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.
Historic Places Days Every Place A Story Saskatoon Every historic site has not just one, but many, stories. Telling the untold and forgotten stories of the namesake of Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area historic site. Thank you for coming out to the Remai Modern, the Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest is now on YouTube
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area has many stories to share! You might know that that this 326 acre man made forest on the prairies was planted as a tree nursery in 1972 and named as an urban regional park in 1979, but did you know this site was also named for Richard St. Barbe Baker, global conservationist who founded the International Tree Foundation with the Dance of the Trees 100 years ago July 22, 1922.
And there’s a contest with awesome prizes too! #HistoricPlacesDays. Tag your selfie at the afforestation areas for a chance to win $1,000 Post before 07-31
Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest Global Crusader and Changemaker
On YouTube learn about our rich and diverse history sponsored by Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas inc.
The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest will be shown at the Remai Modern on July 22 and is now on YouTube. This premiere live event will feature “Global Crusader and Changemaker”by Robert White who personally new Richard St. Barbe Baker.
This is part of #HistoricPlacesDays with a theme, every place has a story.
Every historic site has not just one, but many, stories. This live event is about telling the untold and forgotten stories of people who used to related to this historic site. The theme encourages you to share the alternative perspectives and points of view of your historic site. No story it too big or small.
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. ”
November 6 is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
Did you know this? “Forest cover in Vietnam declined by 50 percent between 1945 and 1980. During the Vietnam War, U.S. forces sprayed 72 million liters of herbicides, including Agent Orange, on the Vietnamese countryside and dropped roughly 13 million tons of bombs, according to Jakarta-based forestry expert Chris Lang. An Australia-based forestry expert, Tran Lam Dong, reports that defoliants destroyed about 7,700 square miles of forests — six percent of Vietnam’s total land area.”
And what about this, did you know about this? “During World War II, huge swaths of forested countryside were cut down to provide energy for Japan’s war efforts.”
Did you know that the “Damage Done To Europe’s Forests By The World Wars – With Many Effects Still Being Felt Today”
“The cities of Dresden and Hamburg saw their green spaces decimated by WWII.”
That is food for thought and now, did you know this?
“Richard St. Barbe Baker and Mahatma Gandhi shared a vision: turning the world’s deserts green by converting armies into forestry corps. The power of this dream, rooted in the sacredness for life that has long been recognized by tribal peoples, is working today through the remarkable Chipko, or tree-hugging movement of India, which employs civil disobedience to protect forests.”
There is more about Richard St. Barbe Baker, global conservationist and humanitarian. There is a film. It is not an ordinary film, it includes global conservationists who knew Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982) aka Baba Wya Miti Loving Father of Trees. A heritage documentary with spotlights on Richard St. Barbe Baker and these notable conservationists are part of a virtual film on Saturday, November 6, 1:00 pm SK time (CT)
Celebrate with us the extraordinary achievements of Richard St Barbe Baker, aka Man of the Trees, 50 years after he was bestowed his honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University of Saskatchewan by chancellor John G. Diefenbaker. Please join us to learn more about this remarkable champion of forests and trees, who inspired people around the world.
November 6 is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. What a day to remember!
In the last two years of World War I over half of the productive forests in Britain were lost to the war effort. They were needed for building up the trenches, building up barbed wire fencing, providing a wood sidewalk during years of constant rain.
There was not much difference between the clear-cut forests and the ensuing fire devastation of the lands of Britain, and the flattened landscapes of France in the theatre of war. Where did the forests go for places of spiritual, mental and psychological refuge? They were gone.
Trenches and aerodromes, forests fell and continued to fall during the First World War. “By the end of the First World War, it is estimated that 85,000 tonnes of round timber, 260 million board feet of lumber and over 200,000 tons of fuel and slabs were harvested by the Forestry Corps.”source
“During the month of October 1918 alone, over 53 million board feet was cut by the forestry troops.”source
“The same demand for wood arose during the Second World War”source
It was the destruction of the ecosystem, without a doubt.source
Now, what does the have to do with Richard St. Barbe Baker? Well Rudy Haase, an environmentalist forming the Friends of Nature, in 1960, joined the campaign to reforest Sahara desert. “In 8 years the Sahara could be a green homeland for millions of people if a force equal to standing armies of the world started work. A 50, 000 square mile subterranean lake makes St. Barbe Baker’s grand plan possible.”source
“Baker’s visions of a green peace where armies can be reorganized to undertake tasks such as turning deserts into forests have inspired millions.”source
So, this peaceful use of the armies of the world for desertification purposes was a vision of Richard St. Barbe Baker’s.
We are letting you know about a film and film launch program that includes global conservationists who knew Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982) aka Baba Wya Miti Loving Father of Trees, who are part of a virtual film on Saturday, November 6, 1:00 pm SK time (CT)
The film, The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Hidden Forest, highlights the 326-acre man-made forest on the prairies that was named after Richard St. Barbe Baker. Celebrate with us the extraordinary achievements of Richard St Barbe Baker, aka Man of the Trees, 50 years after he was bestowed his honorary Doctorate of Laws at the University of Saskatchewan by chancellor John G. Diefenbaker. Please join us to learn more about this remarkable champion of forests and trees, who inspired people around the world.
Did you know that Saturday November 6 is the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict?
Peace, and harmony, this is something which Richard St. Barbe Baker advocated for. In fact, St. Barbe went one step further saying, “We advocate that all standing armies everywhere be used for the work of essential reafforestation . .. in the countries to which they belong, and that each country . . . shall provide expeditionary forces to cooperate in the greater tasks of land reclamation in the Sahara and other deserts.” — Richard St. Barbe Baker, Green Glory:The Forests of the World, (1947)
“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 The Divine Law and the Laws of Nature.
Take some time today to speak to students and your children about peace, justice and environmental issues. Each person could express a wish. Sessions could expand from one family to include friends and guests to classrooms.
When you think of the news these days- climate change, rising temperatures, massive flooding, the increasing reach of deserts what is the first thing that pops into your mind after Arrrggghhh!!!?
For Richard St. Barbe Baker, he saw massive flooding in Scotland. He travelled the Sahara desert, the largest in the world. He saw the effects which famine may have. He understood what clear-cutting forests would bring. The first thing which came to the mind of Richard St. Barbe Baker was how to rally the public for some tree planting, some stone mulching.
Richard St. Barbe Baker, a great motivator, inspired billions of people to plant trees through organizations he founded or assisted. What is very shocking, is that though the Sahara desert is a desert, and sand all the way, Richard St. Barbe Baker saw that the desert was once a forest, and he determined, that once again, the desert should be returned as forest. This project of desertification began while he was alive, and continues along to this very day. Other countries are taking part in their desertification processes also.
During this era of climate change nature based solutions, are indeed one way of taking action. A pioneer or pilot of many global projects could be found in Richard St. Barbe Baker’s ideas and through the International Tree Foundation, his work carries on.
Alongside this coming together of world conservationists will also be a curriculum natural science – heritage project tying together the film with inquiry based learning in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area named in St. Barbe’s honour. This place based learning set will enable classrooms, youth groups, families and homeschoolers to delve further.
International Online Premiere Saturday, November 6, 2021
1:00 CST (UTC-6), 12 noon PT, 3:00 pm ET
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 program begins with greetings from civic officials and concludes with a live panel. The total program will be about 1 hour.
As one of the most dynamic and motivated in our conservation industry, we’d be humbled if you would join us for this year’s 50th anniversary event. We’ll discuss emerging trends in nature based solutions to climate action, introduce you to global experts, help source potential inspiration, and more. The event takes place on November 6, 2021 virtually at 1:00pm, so please let us know if you’d like to attend at your earliest convenience by registering here.