to download and experience the forests this way.
The 50 for 50 Legacy Activity Book is now online to view on ISSUU or download page by page! Thanks for all the amazing donations to make this book come online page by page. Enjoy the crossword puzzles, word searches, challenges, arts activities, and so much more.
Two great events to celebrate the environment, nature and the ecosystem.
You are cordially invited to special tree planting ceremony by the University of Saskatchewan collaborating with the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas on World Environment Day, June 5, 2022 taking place at 2:00 pm on the University of Saskatchewan campus near the Diefenbaker Centre.🌳🌲🌳🌲
This ceremony echoes a tree planting ceremony 40 years ago to the day of the last tree planted by the Richard St. Barbe Baker in union with the University of Saskatchewan on World Environment Day, June 5, 1982 near the Diefenbaker Centre. This collaboration between the U of S and Richard St. Barbe Baker on his visit here from New Zealand, honoured him as a former graduate (1913), and recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1971. This tree was the last tree this extraordinary champion of trees and forests planted as he died in Saskatoon four days later. In 2014, the Meewasin Valley Authority placed a marker on the MVA trail near the tree he planted.😃😃😃🌳🌲😃😃😃🌳🌲🌳🌲😃😃😃
The 50th anniversary of World Environment Day June 5, 2022 Only One Earth!
The celebration continues into Canada Environment Week with the two local Northern Prairie City challenge.
BioDiverCity Challenge Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan. Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12 Northern Prairies Challenge Sign up for BioBlitzes at the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas! Explore nature anywhere in Saskatoon and Area or in Saskatchewan with the free iNaturalist app. Explore Nature with a purpose! Support Global Conservation during Canada Environment Week
During Canada Environment Week
In love with Saskatoon and area’s incredible nature?
In love with the province’s ecosystems?
Download the free iNaturalist app
What will you discover?
Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12
BioDiverCity Challenge a challenge between Northern Prairie Cities!
You are cordially invited to special tree planting ceremony by the University of Saskatchewan collaborating with the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas on World Environment Day (W.E.D.), June 5, 2022
This ceremony echoes a tree planting ceremony 40 years ago to the day of the last tree planted by the Richard St. Barbe Baker in union with the University of Saskatchewan on World Environment Day (W.E.D.), June 5, 1982 near the Diefenbaker Centre. This collaboration between the U of S and Richard St. Barbe Baker on his visit here from New Zealand, honoured him as a former graduate (1913), and recipient of an honorary doctorate in 1971. This tree was the last tree this extraordinary champion of trees and forests planted as he died in Saskatoon four days later. In 2014, the Meewasin Valley Authority placed a marker on the MVA trail near the tree he planted. (photo attached)
As you may know, Baker’s extensive archives were donated to the U of S and are the fourth most requested repository.
At this ceremony dignitaries in Saskatoon will be in attendance for this ceremonial tree planting on the University of Saskatchewan campus in honour of Richard St. Barbe Baker and the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day on June 5, 2022. This occasion would again raise awareness of the environment and the importance of tree planting as part of addressing climate change. St. Barbe Baker is often spoken of as a visionary ahead of his time, having raised the issue of deforestation and climate change in 1922, and then campaigning for the rest of his life for forest protection and large scale tree planting. It was for this life-long pursuit that he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the U of S.
Baker has other connections to Saskatoon; he was one of the first 100 students at the U of S, and initiated former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker there. A large afforestation area (132 ha) in Saskatoon was named after Baker by Saskatoon City Council in 1979. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is a non-profit community organization that works with the City and Meewasin to protect and enhance this area.
Our goal is to have a ceremonial tree planting event that marks W.E.D and honours Baker’s legacy, in that 2022 is also the centenary of the International Tree Foundation (ITF) started by St. Barbe Baker in Kenya, known then as the Men of the Trees. The ITF is also planning celebrations that we can link with and we would aim to have the media cover the event.
We include a few tributes to Richard St Barbe Baker, including one by former president, J.W.T. Spinks.
Thank you for your consideration in attending this public event and letting others know of the commemoration. It is truly appreciated.
“The simple act of planting a tree, which is in itself a practical deed, is also the symbol of a far reaching ideal, which is creative in the realm of the Spirit, and in turn reacts upon society, encouraging all to work for the future well being of humanity rather than for immediate gain. Richard St. Barbe Baker.
J.W.T. Spinks, Past President of the University of Saskatchewan, spoke about Richard St. Barbe Baker at his funeral.
“My first close contact with St. Barbe Baker came… when the University bestowed on him the Honorary Degree of LL.D. St. Barbe Baker was proud of his long connection with the University of Saskatchewan going back over seventy years, and renewed from time to time particularly over the last dozen years.
My last contact with St. Barbe Baker was last Saturday when Mary and I were privileged to attend a tree planting ceremony on the river bank, just west of the Diefenbaker Centre, a most beautiful spot with a most beautiful view. It was most moving to see and hear St. Barbe Baker talking to the children present at the tree planting, taking their hands in his hands, and repeating with them the motto:
‘From our hearts
With our Hands
For the Earth
All the World Together.’
The original thoughts and life-long actions of St. Barbe Baker and his dedication to the trees of the world will have made broader and broader impact on the peoples of the world. What greater memorial could the Man of the Trees wish or ask for?”
London Times obituary
“Baker deserves to be remembered as one of the very first men to realise that we were destroying the natural resources of the world faster than was prudent; and that trees were not only providers of timber, pulp and fuel, but were also manufacturers of life-giving oxygen from the waste products of man, and his machines, and …even more importantly, inducers of rain when assed in sufficient numbers.”
Jane Goodall, Founder Jane Goodall Institute and Roots & Shoots
“Why have we not heard of this extraordinary Man of the Trees, Richard St Barbe Baker? He was without doubt, one of the greatest advocates for the protection and restoration of forests ever. I am amazed by his life and accomplishments. He is one of my heroes.”
HRH The Prince of Wales
St Barbe, as his friends called him, was a true pioneer. Long before the science of climate change was understood, he had warned of the impact of forest loss on climate. He raised the alarm and prescribed a solution….Behind St Barbe Baker’s prescience was his deep spiritual conviction about the unity of life. He had listened intently to the Indigenous people with whom he worked and seen a similar sensibility in the then new sciences of ecology and silviculture.”
Our goal is to aim towards UN SDG 2 -Zero Hunger- when the time is right and if approved. Richard St. Barbe Baker promoted the concept of agro-forestry in Kenya, Africa before the concept or word was invented in contemporary times. In this way Baker supported the health and survival of the Kikuyu. In a similar vein, there may possibly and perchance be a future opportunity to do restoration work in the afforestation areas in support of agroforestry endeavours, pollinator gardens, and food forests.
Contributing to UN SDG 3 -Good Health and Well-being- currently the Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest package follows Richard St. Barbe Baker’s International Tree Foundation mission ‘to develop a tree sense in every citizen, and to encourage all to plant, protect and love their native trees.” By protecting trees, there is protection of the 132 hectares [326 acre] Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area in Saskatoon, and the 60 hectare [148 acre] George Genereux Urban Regional Park for health and wellness as people come out to an urban greenspace to reap the benefits of cycling, walking in nature which has multiple health benefits as extolled by the Canadian PaRx program, shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”)
UN SDG 4 -Quality Education -is supported by an educational package in pdf format available for free download for the general public, teachers, classrooms worldwide to experience place based learning and immerse in the morphology of Richard St. Barbe Baker’s humanitarian efforts advocating for forests and trees worldwide.
UN SDG 5 -Gender Equality- is supported by encouraging everyone to take Baker’s Watu Wa Miti (Forest guardian) pledge to 1/ plant ten trees, seedlings or seeds each year 2/ take care of trees everywhere 3/ Do a good deed every day. By encouraging all to do a good deed every day, then environmental conservation, stewardship and guardianship creates a safe greenspace for all users. Illegal trespass is not encouraged to support gender equality for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas and all efforts are being followed to mitigate all illegal trespass and to encourage legitimate users and the general public of Saskatoon who honour UN SDG 5.
UN SDG 6 -Clean Water and Sanitation- has seen a great partnership with members of the community to become as Watu Wa Miti and take care of trees everywhere. Richard St. Barbe Baker said “Men and trees, water and trees, man and water are inseparable. This is the trinity of life.” As the community has repeatedly come together to protect trees, in a partnership with the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup the West Swale Wetlands named Chappell Marsh are protected. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have had a great partnership with the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin, SOS Trees, Montgomery Place community Association, Fatlanders Fatbike Brigade, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Saskatoon Baha‘i community, Len’s Hauling, the CISV, Children’s International Summer Village, and the Peace Bus programme and we are grateful to many more who have come out to restore the wetlands and greenspace environs for human visitors, the semi-wilderness habitat and the species at risk who make these areas their home. The afforestation areas situated in the West Swale is a watershed created by the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway connecting the North Saskatchewan River, and draining into the South Saskatchewan River, the locale of the City of Saskatoon’s drinking water.
UN SDG 7 -Affordable and Clean Energy- is supported in following the example of Richard St. Barbe Baker who wrote many books, and spoke on radio programs about the importance of education and awareness. The heritage and environmental tours, and interpretive programming focuses on messages by both SK Energy and Sk Power for providing to our province much needed power and energy in a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) near the humid continental climate (Dfb), with typically warm summers and long, cold winters. Energy conservation strategies are brought forward in the Friends interpretive and tour packages.
UN SDG 11- Sustainable Cities and Communities – ties well into the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker who travelled by steam boat between the two Great Wars led campaigns around the world including the reclamation projects for the world’s deserts and protection of virgin forests from destruction. The International Tree Foundation was established by Baker at its height in over 105 countries. Baker, one of the first students at the fledgling University of Saskatchewan, always wished to have a branch of the ITF here in Canada. Working in that vision, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, work with the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin, green groups and classrooms in Saskatoon and around the world to follow in Richard St. Barbe Baker’s footsteps so vital in this era of climate change, and in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
UN SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production- is so very vital to the protection of forests and trees, along with wetland habitats. There are certain items so easy to recycle which the flora and fauna of forest and wetlands cannot use sustainably. By following Baker’s Watu Wa Miti pledge “take care of trees everywhere” the legitimate users in the forest help to support a “Leave no Trace” greenspace ethic. Reduce, reuse, recycle takes action on waste reduction- and protects our forests and wetlands.
UN SDG 13 – Climate Action- is supported by this Green Survival initiative of the City of Saskatoon to plant and preserve 660 acres of afforestation areas in 1972. The early parks department initiative of 1972 did indeed follow Baker’s Watu Wa Miti pledge to 1/ plant ten trees, seedlings or seeds each year 2/ take care of trees everywhere 3/ Do a good deed every day. Richard St. Barbe Baker founded, assisted and inspired were responsible for planting at least 26 billion trees, internationally, during his lifetime. International groups founded from his inspiration, continue onwards planting trees! “When the trees go, the rain goes, the climate deteriorates, the water table sinks, the land erodes and desert conditions soon appear”.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
UN SDG 14 – Life below water- is supported by realizing and supporting the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker Baker said, “Trees above all are the beings which attract the waters of the Trees above all are the beings which attract the waters of the firmament, conserve them in their shade, govern the whole vegetable kingdom in its great economy of water, leading it gently into springs, streams and rivers and maintaining fertile potency in the soil of a region.“
UN SDG 15 – Life on Land- is honoured time and time again by the work, teachings, and legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker. “The importance of forests cannot be underestimated. We depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. Besides providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change. Yet, despite our dependence on forests, we are still allowing them to disappear.” (WWF, 2019) The World Wildlife Fund WWF, made St. Barbe the very first inaugural Honorary Life Member.
UN SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – was apparent in Baker’s holistic worldview as he met and learned the Kikuyu language in Kenya Africa, and implemented an agro-forestry campaign to provide food for a population facing extirpation from colonial slash and burn agricultural methods employed at the time of Baker’s Kenya posting as Assistant Conservator of Forests. From there Baker went on to create this working model of the International Tree Foundation, which inspired the formation of other World Green Groups. Ecologists, environmentalists, conservationists who knew Richard St. Barbe Baker were honoured and grateful to spoke to the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker during the heritage documentary.
UN SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals- has been discussed already in this article. Local groups adopting stewardship and guardianship roles for the afforestation areas as users of the greenspace are amazing in supporting the UN SDG goals as mentioned. International environmental groups, and persons locally and from around the world coming together to advocate for the example set by Baker, supports local and UN SDG goals is totally enlightening! The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have seen some remarkable examples of the provincial motto; multis e gentibus vires: from many peoples, strength. Richard St. Barbe Baker had a similar motto, Twihamwe or Twahamwe, a word from the Kikuyu of Kenya, Africa.
“Kind people have been expressing superlatives on my work. But I can assure you that anything which I have been able to achieve has been team work. We have a motto in the Men of the Trees. TWAHAMWE. It is an African word meaning ‘pull together’ and I pass this on to all those concerned with conservation in this country. I would like to call you to silence for a moment with the words of Mathew Arnold:
“Calm soul of all things, make it mine, To feel amidst the City ‘s jar That there abides a peace of thine Men did not make and cannot mar. ”
International Tree Foundation (ITF) is an international, non-profit, non-political, conservation organisation. It is involved in planting, maintenance and protection of trees. It was founded in Kenya on 22 July 1922 by Richard St. Barbe Baker as Men of the Trees. It operates in several countries in Africa and in the United Kingdom. There have been chapters in over 100 countries. By some estimates, organizations he founded or assisted have been responsible for planting at least 26 billion trees, internationally.
Celebrate 50 years! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional park were planted to trees in 1972, 50 years ago. Come out and say Happy Birthday!
Celebrate 50 years! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional park were planted to trees in 1972, 50 years ago. Come out and say Happy Birthday!