“Of the earth’s thirty billion acres, already nine billion acres are desert. And if a man loses a third of his skin, he dies; plastic surgeons say “He’s had it.” And if a tree loses one-third of its bark, it dies. And if the earth loses one-third of its green mantle of trees, it will die. The water table will sink beyond recall and life on this planet will become impossible. It’s being skinned alive today. . .” Richard St. Barbe Baker
Dr. Richard St. Barbe Baker, L.L.D., O.B.E.
Photo credit: University of Saskatchewan
University Archives and Special Collections
Richard St. Barbe Baker Fonds, MG 71
“The world is so full of care and sorrow that it is a gracious debt we owe to one another to discover the bright crystals of delight hidden in somber circumstances and irksome tasks” ~ Helen Keller quotes
What was the task which befell St. Barbe? “Baker believed in the value of planting trees.” ~Mike Was this task was it irksome to Baker? What did he feel as he wrote over 23 books promoting the value of trees? Following his task alone with passion guided him on his solitary journey. Why did he do it?
In 1924, St. Barbe established the international organisation ~ Men of the Trees ~ (now called the International Tree Foundation ITF. This was followed by the international group: Children of the Green Earth and the Green Front Action Group.
“…I seemed to have entered the fairyland of my dreams. I wandered on as in a dream, all sense of time and space lost…buoyed up with an almost ethereal feeling of well-being, as if I had been detached from earth. I became intoxicated with the beauty around me, immersed in the joyousness and exaltation of feeling part of it all… Rays of light pierced the canopy of the forest… I had entered the temple of the woods. I sank to the ground in a state of ecstasy; everything was intensely vivid… The overpowering beauty of it all entered my very being. At that moment my heart brimmed over with a sense of unspeakable thankfulness which has followed me through the years since that woodland rebirth.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker
The International Tree Foundation set out three tasks for the forest scouts (originally called Watu wa Miti meaning Men of the Trees:
1./ To plant ten trees each year
2./ To do a good deed ever day
3./ To take care of trees everywhere
Were these tasks irksome to the forest scouts? They recognized the importance and value of the forest, and their tasks. Tree planting ceremonies, greenhouses,and deeds which saved life and property grew from this humble beginning.
During the 1930s, St. Barbe met with President Roosevelt and they started the Civil Conservation Corp to save the California Redwoods. St. Barbe then formulated three new tasks. They were;
“1./ To save the trees for posterity.
2./ To provide a magnificent backdrop where young people could meet and marvel at the beauty of the Redwoods and the planet
3./ To inspire young people to work together to hand over this legacy to future generations.
“Of course it is difficult to agree that the death of St Barbe counts for nothing. He was a unique figure whom we shall never replace. Nevertheless I feel sure that in death, as in life, he will continue to teach and to inspire us. It is up to us, his disciples and his friends, to celebrate the life and work of Richard St. Barbe Baker. It is up to us too, to carry on the fight – as tirelessly as he did in the past; to assure that his vision is realised and that his ideas live forever.” ~Goldsmith
Goldsmith, Edward. Richard St. Barbe Baker. July 1, 1982.
Mike B is for Richard St. Barbe Baker: A Life Planting Trees May 21st in Choosing To Build A Positive Planet.The Postive Encourager.
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
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, SK, CA. 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)” .