Did you know that Richard St. Barbe Baker, the namesake of the afforestation area, had a unique relationship with the indigenous of Kenya Africa, the Kikuyu and with the Dakota First Nations people here in Saskatchewan? Learn more about this relationship in the upcoming film on Friday July 22 at the Remai Modern at 7:00 pm, and in the accompanying Richard St. Barbe Baker Stories.
The namesake of the wetlands, Benjamin Thomas Chappell, similarly had a connection that ran deep between his life and those he met who were indigenous. So much so, that before Chappell left Saskatchewan, three Chiefs bestowed Chappell as a Chief during an Indigenous naming ceremony. B.T. Chappell became known as Chief Ironhorse.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” Baba Dioum. The afforestation areas were preserved in perpetuity in 1972 by city council The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. is a non-profit incorporation formed with a mission to honour the council decision of 1972, and to continue onwards to conserve the Saskatoon afforestation areas which we love.
We believe in the spirit of Witaskêwin, living together on the land. We believe this project can be part of an effective long-term strategy to focus our vision on this ideal. In a significant way this project allows the past to meet the present and future. The rich geological, historical, natural, and cultural heritage of the areas honours where we have been. Science, conservation, and hands on learning about the land, the environment and sustainability ensure our future.
Mamahtâwisowin-“Someone who is gifted with mamahtâwisowin is generally recognized as having spirit guides that can be called upon for a variety of reasons. Ones who have this gift can sometimes alter the natural order: conduct healing, find lost objects, foretell the future, travel through time and space, communicate with animals and other spirits, find game, and control physical and natural elements like the weather, just to name a few abilities.” says Napoleon Arthur. This is also Indigenous Ways of Knowing. The gift of mamahtâwisowin has different terms or naming in other languages and other cultures. The word for a person bestowed with the gift of mamahtâwisowin in nêhiyawak (Plains Cree) is “kîkway kâ kiskihta.” Similarly those of other cultures and languages have their own naming for people who are kîkway kâ kiskihta. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) stems from the gift of mamahtâwisowin and those named as kîkway kâ kiskihta.
The International Olympic Committee [IOC] declared June 23 as “Olympic Day”- with three pillars to celebrate Move, Learn and Discover. The Olympic Values support excellence, friendship and respect. Interestingly, the Olympic Pillar of learning supports environmental protection, peace building and local community development echoed by the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
Learn more about Canada’s only Gold Olympic Medalist at the 1952 Olympiad, George Genereux on Sun, 24 July 2022 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CST at George Genereux Urban Regional Park, Saskatoon. An Eco-Heritage Tour event.
Discover why 148 acres of mixed woods semi-wilderness habitat are named after Dr. Genereux. Come out and celebrate the 50th anniversary 1972-2022 of these greenspaces planted to trees under the Green Survival Program. Commemorate the 70th anniversary 1952-2022 of George Genereux’s life altering moment at the Helsinki Olympics.
A celebration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being, UN SDG 15 Life on Land, UN SDG 13 Climate Action and UN SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The 132 hectare (326 acre) Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (within which is the South West Off Leash Recreation Area and the 60 hectare (148 acre) George Genereux Urban Regional Park might become part of the Blairmore Sector Plan. Find out what that means for these areas! What are the implications?
With your input into the questionnaire the afforestation areas could be added into the Blairmore Sector – hence the name Blairmore Sector Plan Amendment.
In the engage section there is the opportunity for you to write out what you think about Blairmore Sector Plan Amendment. NOTE and REMEMBER This webpage link will only by online until Friday July 8, so the time is now to check it out!
NOTE: There is a short amount of time to engage and complete the online survey to provide concerns and suggestions to the City of Saskatoon Blairmore Sector Plan Amendment! The deadline is Friday July 8. Remember, this is your opportunity to make your voice count to add the afforestation areas to the Blairmore Sector Plan. When you take the time to provide feedback then there may be additional opportunities for another time to provide concerns and suggestions. The City of Saskatoon may consider the opportunity to continue the dialogue with the general public and make another public engagement offer after the summer.
What is your level of interest in two urban regional parks as the City of Saskatoon expands opening its doors to another 70,000 residents? What do you think about the expansion of the Blairmore Sector Plan? What is your level of interest in two semi-wilderness areas homes to species at risk? What do you think about Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park? Do you think that these two afforestation areas should be added to the Blaimore Sector? Do you like the recommendations? Do you have more suggestions? What do you see for opportunities and potential?
What is your level of interest as the deadline is Friday July 8?
Two great events to celebrate the environment, nature and the ecosystem.
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, June 5, 2022 taking place at 2:00 pm on the University of Saskatchewan campus near the Diefenbaker Centre.🌳🌲🌳🌲
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, 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.😃😃😃🌳🌲😃😃😃🌳🌲🌳🌲😃😃😃
The 50th anniversary of World Environment Day June 5, 2022 Only One Earth!
The celebration continues into Canada Environment Week with the two local Northern Prairie City challenge.
BioDiverCity Challenge Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan. Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12 Northern Prairies Challenge Sign up for BioBlitzes at the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas! Explore nature anywhere in Saskatoon and Area or in Saskatchewan with the free iNaturalist app. Explore Nature with a purpose! Support Global Conservation during Canada Environment Week
During Canada Environment Week
In love with Saskatoon and area’s incredible nature?
In love with the province’s ecosystems?
Download the free iNaturalist app
What will you discover?
Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12
BioDiverCity Challenge a challenge between Northern Prairie Cities!
Thank you to everyone who went outside in Nature between April 29 – May 2 for the #CNC2022! This was a great undertaking to join the International initiative to collect information about the wildlife flourishing in Saskatoon and area. It was the very first year for the City Nature Challenge Saskatoon and Area.
Send in your cool/unusual/rare sightings!
New finds! Species that haven’t been recorded in particular areas before. Important finds of rare/endangered/threatened species. Observations that have a great story that go along with them. Really cool photos. Fun finds!
Send your photos of yourself, your friends or your family taking images in nature with iNaturalist! firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, one can always use the iNaturalist app, or eBird to document nature and help conservation efforts even now that the City Nature Challenge is over.
Researchers, school groups, citizens and wildlife enthusiasts across the world did indeed tak part in this race against the clock to put nature on the map, submitting photos and observations of wildlife in their neighbourhoods and greenspaces through the free, easy to use iNaturalist smart phone app.
By observing local nature, everyone can support vital conservation research while connecting with nature and enjoying the outdoors.
Whether you are an expert, a seasoned #BioBlitz participant or getting involved for the first time, it couldn’t be easier to join in.
Simply download the iNaturalist app, take a photograph of nature in your local area – whether that’s a tree, plant or insect or animal – and upload. You don’t even have to know anything about the species you are observing. Teams of experts will be reviewing and updating the information that’s submitted, so you can log back in later and learn more about what you’ve spotted.
Help put the City of Saskatoon on the world nature scene! Using iNaturalist take photos of plants, animals, insects and mushrooms between April 29 – May 2, 2022! Saskatoon will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help.
Saskatoon and area will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help. The goals are to engage the public in the collection of biodiversity data, with three awards each year for the cities and areas that 1/ makes the most observations, 2/ find the most species, and 3/ engage the most people. We’re so excited to have this fun friendly competition with a chance to place Saskatoon and Area on the World Stage for the City Nature Challenge 2022! #CNCYXE
Get all your observations uploaded and work on identifying: May 3 – 8 • Results announced: May 9
This is the first year Saskatoon and Area has taken part in the City Nature Challenge Worldwide event. We need your help!
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. ”
Who is Jane Jacobs, and what does she have to do with the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park in Saskatoon?
It’s a WILD Spring Thing! American Red Squirrel Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
On Sunday, May 8 at 2:00 p.m. come and discover the wildwoods of Saskatoon at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.
A WILD Spring Fling! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Spring time
Come and Discover the Wildwoods of Saskatoon at George Genereux Urban Regional Park. Sat May 7 at 2:00 pm
“The aim of the Men of the Trees is briefly ‘ to develop a tree sense in every citizen, and to encourage all to plant, protect and love their native trees; for forestry is among the oldest and most honourable of the peaceful arts of men, and in its practice is unselfish and constructive service.’ ”
In the words of Henry van Dyke, America’s greatest tree poet,
He that planteth a tree is a servant of God;
He provideth a kindness for many generations
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.”
Richard St. Barbe Baker
Celebrate 50 years! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional park were planted to trees in 1972, 50 years ago. Come out and say Happy Birthday!
Anyone at all can help with identifications, and help flip unknowns! You don’t even have to know anything about the species. Teams of experts will be reviewing and updating the information that’s submitted, so you can log back in later and learn more about what you’ve been working on. You get out of iNaturalist what you put into it!
So it is just fine if you just stay with the larger taxon unit, and suggest that the observation looks like an elephant, deer, rhinoceros, butterfly, flowering plant, ant, spider, and just let the specialist scientists do the rest. There are extra points in Saskatchewan for anyone who discovers the elephant and rhinoceros in the Saskatchewan observations though 😉
We look forward to you coming on by! The City Nature Challenge runs between April 29 to May 2 Saskatoon and area will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help. The goals are to engage the public in the collection of biodiversity data, with three awards each year for the cities and areas that 1/ makes the most observations, 2/ find the most species, and 3/ engage the most people. We’re so excited to have this fun friendly competition with a chance to place Saskatoon and Area on the World Stage for the City Nature Challenge 2022! #CNCYXE People going out during their baseball games, and finding ladybugs on their iNaturalist app, or taking photos through iNaturlist of ants while watching soccer games is wonderful! What about the dog walk, what plants and animals will FIDO sniff at? With iNaturalist loaded onto your smart phone, you can find the names of these plants and animals, insects and mushrooms. Help your students and sons, and daughters discover the names of What is it?
These identification parties are wonderful tools to “find the most species.” So thanks for coming along.