Feed the Birds ~ Winter in Saskatchewan

. “According to ancient mythology, trees were the first living things on earth. This is borne out by scientific reasoning which shows that it is through them that the air we breathe can give life to humanity. Through countless ages trees have been drawing carbonic acid gas from the atmosphere, absorbing and incorporating the carbon, assimilating it; then when they die, bequeathing to soil their carboniferous remains. The consequence has been that eventually the atmospheric oxygen was left sufficiently pure for the requirements of birds and mammals which have replaced the flying reptiles and monstrous amphibians that were able to endure the heavy air of primeval swamps and jungles.”

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Feed the Birds Day.
February 3

This day is celebrated when the winter is coldest, and the winter snow has set in to encourage feeding of birds outside. In these colder winter months, the birds are in need of energy, and food is scarce as cold weather progresses.

There are a few methods to feed birds, which is not too overwhelming.  One is feeding them from your hands, another is to plant suitable trees and shrubbery and finally set out a do it yourself feeder designed in a multitude of fashions, or store bought. How to choose the right kind of bird feeder is an important consideration for the types of birds in your habitat.

How do you know what are the types of birds in your particular neck of the woods? Checking out Habisask (Hunting, Angling and Biodiversity Information of Saskatchewan) is an online species mapping application showing historical data. Another resource is Saskatchewan E-bird, the E-bird hotspots map or check out common migratory patterns, and dates for typical observation times for species in your area.

If you set out a feeder in the winter months, it is imperative to check it regularly. The birds’ very survival rely on this source of food once they get used to it being there.

A very simple, and spontaneous bird feeder is to strew along the top of horizontal tree branches fruit, suet, wheat, corn, sunflowers, sand, grit or store bought bird food for wild birds.

Richard St. Barbe Baker founded the “Men of the Trees” international foundation which is now known as the International Tree Foundation has three tenets for followers;

  • protect the native forest
  • plant ten native trees each year
  • take care of trees everywhere

For those choosing to follow in the footsteps of Richard St. Barbe Baker, and plant trees, select for “Feed the Birds Day” those plants which will best supply the seeds and nutrients the local birds need. The Land Manager’s Guide to Grassland Birds of Saskatchewan provides a template of birds and what types of food they require.

Another very important task to investigate is to search out anything is the wetlands or urban regional park which harm the bird’s environment. The landscape and the native flora can be harmed by chemicals spilled, oils, or any other wastes which don’t belong in a wetland and riparian forest ecosystem. By removing harmful contaminant, those birds feeding naturally in their native spaces are protected by your conservation efforts.

So, step up, and do your part during Feed the Birds Day this Februrary 3!  Attached are some links so this task is not overwhelming, but is enjoyable, and quite rewarding. Feed the birds not only today, but everyday, and get to know your feathered friends.

He that planteth a tree is a Servant of God
He provideth a Kindness, for many generations
and faces he hath not seen shall bless him.
Who so walketh in solitude, And inhabiteth the wood,

Choosing light, wave, rock and bird.

Before the money-loving herd.
Unto that forester- shall pass,
From these companions, power and grace.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

. “According to ancient mythology, trees were the first living things on earth. This is borne out by scientific reasoning which shows that it is through them that the air we breathe can give life to humanity. Through countless ages trees have been drawing carbonic acid gas from the atmosphere, absorbing and incorporating the carbon, assimilating it; then when they die, bequeathing to soil their carboniferous remains. The consequence has been that eventually the atmospheric oxygen was left sufficiently pure for the requirements of birds and mammals which have replaced the flying reptiles and monstrous amphibians that were able to endure the heavy air of primeval swamps and jungles.”~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
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Twitter: StBarbeBaker
July 9, 2016 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area CLEAN UP Day PAMPHLET

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alger, Bonnie. Feed the Birds Day. Treehugger.

Banks, Shelley. Regina Backyard Birds: Finches, Sparrows, Siskins. Prairie Nature. April 2015.

Bird Feeding. Hinterland Who’s Who. HWW. Environment and Climate Change Canada & Canadian Wildlife Federation

Bird Watching in Saskatchewan Whatbird

Bradbury, Kate. Garden Birds and Feed the Birds Day. Wildlife Blog Gardener’s World.

Briere, Karen. Feeding Program helps birds endure tough winter. March 1994. Western Producer.

Bumstead, Pat. Its Feed the Birds Day Birds Calgary.

Byron, Greg. What should you put out to feed birds during the winter? Bird Canada. Jan 16, 2013

DIY Bird Feed. Living Naturally with Kids. Rainy Day Mum.

Feed the Birds Day Holiday Insights

Feed the Birds Day Video on The Guardian.

Feed the Birds Day. Gardeners Network.

Feeding Birds in Winter. Prairie Birder. November 9, 2012.

Flowers, Frankie. How to Attract Birds to your Garden in Winter. HOme and Garden. Canadian Living. 2017 TVA Group

How to Help Birds in Winter. How to Attract a Greater Variety of Foods. Wild Birds Unlimited. Saskatoon, SK.

How to choose the right kind of bird feeder. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. April 2009

Inviting Birds to your Garden. Landscapes Saskatchewan.

Land Manager’s Guide to Grassland Birds of Saskatchewan. [with Key Identification Features, Species Range Maps, Identification Charts, and Bird Diet] Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. formerly Saskatchewan Wetland Conservation Corporation. ISBN 1-896-793-29-0. Regina. Saskatchewan.

Nature Counts. A Partner of Avian Knowledge Network. Bird Studies Canada.

Porter, Diane. Bird Feeding in the Winter Birdwatching.com

The RSPB Feed the Birds Day The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

RSPB Feed the Birds Day. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas. Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre.

Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas. Bird Studies Canada, Saskatoon, SK

Saunders, Nick. Feeding the Wildlife at Pike Lake Saskatchewan Birds and Nature. November 2008

>Your Winter Backyard Bird Guide Nature Conservancy of Canada.

World Wetlands Day! February 2

“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. 1954

World Wetlands Day! February 2

Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction

World Wetlands Day Logo Wetlands For Disaster Risk Reduction
World Wetlands Day Logo Wetlands For Disaster Risk Reduction

February 2 heralds both the groundhog day and World Wetlands Day! World Wetlands Day was declared as February 2 by RAMSAR. “Canada is the only country in the world that has selected a wetland engineer as its national animal. We need to ensure that wetlands are better represented in the places we protect in the future. Wetlands are places of immense biological importance that also support our economy and well-being. “Kraus

The West Swale Wetlands in the City of Saskatoon are of extreme importance in mitigating drought in flood in the Municipal City of Saskatoon, neighbourhood of Montgomery Place, hamlet of Cedar Villa Estates and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park 344. “Wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the water stored, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages.” Muskoka Watershed Council

The West Swale Wetlands are vitally important, as they are a main lowlands channel between the North Saskatchewan River through Rice Lake, the Afforestation Area formely known as George Genereux Park , the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Chappell Marsh Conservation Area having the confluence in the South Saskatchewan River at Maple Grove.

“Water is essential to life and socio-economic development.” Page v What is needed is an reliable water source with suitable water quality. “Riparian forest buffer systems (RFBS) are streamside ecosystems managed for the enhancement of water quality through control of nonpoint source pollution (NPS) and protection of the stream environment. The use of riparian management zones is relatively well established as a best management practice (BMP) for water quality improvement in forestry practices…Riparian ecosystems are connected to aquatic ecosystems through the hyporheic zone. (age 687 Lowrance

The Prairie Eco-zone locates bedrock aquifers laying beneath the basal aquitard of the Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks. “Aquifers (waterbearing zones) are defined as saturated geological units which have sufficient permeability to yield economic quantities of water to a water supply well. Aquitards are units which, though saturated, do not yield sufficient water to a water supply well.” Maathius Page 127. The aquifers are contained within Cretaceous shale. The Tyner Valley aquifer along with other buried valleys reside on top of the bedrock and are invaluable for groundwater supply.

The Judith River Formation formed in the Late Cretaceous is also called the Belly River formation. This formation has fine to medium grained sands, silts and clays deposited in a deltaic environment. The water supply of the Judith River is invaluable to agricultural, municipal and industrial users. “Potable water is only found in and above the Judith River formation since water in the older formations is too salty for human or animal consumption.” (Maathius page 127.) Surface precipitation flows from the surface of the land into the Judith River Formation, and from this aquifer the waters flow into the Tyner Valley aquifer. The Tyner Valley aquifer has its confluence with the Battleford Valley aquifer, which thence flows into the North Saskatchewan River. The Tyner Valley aquifer is a major pre-glacial chert and quarzite gravel aquifer overlain with sands from the Empress group. The Tyner Valley Aquifer is a major aquifer system. These bedrock aquifers are capable of producing more than 200 gallons per minute gpm) from an individual well.

In Saskatchewan years of drought and high water tables are cyclical. During years of drought, groundwater is looked upon to help sustain the water supply. “Movement within and recharge of the Judith River Aquifer is limited by the highly impermeable shale that lies above this aquifer. “~Prairie Provinces Water Board. Attention to the recharge of the aquifers enhances the best management policies. “The low hydraulic conductivity of thick till and bedrock aquitards limits the rechard to deeper aquifers.” Maathuis page v. Deep aquifers show increasing rechard through the months of October and March. A shallow or surficial aquifer will show an increase in water coinciding with spring meltwaters and summer rains.

“In Saskatchewan approximately 45% of the population relies on groundwater as a source of drinking water .” (page v) Additionally groundwater is also useful for agricultural irrigation, and industrial purposes.

The Meewasin Valley Authority explains that in regards to low lying areas such as a swale, they offer “high quality biodiversity, proximity to urban areas, economic benefits for recreation and education and a natural filter for our air and water. The swale contains wetlands that provide a means of flood control for the surrounding community.”

“Evidence shows that wetlands mitigate some natural disasters and lower the risks for people: first, by reducing the immediate physical impacts and second, by helping people survive and recover in the aftermath. “The Conversation The Meewasin Valley Authority manages the wetlands and afforested areas east of the wetlands located in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, along with the owners of the land, the City of Saskatoon. They have worked together in partnership honouring the 1972 city council acclamation to “preserve in perpetuity” the 660 acres of afforestation areas.

Alongside the dedication of the afforestation areas as parks in 1979, the City of Saskatoon implemented a Growth Management Strategy with objectives, goals and priorities …resulting in specific community plans, programs, policies and actions which will control and channel all development to satisfy special local community requirements. The absence of such plans …is usually followed by uncontrolled, unplanned, meaningless urban sprawl, unsightliness, rapid rises in real estate values, rampant speculation, and all the associated socio-economic ills which cause social unrest and dissatisfaction, physical decay and detioration of the urban fabric.File No. C. 17-10-1 This program has moved forward as Shaping Saskatoon and Saskatoon Speaks.

World Wetlands Day serves to raise public awareness and impress upon everyone the need and imperative for a healthy wetlands. “most of us are largely unaware of how wetlands safeguard us. In fact, we often see wetlands as wasteland; something to be filled in or converted to other uses. Scientists estimate that at least 64 per cent of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900.”Muskoka Watershed Council Things you can do for your wetlands!.

Following in the footsteps of the 2015 community clean up, three times in 2016 community volunteers rallied together to clean the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, situated in the low lying area of the West Swale. Not only did the riparian forests and ecosystem benefit from the clean up efforts, but so did the wetlands of the West Swale. “With 71 per cent of our planet covered in water, it makes sense to focus on the health of our waterways” on World Wetlands Day.Fong

Karla Guyn, CEO for Ducks Unlimited Canada, “Canada is home to 25 per cent of the world’s wetlands. This is both a privilege and responsibility. World Wetlands Day reminds all Canadians of the critical role they play in our lives and the need to conserve them.” Water Canada

What can you do personally?

  • Visit a wetlands
  • Find out more about our wetlands in Saskatoon – the West Swale Wetlands, the Northeast Swale, Richardson Ravine, Beaver Creek
  • Enter the photo competition
  • Take a walk with the birds in the West Swale Wetlands with a guide book in hand.
  • Initiate a volunteer clean up of the Afforestation Area formerly known as the George Genereux Park (in the west swale wetlands)
  • Contact your city or RM councillor, the RM of Corman Park 344, an environmental or green group, the city of Saskatoon and the MVA about the importance of wetlands.

“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. 1954

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Clean ups

Cleanup – spring of 2015

July 2016 Trash clean-up Summary

A Tree-mendous Result October clean up 2016

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Akatay, Jane. World Wetlands Day: a fragile habitat for Fethiye’s feathered friends. Fethitye times. February 2, 2017

Celebrating World Wetlands Day in Canada Water Canada.

Christiansen, E.A., W.A. Menseley and S.H. Whitaker. Groundwater in Southern Saskatchewan. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Editor K.I. Fung. Page 68. Modern Press. 1969.

Christiansen, E.A. and B.J. Schmid. Galcial geology of Southern Saskatchewan – University of Saskatchewan.

City of Saskatoon. Section C General Administration and Finance. Growth Management Strategy. File No. C. 17-10-1. January 2, 1979.

Dunn, Christian. World Wetlands Day Highlights Importance of Vital Habitats. February 2, 2017.

Exaggerating the value of wetlands for natural diasaster mitigation is a risky business. The Conversation.

Goal 2: Protect Interprovincial Groundwater Aquifers Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)
Current Knowledge Saskatchewan Research Council. SRC Publication No. 11304-2E00. April 2000.

Fong, Jean. Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Asks Canadians to Do Their Part on Earth Day and Beyond Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
April 22/2015
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Guide for World Wetlands Day 2 February. Wetlands for Disaster Risk Prevention. From 2 February 2017 to 2 March 2017. young people between the ages of 18 – 25 years are invited to participate in a photo contest for a chance to win a free flight to visit a Wetland of International Importance!

It’s World Wetlands Day: Muskoka Watershed Council on the importance of wetlands for disaster risk reduction Muskoka Watershed Council. Doppler online.

 

Kraus, Dan. Opinion: Why Canada matters on World Wetlands Day. February 2, 2017

Kraus, Dan. Why Canada Matters on World Wetlands Day. Huffington Post. February 1, 2017

Layout 1 Meewasin Northeast Swale Brochure for Web. Meewasin Valley Authority.

The Northeast Swale Saskatoon’s Ancient River Channel

Lowrance, Richard et al. Water quality functions of Riparian Forest Buffers in Chesapeake Bay Watersheds. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. Environmental Management Vol 21. No. 5 pp 687-712.

Maathuis, Harm. Groundwater in Southern Saskatchewan. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Celebrating the Millennium Edition. Page 127-128. Editor Ka-iu Fung. 1999. University of Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88880-387-7.

Maathuls, H. The quality of Natural Groundwaters in Saskatchewan. Prepared for Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

Meewasin Northeast Swale Meewasin Valley Authority

Padbury, G.A., Donald F. Acton, Colette T. Stushnoff. Ecoregions of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Centre. Compiled by Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management
University of Regina Press, 1998
ISBN 0889770972, 9780889770973

People see wetlands as wasteland (February 2 is World Wetlands Day.) CanIndia News.

Photo Contest – World Wetlands Day – Wetlands help us cope with extreme weather events.

Violata, Annalyn. Wetlands helping reduce the risk of disasters. SBS Your Language.

Wetlands: Why we need to take care of them, what can we do? Zee Media Bureau. February 2, 2017

World Wetlands Day. TimeandDate.com

World Wetlands Day. – official site

World Wetlands Day on Facebook

World Wetlands Day on twitter

World Wetlands Day on Instagram:

World Wetlands Day RAMSAR

World Wetlands Day IWMI. International Water Management Institute.

World Wetlands Day. Wildlife Preservation Canada.

World Wetlands Day 2017: Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction. Around the World.

World Wetlands Day. Nature Conservancy Canada

World Wetlands Day. Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction UNESCO.

World Wetlands Day Wikipedia.

World Wetlands Day. Republic of South Africa. Department of Environmental Affairs 2017 .
Wetlands: Why we need to take care of them, what can we do? Zee Media Bureau. February 3, 2017

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker

“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

clean

We stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of a single tree.~Richard St. Barbe Baker

clean

“I am a part of all that I have seen.”~ Lord Alfred Tennyson

  • CHANCED it my eye fell aside on a mighty forest, where the boughs and roots opened and closed behind – thenceforth – discover “tongues in trees,” their mysterious whispers, the soul sentiment of the thousand shapes.
  • LIFE is a great gift, and as we reach years of discretion, we most of us naturally ask ourselves what should be the main object of our existence. LIFTING our searching gaze in to the measureless space beyond our earth, the glorious sun by day, and the moon and stars in the silence and mystery of night, are felt to influence material nature.
  • ENFANT de mon siècle, EACH existence hath its just and yet luxurious joy, whether it were a man before thee, or a flower, or a grain of sand, ~ without reference in short, to this or that particular form of existence? Water can cleanse, fire purify, yet the EARTH is mother to all.
  • ATTAIN to this; feel the presence of a mystery, which must have fixed thy spirit in awe and wonder, all places that the eye of Heaven visits are to the wise man ports and happy havens.”
  • NOURISHED by the great Mother, POETS rose before me and taught the world thy music, the song leading to NATURE’S gate.

“I learned early to regard the forest as a society of living things, the greatest of which is the tree. …

We stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of a single tree. Tall and graceful it stands, yet robust and sinewy with spreading arms decked with foliage that changes through the seasons, hour by hour, moment by moment as shadows pass or sunshine dapples the leaves. How much more deeply are we moved as we begin to appreciate the combined operations of the assembly of trees we call a forest.

The trees have offered their gifts to man. “~Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Clean ups

Cleanup – spring of 2015

July 2016 Trash clean-up Summary

A Tree-mendous Result October clean up 2016

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker

“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

How to scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog!

“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker

Can you really scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???

Step One:
Where is a groundhog when you need them?

Groundhog (Marmota monax), has a plethora of names.  A groundhog can rightly be referred to as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, digger and red monk and is a rodent of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) in a classification known as marmots. The groundhog is the largest squirrel found in its range, measuring in at 65 cm (16 to 26 in) long (which is inclusive of the 15 cm (6 in) tail) and weighing 2 to 4 kg (4 to 9 lb). In choice conditions, a groundhog may be as large as 80 cm (30 in) and 14 kg (31 lb). The groundhog can take to their burrow, climb a tree or swim away to flee from their predator. So how does a woodchuck compare to other common mammals in North America?

Groundhog - Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0
Groundhog – Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0

The American beaver (Castor canadensis) happens to be the largest rodent in North America weighing in at 11 to 32 kg (24 to 71 lb). The body from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail is 74 to 90 cm (29 to 35 inches) with the large flat tail adding another 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14) inches in length. Both Groundhogs and Beavers to get away from enemies and predators. The beaver’s entrance to the lodge or beaver dam is deep underwater as a defence against predators. The groundhog burrow opens up at the edge of a forest, near a tree or building.

American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy _Steve_CCxSA2-0
American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy Steve CCxSA2-0

Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), are about 41 to 64 cm (16 to 25 inches) in length, weighing in at .7 to 2 Kg (1.5 to 4 lbs). Muskrats love marshlands, and will make burrows or lodges out of cattails. In the water, they are distinguishable from the beaver as the muskrat tail will propel the rodent through the water by spinning around and around. The beaver’s tail lies flat behind them when swimming, or lowers in the water. The beaver’s tail is useful to sound a warning by lifting it up and slapping it down on the water surface making as large a noise and as big a splash as possible.

Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0
Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0

The badger’s name comes from the French word “becheur” which means digger.
Like the groundhog’s Latin name Marmota monax; Marmota meaning Mountain rodent, and monax meaning digger. Groundhogs do hibernate, but the American Badger (Taxidea taxus) enters into a torpor or deep sleep for perhaps up to three weeks. The American Badger is low to the ground measuring about 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 inches) long with a weight of 7 kg (15 pounds). Badgers are belong to the family, Mustelidae and are mainly carnivorous. Badgers are not classified as rodents, but groundhogs, beavers, muskrats, and porcupines are rodents. And although one groundhog nickname is “thickwood badger”, the groundhog does not belong to the family Mustelidae, which only hosts the Muskrat, weasel, otter, ferret, and wolverine. Both groundhogs and badgers dig burrows, and have special adaptations for digging.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0
American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0

Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), are another commons North American rodent. the name from two Latin words porcus meaning pig, and spina, quill is very suitable. How does a porcupine compare in size to a groundhog? Well the porcupine has a round body 60 to 90 cm (2.0 to 3.0 ft), and the tail would add an extra 4.5 to 30 cm (5.7 to 11.8 in) in length. The stocky porcupine weighs in at 3.5 to 18 kg (7.7 to 39.7 lb though typically they are seen around 9 kg (20 lb). Porcupines don’t burrow like badgers, muskrats and groundhogs nor do they build burrows and dams like muskrats and beavers. Porcupines live in coniferous and mixed forests creating dens in hollow trees. Muskrats may be seen at dawn or dusk, and porcupines are mainly nocturnal, sleeping during the day up in trees. Where the badger is carnivorous, the groundhog, beaver and porcupine are herbivores. The muskrat is an omivore, mostly eating plants and cattails, but will eat aquatic animals to supplement their diet. The porcupine and beaver will eat tree bark, twigs, roots and stems along with other vegetation, the groundhog, also called a woodchuck, does not chuck wood, or eat trees.

Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0
Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0

Where a group of beavers is called a “colony”, and several badgers together are called a “cette” not a herd, or flock. Now then, a group of muskrats could be called a “colony, horde, pack, plaque or swarm.” Very appropriately a group of porcupines is called a “prickle”! There have been some discussions about what a group of groundhogs is called whether it is a “madness of marmots” or a” college of groundhogs”.

Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange.  Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg
Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange. Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg

Using these essential elements as a foundation to find a groundhog, take your first steps to locate this most excellent weather forecaster. Groundhogs are usually found in areas where forest opens up into a field, road or marsh. So a groundhog has different habitats, eating habits, size and lifestyle from other large mammal rodents in Saskatchewan. Have you spied a groundhog in Saskatchewan? What about a groundhog in Saskatoon?

How Can a Groundhog Forecast the weather, Scientifically?

How can the groundhog be a “meteorologist” and predict the weather? Is it possible, or is it just a myth? Do not resist delving deep into this myth, it just may be grounded in truth and meteorological science!!!

Groundhog day is February 2, and it is rather an excellent bit of folklore about predicting spring. During the winter months, if the day is sunny the weather will be cold and brisk. It is during a sunny day when the groundhog may indeed see his shadow, and the stark chilliness of the day, may indeed entice the groundhog to turn tail and return to the warmth of his burrow. On the flip side of the coin, in the winter, if the day is cloudy, the weather is warmer from the cloud cover trapping in the heat from the earth. Therefore, on a cloudy day, the groundhog cannot see their shadow as there is no sun to create a shadow, the day is much warmer, and the groundhog may spend some time outside of his burrow suggesting that an early spring is around the corner.

So can this really be a way to forecast if spring will be coming soon, (because the groundhog did not see his shadow)?  Or can it foretell if spring will be yet another 6 weeks away because the groundhog did in fact see his shadow?

Don’t take my word for it, this is what meterologist Nick Walker has to say about winter cloudy and sunny days; “Cloud cover on a winter night means you can expect warmer weather, because clouds prevent heat radiation that would lower the temperature on a clear night.” r So to further explain the difference between a cloudy day and a sunny day in the winter time. “If there are no fronts or precipitation nearby, the daily temperature cycle is primarily controlled by the radiation budget. This is a comparison between the incoming radiation from the sun (sunlight) and the terrestrial radiation given off by the earth’s surface (felt as heat.)”

Walker further expounds that “sunshine is only one thing that affects temperature, and in winter, it is far from being the main thing. … The cold air at Earth’s surface is very dense and heavy, so it’s hard for clouds to form in that cold sinking air. So sometimes in winter, skies are very clear and temperatures are very cold. Also, winter is the time of year that the angle of the sun, especially in the northern U.S. and Canada, is so low in the sky that there’s never enough direct sunlight to warm the Earth very much even at midday with clear skies. And if there’s snow on the ground, the snow reflects a lot of the sun’s energy away, preventing the ground from absorbing it. So temperatures end up cooler than if the ground were bare. Even if the ground absorbs some of the sun’s energy, the heat radiates back up into space with no clouds to keep it near the ground. So when you look outside and see sunshine, you cannot assume it’s going to be a warm day.”

Speaking of weather fronts and clouds, another interesting fact about how no shadow may forecast an early spring is that when there is “a low layer of uniform, dark grey cloud,” then the groundhog would not see their shadow. Furthermore, this solid mass of cloud blankets the sky, then “when it gives precipitation, it is in the form of continuous rain or snow. The cloud may be more than 15,000 feet thick. It is generally associated with warm fronts.”Pilot Friend

So there you have it, resistance is futile. This is how the groundhog myth or folklore actually works scientifically to predict the weather. The Groundhog Day story that if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter is actually based in science due to the effects of a clear sky with no clouds. And the folklore which exists on Groundhog day that if the groundhog does not see his shadow would mean that February 2 is a warmer day, and the cloud cover may have formed in conjunction with an incoming warm front.

“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”…~Richard St. Barbe Baker

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alongie, Jenise. Badger FActs. Animal Facts Encyclopedia. 2011-2017
American Badger. Wikipedia.

Badger Wikipedia.

Bradford, Alina. Facts about Muskrats. Live Science Contributor. Jan. 28, 2017.

Groundhog. Wikipedia.

How to Predict the Weather Without a Forecast

Meteorology – Clouds Pilot Friend.

Muskrats – Water loving Rats. Pictures and facts.

Names of Animal Groups

North American Beaver Wikipedia.

Walker, Nick. Winter and Cold Weather Previously Asked Questions. 2007 Small Gate Media.

North American Porcupine Wikpedia.

Odd names for groups of animals flash cards. Quizlet.

Porcupine. Wikipedia.

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Happy Woodchuck Day!

If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.

Woodchuck Day!

February 2 is Woodchuck Day!

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC

According to standard legend, if it is cloudy when a woodchuck emerges from its burrow on February 2, and the woodchuck spies no shadow then the spring season will be arriving very soon, before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny on February 2, the woodchuck will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

What? No, no, no! This is all wrong, it is groundhog day on February 2, and the groundhog is the one to watch to find out if the groundhog sees its shadow or not.

One problem, however the groundhog with botanical name Marmota monax, is also called a woodchuck , or whistlepig. Marmot has etymological origins meaning “a mountain of a mouse”, or “mountain rodent” a marmot or being a large ground dwelling rodent. Monax meaning digger.

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.

So the groundhog, or woodchuck can grow between 0.5 to 1 meter ( 1-1/2  to three feet ) in length, and weigh in at 2 to 6 kilograms ( 5 to 14 pounds). They can be found on the forest edge, feeding on grasses, dandelion, chickweed, and clovers through the summer, and hibernating in the winter. They are a large rodent, but still belong to the squirrel family.

At any rate, whether the groundhog or the woodchuck sees its shadow or not, at this time of the year, February 2, it is midway between the solstice and the equinox, the dark days of the year are behind us. There are two solstice each year; in summer (about June 21) it is the longest day of the year and in winter (around December 21) which is the shortest day of the year. The equinox also occurs twice a year around March 20 and September 23 when the length of day and night are nearly identical. So groundhog day marks the changeover between the darkest time of the year in December the shortest day to spring or Vernal Equinox in March when day and night are on even terms.

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
or how about:
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
possit materiari?”*

So however you say it; Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy Woodchuck Day or “Felicem Diem Marmota monaxi”, have fun this February 2!

Carry on with some great weather watching as in the links below! And the range in North America places the groundhog through central and northern Saskatchewan, so keep your eyes open for the groundhog in Saskatoon. As a groundhog is a part of the Squirrel family (Sciuridae), that even helps out for Squirrel Appreciation Day, which can be every day, after hibernation, once you find one!!!

If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Anecdata to share environmental data.

Be a weather detective.

Citizen Weather Observer Program. Russ Chadwick. Apr 24, 2014.

CoCoRahs Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. How to measure precipitation.

Cooperative Observer Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA, National Weather Service

Equinox.</> Wikipedia.

Groundhog Wikipedia.

Groundhog Day Wikipedia.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck Wikipedia.

I See Change: The Almanac Don’t Just Talk About The Weather… Document It.

The Local Environmental Observer LEO Network. The eyes, ears, and voice of our changing environment.

National Weather Service. Windchill calculator

NOAA, National Archives team up with citizen-scientists to reconstruct historical climate of the Arctic Wednesday, October 24, 2012

* No Title Maureen with Latin phrases on Evil Genius Chronicles.

Pressurenet

SatCam App Send in sky scenes to the Space Science and Engineering Centre SSEC, and receive a satellite image of the area in real time.

Solstice Wikipedia.

Yoder, Dan. Groundhog Day
Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition
Book Collection: Nonfiction
Edition illustrated
Publisher Stackpole Books, 2003
ISBN 0811700291, 9780811700290

Youth, Howard. Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, Woodchuck (Groundhog) Marmota monax, Part 3
Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Robert E. Mumford, Jr.
Illustrated by Mark A. Klingler
Contributor Kirk Johnson
Edition illustrated
Publisher JHU Press, 2014
ISBN 1421412322, 9781421412320

Weather forecasting YouTube

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Bert Wellman

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

Bert Wellman, City Planner Saskatoon

A Green City

Herbert Edgar. Wellman, FCIP (d)  (July 2, 1930 Asquith, SK – October 19, 2014 Saskatoon, SK). Bert was born in Saskatchewan, spending just a portion of his youth here.  His parents returned to England when Bert was just 11 years old where Wellman grew up with a brother and sister in Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom. Bert graduated from the University of London, with a BA Honours degree in geography. From there, he entered the City of Saskatoon Engineering Department in 1952. In 1963, Wellman was the City Planner and then Director of Planning and Development until 1987, Wellman worked as Director until he became Director of Special Projects which he worked at until he retired. In Stonebridge, Wellman Crescent and Wellman Lane are named in his honour recognizing his 36 years with the City of Saskatoon.

South Saskatchewan River, Saskatoon Ryan Hodnett :      CC-BY-SA-4.0

Wellman worked with eight City of Saskatoon mayors during his career with the city of Saskatoon.
1949 – 1953 J.S. Mills
1954 – 1958 J.D. McAskill
1958 – 1963 S.L. Buckwold
1964 – P.C. Klaehn
1965 – 1966 E.J. Cole
1967 – 1971 S.L. Buckwold
1972 – 1976 H.S. Sears
1976 – 1988 Clifford E. Wright

Between 1955, and 1988, the city of Saskatoon changed in physical size increasing from a city of just 8,144.1 acres by 326.55% to a city of 34,7383.6 acres.

Some of the neighbourhoods which were annexed into the city of Saskatoon over this window of time were;

  • CN Industrial
  • Confederation Suburban Centre
  • Massey Place
  • Fairhaven
  • Westview
  • Fairhaven
  • Airport Industrial
  • South Nutana
  • Airport
  • Confederation
  • East College Park
  • River Heights 2
  • Pacific Heights
  • Wildwood
  • Briarwood
  • Hudson Bay Industrial
  • Hampton Village
  • Marquis Industrial
  • Parkridge
  • Silverwood Suburban Centre
  • Lakeridge
  • Lakevew
  • Lawson Heights
  • Willow Grove
  • Silverwood Heights
  • University Heights Suburban Centre
  • Agriplace
  • Arbor Creek
  • Briarwood
  • Rosewood
  • Erindale
  • Montgomery Extension
  • Lakewood SDA
  • Stonebridge

In 1954, the new City Hall started construction.Sutherland merged with the city in 1956. The University Hospital opens in 1956 along with the new City Hall at its current location. In 1957, the city expands north, and the City annexes lands to include the University of Saskatchewan grounds in 1959. This same year Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute opens followed by Mount Royal Collegiate the next year.

“In 1960, the last steam-powered locomotive chuffed its way through Saskatoon. By the end of the decade, the electric trolley buses that had replaced the old streetcars were poised to also become things of the past…With the increasing number of automobiles, came an ever pressing need for more bridges and for a highway bypass system such as had been first proposed by Yorath in 1913. The original plan had been to build bridges on the north and south edges of the city, linked by the present-day Circle Drive. This project was shelved in favour of a down town re-vitalization plan that would see the southern leg of Circle Drive veer north along the old CNR right of way and cross into down town or what is not the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge.”O’Brien

A green belt for the city starts with Bert Wellman, Saskatoon Planning Department, who walked around Saskatoon’s perimeter choosing high spots of land for scenic beauty. Together with City Planner Bill Graham they worked on parkways and planted trees for the 1960 Circle Drive Parkway at these sites. There was a vision for a green city. As natural as a hound dog takes to a scent, so to was Wellman, a natural at envisioning the future of Saskatoon.

Following the second World War, William Eadington Graham, began his urban planner career in 1946 as Director of Planning for Armagh County in Northern Ireland. He then signed on with the City of Saskatoon in 1953 as the first Director of Planning before moving on to become the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver Bill Graham attended Durham University where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with Distinction in architecture followed by urban planning. W.E. Graham park in Nutana, Saskatoon was so designated in his honour.

So, Wellman, and Graham, decided that in 1960 the following lands should be purchased;
1. Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (City of Saskatoon Urban Regional Park) Parts Section 22 and SW 23 township 36 range 6 west of the third meridian. (East of the CN overpass on SK highway 7) SE 22 & SW 23-36-6 W3 under MVA conservation management.

2. Un-named City of Saskatoon Afforestation Area. Part south of CN Chappell yards SE section 23-36-6-W3 preserved as afforestation area in perpetuity, under MVA conservation management- west of SWOLRA and east of COC.

3. Part of NE 21-36-6 W3 (West of the CN overpass on SK Highway 7) was purchased by the City. (Formerly named George Genereux Urban Regional Park)

4. Land on the east of the river, south of the Diefenbaker park and west of the Saskatoon Golf Course were also afforested.

By 1963 Saskatchewan Technical Institute (Saskatchewan Institute of applied Science and Technology Kelsey Campus, and now named Sask Polytechnic)opens along with St. Paul’s Hospital and the Mendel Art Gallery. This year sees the very last passenger train through the Canadian National down town terminal.

The Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan (QLLS) railroad bridge 1890-1965
The Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan (QLLS) railroad bridge 1890-1965

In 1965, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan (QLLS) railroad bridge (built 1890) acquired by the CNR was leased to the CPR at the time of demolition. This wood trestle bed fell to ice build up four times during its history before being replaced by a steel bridge.

1966 Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge previously the Idylwyld Bridge
1966 Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge previously the Idylwyld Bridge
adapted from Image courtesy drm310 CC by 3.0

The Idylwild Bridge [sic first spelling] sod-turning ceremony occurs in 1965, and the Idylwyld Freeway opens in 1966. “The construction of the Idylwyld Freeway and removal of the rail yards from downtown was probably the crowning achievement of Mayor Sid Buckwold’s ten years in office.” Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge is the new name for the Idywyld Bride as of 2001.

The  CN train yards were moved from down town to land north of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and named Chappell Yards.

1966 sees the Forest Nursery Station become the Forestry Park and Zoo replacing the Golden Gate Animal Park on 33rs Street.

In 1968, the Centennial Auditorium opens (now named TCU place Arts and Convention Centre). The Midtown Plaza and CN tower becomes operational in 1970 featuring a front facade in the style of the 1910 Canadian National Railway Station.

Over the decades 1970 to 1988, 15 schools open.

1972 sees drought resistant trees, Scotch Pine, Caragana, White Spruce planted in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. In total 355 acres of afforestation areas were planted that year. In 1973, 355 additional acres are planted. Originally 2,300 acres were envisioned. 1972, A. L. Ligtemoet, Assistant Parks Superintendent sets before council that these first 660 acres of afforestation areas be kept in perpetuity. This same year the Western Development Museum moves from its location on 11th Street to the current location at the Exhibition grounds.

The very last electric trolley car runs through Saskatoon in 1974.

1978 Oct 19 Name “Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area” brought forward to city council; Dec 28, 1978 proposed that the area become a park; Jan 2, 1979, this is recommended by council. On September 4, 1979. the Meewasin Valley Authority was established. The designated names for the afforestation areas were brought forward to City Council on October 19, 1978, and on December 28, 1978, it was proposed before council that the area become a park. Then, on January 2, 17979 the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the George Genereux Urban Regional Park receive their names.

1983 sees the opening of the 42nd Street Bridge, the north end of Circle Drive is completed from Yorath’s vision.

1985 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is dedicated June 15.

The size of the city changed to accommodate the rise in population, in 1951 the city was 53,268 residents, and by 1986, the population grew to 177,641 growing 234% over 35 years.

City planners take into account factors such as Land use planning, Strategic urban planning, Regional planning, Heritage and conservation, Urban renewal, Master planning, Transportation planning, Economic development, Environmental planning, Urban design, and Infrastructure planning. The planner liasons with communities to develop wonderful urban spaces to live, work, and play in. Taking into account a complex overview of the city’s population, current infrastructure, and future needs, urban planners create visions making the best us of geographic land resources. A planner, alongside civic, education and community leaders build upon existing resources, and think analytically about what the various communities in the city are in need of to make them better place for the residents for both the short term and also for long term plans and goals.

“It can be awkward, going from a small city to a big city. And by the time we get done with the 30-year plans, we’re going to be a big city. We’re going to be half a million people,” said Allan Wallace, the city planner who followed in the footsteps of Bert Wellman. In his reminisced after his three decades on the job as director of planning and development at the City of Saskatoon Wallace stated that, “I think environmentally, we need to pull up our socks a little bit. We’re lagging behind in some respects. “Tank Lesley Anderson is the current Director of Planning and Development at City of Saskatoon with a Master’s Degree in Planning at Dalhousie University Richmond, BC., and her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Calgary.

“The primary goal of the City of Saskatoon planners is to build an increasingly sustainable community over time, with an enhanced quality of life, consistent with the vision and core strategies of the City’s Strategic Plan.”Planning Bert Wellman committed to riverbank protection put it into words thus; “the bottom line was that I’ve never wanted to have any other profession or live anywhere else and I will fight for what I believe in.”CIP

“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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
2015 City of Saskatoon Municipal Manual.

2014 City of Saskatoon Municipal Manual.

H.E. Wellman FCIP | CIP Canadian Institute of Planners. Shaping our Communities. Sustaining Canada’s Future. 2016.

Boundary Alteration. City of Saskatoon.

City of Saskatoon Expansion of City Limits City of Saskatoon.

Community Planner by Day, Video Spokesperson by Night? Urban Systems Community Planning. October 1, 2015.

Growth Plan Half a Million City of Saskatoon.

Gustafson, Glenn. Exploring the Wonder City. A historic driving tour of Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee. 2002.

History of Saskatoon. Wikipedia.

History City of Saskatoon.

O’Brien, Ruth W. Millar, William P. Delainey Saskatoon: A History of Photographs. Edition illustrated.
Publisher Coteau Books, 2007.
ISBN 1550503669, 9781550503661.

Photos: Aerial photos of Saskatoon over the years Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Photos Saskatoon Bridges over the years Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Planning. City of Saskatoon.

Planning Publications and Maps City of Saskatoon & Saskatoon CMA Population Projection 2012-2032. City of Saskatoon.

Shaping Saskatoon. _ Saskatoon Speaks City of Saskatoon.

Strategic Plan City of Saskatoon.

Tank, Phil. Outgoing city planner likens Saskatoon to ‘awkward’ adolescent. Saskatoon StarPhoenix. July 25, 2016.

Wellman, Bert Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Legacy.com.

William Eadington GRAHAM Bill Graham. Delta B.C. The Province. June 7, 2014.

52° 06′ 106° 45′

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Green Mansions of Saskatoon

“I became intoxicated with the beauty all around me, immersed in the joyousness and exultation of feeling part of it all….I had entered the temple of the woods. “Richard St. Barbe Baker.

The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

  The afforestation area formerly named George Genereux Park

We are growing to love the trees and forests as we turn more and more to outdoor life for recreation and sport, and finding them truly irreplaceable. In our ramblings along shady streets, through grassy parks, over wooded valleys, and in prairie wildernesses we find that much more than formerly we are asking ourselves what are these trees, what are the leaf, flower, twig, wood and habit characteristics which distinguish them from other trees; how large do they grow; under what conditions of soil and climate do they thrive best; what are their enemies and how can they be overcome; what is their protective value; are they useful for planting along streets and in parks and in regenerating forests; how can the trees of our afforestation area,  streets and lawns be preserved and repaired as they begin to fail from old age or other causes?

Trembling Aspen grove Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Trembling Aspen grove Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

In view of the growing taste for rural life, and of the multiplication of country residences in all parts of the province, especially in the vicinity of the cities and of the larger towns, this article will make a special feature of discussing the planning and planting of the afforestation areas of Saskatoon ~ The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the afforestation area formerly named George Genereux Park.. Historically, the City of Saskatoon parks department under the guidance of Bert Wellman, in their endeavor to assist the city in its desire to make the urban surroundings attractive and artistic.

Study of the flowering plants or Phanerogamia of the botanist. This classification includes:

  • Gymnosperms (Naked Seeds.)
    • Cycadaceae. (Palms, Ferns, etc.)
    • Gnetaceae. (Joint firs)
    • Conifers. Pines, first, etc.
  • Angiosperms (Fruits.)
    • Monocotyledons. (One seed-leaf.) (Palms, bamboos, grasses, etc.)
    • Dicotyledons. (Two seed -leaves.)
      • Herbs.
      • Broad-leaved trees.

Of fruit-bearing trees (angiosperms), there are two classes, those that have one seed-leaf as they germinate, and those that have two seed-leaves. are the needle-leaved trees or the conifers, including such trees as the pines, cedars, spruces, firs, etc. Under the fruit-bearing trees (angiosperms), are those that have two seed-leaves (the dicotyledons) and include the great mass of broad-leaved or deciduous trees such as chestnut, oak, ash and maple.

“Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your Teacher.”
—Wordsworth.

Exploring classifications, even further, they may be quite inaccurate etymologically speaking. Many of the so-called deciduous (Latin, deciduus, falling off) trees are actually evergreen, such those of other locales holly, live oak, magnolia and cherry. So, too, some of the alleged “evergreens,” like bald cypress and the tamarack or larch shed their leaves annually.

“I became intoxicated with the beauty all around me, immersed in the joyousness and exultation of feeling part of it all….I had entered the temple of the woods. “Richard St. Barbe Baker.

The pines belong to the coniferous class of trees; that is, trees which bear cones. The pines may be told from the other coniferous trees by their leaves, which are in the form of needles two inches or more in length. These needles keep green throughout the entire year. To classify pines one from the other examine the pine needl clusters. In the white pine there are five needles to each cluster, in the pitch pine three, and in the Scotch pine two. The Scotch pine needles are short compared with those of the white pine, and slightly twisted. The bark, especially along the upper portion of the trunk, is reddish in color. Overall, Scotch pine is a medium-sized tree with a short crown which grows best on a deep, rich, sandy soil, but will also grow on a dry, porous soil.

To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to. So it is with man.~Henry D. Thoreau

The spruces are pyramidal-shaped trees, with tall and tapering trunks, thickly covered with branches, forming a compact crown. They are widely distributed throughout the cold and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, where they often form thick forests over extended areas. The Colorado blue spruce ( Picea pungens) ommonly used in parks, can be told from the other spruces by its pale-blue or sage-green color and its sharp-pointed, coarse-feeling twigs. Its small size and sharp-pointed conical form are also characteristic.

The blue sky, the brown soil beneath, the grass, the trees, the animals, the wind, and rain, and stars are never strange to me; for I am in and of and am one with them; and my flesh and the soil are one, and the heat in my blood and in the sunshine are one, and the winds and the tempests and my passions are one. ~ W.H. Hudson

American Elm (Ulmus americana) can be told at a glance by its general branching habit. The limbs arch out into a wide-spreading fan or vase-like crown which loses itself in numerous fine drooping branchlets. The elm prefers a deep, rich and moist soil, but will adapt itself even to the poor soil of the city street.

We do not realize how far and widely, or how near and narrowly, we are to look. The greater part of the phenomena of Nature are for this reason concealed from us all our lives. The gardener sees only the gardener’s garden. Nature does not cast pearls before swine. There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate,—not a grain more. We cannot see anything until we are possessed with the idea of it, take it into our heads,—and then we can hardly see anything else. This is the history of my finding a score or more of rare plants, which I could name. A man sees only what concerns him. A botanist absorbed in the study of grasses does not distinguish the grandest Pasture Oaks. How much more, then, it requires different intentions of the eye and of the mind to attend to different departments of knowledge! How differently the poet and the naturalist look at objects! ~Henry D. Thoreau

The quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides),  and the black or balsam poplar also known as the balm of Gilead (Populus balsamifera) are other common members of the poplar group. The quaking aspen may be told by its reddish-brown twigs, narrow sharp-pointed buds, and by its small finely toothed leaves. The large-toothed aspen has thicker and rather downy buds and broader and more widely toothed leaves. The balsam poplar has a large bud thickly covered with a sticky, pungent, gelatinous substance. Its flowers, in the form of large catkins, a peculiarity of all poplars, appear in the early spring.

Some of the Fine Arts appeal to the ear, others to the eye. There is the art whose purpose it is to create beautiful compositions upon the surface of the ground. No replacement can be found for this artform, for it is as fine as the finest, and which demands as much of its professors in the way of creative power and executive skill as the most difficult. The parks department, herein referred to as The more perfectly the artist attains his aim, the more likely we are to forget that he has been at work. the landscape artist uses the same materials as nature herself. In what is called “natural” gardening it uses them to produce effects which under fortunate conditions nature might produce without man’s aid.

Glad at having discovered the existence of this forest so near home, and wondering why my urban friends had never taken me to it nor ever went out on that side, I set forth with a light heart to explore it for myself. What a wild beauty and fragrance and melodiousness it possessed above all forests, because of that mystery that drew me to it! And it was mine, truly and absolutely—as much mine as any portion of earth’s surface could belong to any man—mine with all its products: the precious woods and fruits and fragrant gums that would never be bought nor sold; its wild animals that man would never persecute; ~ W.H. Hudson

Again, the landscape-gardener’s art differs from all others in the unstable character of its productions. When surfaces are modeled and plants arranged, nature and the artist must work a long time together before the true result appears; and when once it has revealed itself, day to day attention will be forever needed to preserve it from the deforming effects of time. It is easy to see how often neglect or interference must work havoc with the best intentions, how often the passage of years must travesty or destroy the best results, how rare must be the cases in which a work of landscape art really does justice to its creator.

See for yourself, explore the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the afforestation area formerly named George Genereux Park.  See the afforestation areas as a naturalist, as an entymologist, bicycle rider, as a botanist, dog walker, a geologist, or an ornithologist.  How does your viewpoint of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the afforestation area formerly named George Genereux Park change with each hat that is worn?

And caring not in that solitude to disguise my feelings from myself, and from the wide heaven that looked down and saw me—for this is the sweetest thing that solitude has for us, that we are free in it, and no convention holds us—I dropped on my knees and kissed the prairie ground, then casting up my eyes, thanked the Author of my being for the gift of that wild forest, those green mansions where I had found so great a happiness! ~W.H. Hudson

52° 06′ 106° 45′

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 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 OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker