The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. wish to thank our donors for their donations through Canada Helps and Paypal Giving. Thanks to you contributions, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas can offer place based educational learning trips to the afforestation areas helping to sponsor portable toilet rentals or offset bus trip fees to nature immersion classes. Because of you, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas can protect the wildlife habitats, the flora and fauna from illegal trespass and illegal dumping as your contribution goes towards trash bags for clean ups, wildlife friendly fencing and the tagging of the fencing.
Your generosity supports the greenspaces of the 326 acre Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the 148 acre George Genereux Urban Regional Park.
Your amazing contribution is a testament to the difference between a parking lot and a greenspace park, a semi-wilderness habitat, indeed. Because of you, it will be possible to support these greenspaces, and protect them for this generation and the next.
If you live in Saskatoon and area- thanks for calling for your recycling pick up. We will sort the bottles and stand in line. Your contribution goes a long way in environmental protections.
Order your copy of Living Legacy activity book and support the semi-wilderness environment and conservation of the flora and fauna. Take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land, UN SDG 14 Life Below Water and UN SDG 13 Climate Action as afforestation areas are nature based solutions for climate action. Supporting2022-2032 International Decade of Indigenous Languages and the 2021 to 2030 United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, 2021–2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing.
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.
For Historic Places Days, events are taking place across Canada coast to coast. It is a time to discover new places, and find out more about our historic places.
Richard St. Barbe Baker founded the International Tree Foundation July 22, 1922, 100 years ago, and we are celebrating at the Remai Modern on July 22 at 7:00 pm. Baker is the namesake of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area in Saskatoon. An introductory talk “Global Crusader and Changemaker” will begin the evening followed by a film about this Global Conservationist, Richard St. Barbe Baker with guest speakers from around the world.
Heritage Through All the Senses
Dr. George Genereux won the Gold Medal at the Olympics when he was just 17 years old, and then a hockey scout came to recruit this all star athlete. Find out what happens next at the eco-tour happening Sunday July 24 at 2:00 pm at George Genereux Park in Saskatoon.
Join us for the month of July as we discover our rich and diverse history through #HistoricPlacesDays. Get creative with a selfie or photo, and post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #HistoricPlacesDays before July 31 for a chance to win $1,000! Enter the contest today. http://www.historicplacesdays.ca/contests @nationaltrustca
Visit us learn about our rich and diverse history through #HistoricPlacesDays, now running for the entire month of July! We’re joining the event… will you? Find out more today. http://www.historicplacesdays.ca @nationaltrustca
Order your copy of Living Legacy activity book and support the semi-wilderness environment and conservation of the flora and fauna. Take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land, UN SDG 14 Life Below Water and UN SDG 13 Climate Action as afforestation areas are nature based solutions for climate action. Supporting 2022-2032International Decade of Indigenous Languages and the 2021 to 2030 United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
A round of appreciation is extended to the City of Saskatoon, Mosaic, Sask Energy for their support in assembling this publication, thank you kindly.
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. ”
The elm pruning ban begins April 1st, and is in effect until August 31st- that is the time period when it is illegal to prune Elm trees on your property
The Elm bark beetle is the most active during these warmer months April 1-August 31. The Elm Bark Beetles lead to the spread of Dutch Elm disease and are attracted to the injuries in the Elm trees such as those caused by pruning.
Both American Elm and Siberian Elm are susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease, which actually is a fungal virus carried around on the backs of the Elm Bark Beetle.
To date, there has been found no way to cure the pandemic of Dutch Elm disease. To prevent it from spreading, and taking out this beautiful leafy American Elm tree canopy across Saskatchewan, trees should be removed immediately and disposed of by choosing from burning, burial or take the branches to the landfill for disposal there.
Never, ever break the law and store or transport Elm for firewood or for any other reason. Whatever you do, do not throw or discard Elm into any forested area, such as Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area or George Genereux Park. These greenspaces have a plethora of elm, which add to the beauty of the green space area. The wood from firewood or pruned branches can harbor the Elm bark beetle, which is how the Dutch Elm disease can spread so quickly from tree to tree, city to city, province to province. and ravage and decimate our enjoyment of forests and trees.
Pay attention after Easter, for as the trees are supposed to be greening up, pay attention to the Elm appearance around you. Those trees that have been infected by Dutch Elm disease, will show leaves turning yellow, then curl and brown in the spring. This sign of “flagging” will start at the top of the Elm tree in the crown, and continue until the until the autumn colours appear.
The City of Saskatoon webpages say; “Residents who start to notice any of these symptoms, are encouraged to complete the online form below or call Urban Biological Services at 306-975-2890.“
Therefore, at your home or farm, please trim your Elm trees before April 1st. Afterwards do NOT store Elm wood on your property, or on anyone else’s property, and not in the afforestation areas. Take your pruned branches, and trimmings straight to the landfill.
Elm trees are a valuable part of our ecosystem. “Seeds are an important source of food for birds and mammals, with large “mast” seeds being especially valued by wildlife” source Besides the birds eating elm seeds and the leaves provide nutrition and food for the caterpillars of many moths. There are species of butterflies and moths which have declined dramatically since the spread of Dutch elm disease. It is a ripple effect, we must all do our part to protect species at risk, when DED is spread so much faster with the aid of vehicle transporting pruned branches and firewood and not disposing of same appropriately.
“We forget that we owe our existence to the presence of Trees. As far as forest cover goes, we have never been in such a vulnerable position as we are today. The only answer is to plant more Trees – to Plant Trees for Our Lives.”
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.
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.