Volunteers following proper protocols come out to the environment and wildlife habitat at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area [west side] on Saturday October 3 between 9 and 5 to restore natural habitats just in time for World Animal Day Sunday October 4.
Animals, domesticated or wild are sentient beings who live, breath, feel pain, joy and sadness just ask any pet owner. Somehow buniuks have found a way to dump trash in the afforestation areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, and similarly there are those who appreciate the afforestation areas who will right this wrong.
“For one minute, walk outside, stand there, in silence. Look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life is.” —Anonymous
“I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.” – William Shakespeare
“This generation may either be the last to survive in any semblance of a civilized world, or it will be the first to have the vision, the daring, 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, skinning it alive by removing virgin tree cover; I am destined to live and work for peaceful construction, for I am morally responsible for the world of to-day and to the generations of to-morow.”
“TWAHAMWE” is our motto. ‘Let us pull together’, and let us give our active support to all efforts of desert reclamation by tree-planting.” from the Richard St. Barbe Baker’s Condensed Sketch of Richard St. Barbe Baker’s Life in the University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds, MG 71
“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.” —Thomas Jefferson
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and West Swale Wetlands in the fog
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and West Swale Wetlands , Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it it the ‘skin’ of the earth, for without it there can be no water, and therefore, no life.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
On this blue planet, there is water, a lot of water. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey the Earth’s surface is covered with around 71 percent of water, and of this huge vast body of water 96.5 percent of the water on earth is in the oceans. So these leaves 3.5 percent as fresh water as streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Did you know that when considering “total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground.source”
“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
What does this mean when it comes to the afforestation areas of Saskatoon? Botanists consider the entirety of the lands designated as afforestation areas as wetlands. Of the wetlands, only a small portion are class IV permanent wetlands which may also be termed the north end of Chappell Marsh. The remaining land mass of the afforestation areas are, well, forest to the average visitor to this amazing area of Saskatoon.
“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime.The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” ~ Luna Leopold
The Chappell Marsh wetlands of the West Swale are teeming with ducks and waterfowl. As one of the only sites in Saskatchewan to view the Ruddy Duck, it possesses the capacity to provide foraging, and breeding grounds for many other species, Blue heron, Black crowned Night Heron, Pelicans.
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” ~ Jacques Cousteau
What will happen with Saskatoon’s growing population? The West Swale is a low lying area with its confluence at the South Saskatchewan River. The trajectory of the West Swale connects the North Saskatchewan River through Rice Lake, Grandora through to Saskatoon. Where the intermittent streams on the surface flow towards the South Saskatchewan River, the bedrock aquifer – the groundwater flows towards the North Saskatchewan River, making the West Swale vitally important to the water hydrology of Saskatchewan, and all communities down stream.
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” ~ Carl Sagan
It is quite intriguing to watch the city’s long-range plans. When new neighbourhoods are being planned and developed for Saskatoon’s Growth Plan to Half a Million what percentage of the wetlands are being conserved by developers to sustain water quality for the booming city. How does housing density and formulas for neighbourhood population conserve and interact with area previously designated as wetlands? If a wetlands is not in a preservation or conservation zone, what percentage of wetlands is deemed prudent to maintain? If approximately 570 acres of land are set aside for development of a neighbourhood to be home to around and about 10,000 residents, what happens if this land happens to have wetlands in it? Have any cities set precedents in regards to percentage of wetlands conservation areas as urban centres expand outwards?
“In 1981,it was estimated that 78 per cent of the pre-settlement wetlands in Calgary had been lost. Today, the estimate is closer to 90 per cent. Urban development
is now extending into areas of significant wetland complexes, some of which are considered provincially and nationally significant to breeding waterfowl.”Source
The Calgary wetland conservation policy ensures that there is “No Net Loss” of Calgary Wetlands by promoting their conservation and/or mitigation within areas of future urban development and within transportation and utility corridors.”
“The City will dedicate permanent, semi-permanent, and seasonal wetlands (i.e., Class III, IV, and V Wetlands in the Stewart and Kantrud system) and all peatlands as Environmental Reserve upon subdivision of land. (The Way We Green 3.5.2)” In addition to this, Edmonton sets aside municipal reserves, environmental reserves and public lands of water beds and shores.Source
Is it more prudent to infill the wetlands and construct a housing neighbourhood with the pre-requisite low, medium or high density population no matter what the geographical terrain? Is 23% of existing wetlands inventory maintained as constructed wetlands an acceptable environmental resource for urban growth in contemporary times?
The wetlands existing in the afforestation areas may be “preserved in perpetuity.” However, there are wetlands in the West Swale not in a preserved area for example west of Sk Highway 7 near the West compost depot. What has happened for example in the long range planning of the wetlands in regards to Saskatoon’s neighbourhoods ~ what percent of the wetlands inventory were conserved? What will happen to the expanses of West Swale wetlands water areas ~ these wetlands outside of preservation zones?
“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” ~ W.H. Auden
“In the setting of standards, agencies make political and technical/scientific decisions about how the water will be used. In the case of natural water bodies, they also make some reasonable estimate of pristine conditions. Natural water bodies will vary in response to environmental conditions. Environmental scientists work to understand how these systems function, which in turn helps to identify the sources and fates of contaminants. Environmental lawyers and policymakers work to define legislation with the intention that water is maintained at an appropriate quality for its identified use.Source” We need to conserve, and carve out a place for wetlands for future generations to ensure water quality.
Remember World water Day is celebrated on 22nd of March and Water Quality Month is August.
“Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
while knowledge about nature is vital; passion is the long-distance fuel for the struggle to save what is left of our natural heritage and ~ through an emerging green urbanism ~ to reconstitute lost land and water. Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature. ~Richard Louv.
Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
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!
Bend to the winds of heaven.
And learn tranquility
Uropygial ~ Uropygium Encompassing 2:2:2
Preening, or primping in relation to ornithology means, “to groom with the bill especially by re-arranging the barbs and barbules of the feathers and by distributing oil from the uropygial gland.” Source
And what a fancy word uropygial gland turns out to be. So to discover what that part of the bird might be: Uropygium is defined thusly; “the projecting terminal portion of a bird’s body, from which the tail feathers spring”.Source
Mallard primping and preening
Now turning to wikpedia it happens that “the uropygial gland, informally known as the preen gland or the oil gland, is a bilobate sebaceous gland possessed by the majority of birds,” which happens to be at the tail end of the bird. Voila!
Without the preening, the bird’s feather’s deteriorate, water-proofing is lost, an additional source of Vitamin D3 is absent, and the bird is more vulnerable to bird lice.
So this home-made cosmetic coming from their the uropygial gland works wonders for birds of all shapes and sizes is vital and necessary to their survival.
“Fashion is about two things: the evolution and the opposite.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Try a walk in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Saskatoon, SK. While there, walk past the West Swale wetlands, and observe the birds primping or preening themselves with oil from the nifty little uropygial gland.
“Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?”~ Vera Nazarian,
Did you know: In regards to the American Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, a couple facts numbered here:
“All species lay at least two eggs, and hatching success for undisturbed pairs can be as high as 95 percent, but because of competition between siblings or outright siblicide, usually all but one nestling dies within the first few weeks.”source
The “Two eggs are laid over a two-day period and then incubated by both adults for approximately 30 days”source
And, did you know, A couple of facts about the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos:
“The ducklings are lead to water as soon as their soft, downy feathers are dry and they first fly about 2 months after hatching. “source
“Mallard Ducks will grow to about two feet long and weigh around 2 -1/2 pounds.”source
Stand firm. Grip hard.
Thrust upward to the skies.
Bend to the winds of heaven.
And learn tranquility.
Should you wish to help protect / enhance the afforestation areas, please contact the City of Saskatoon, Corporate Revenue Division, 222 3rd Ave N, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J5…to support the afforestation area with your donation please state that your donation should go towards the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, or the George Genereux Urban Regional Park, or both afforestation areas located in the Blairmore Sector. Please and thank you! Your donation is greatly appreciated.
“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger
“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.
“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker