Values of the Afforestation Areas

The values of the Afforestation Areas. Are there social, environmental, cultural, recreational, scenic values of trees?


The following is a partial listing of the values of the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Is there, indeed, some value in the afforestation areas?

  • Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
  • Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO  money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
  • Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated for the afforestation areas.
  • The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank,  they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
  • The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
  • There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requiring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344.  If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consequences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station.  There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards.  However, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.

Is it really true that nothing can be done?

As has been determined, the MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon. City of Saskatoon long range planners have no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon, either, as there is NO money for the afforestation areas.  What exactly are long range plans for the afforestation areas as Saskatoon’s population grows to just over 380,000 by 2035, and as the Saskatoon census metropolitan area is forecasted to reach a population of 448,985, the afforestation areas, around 380 hectares of land?  Is there something for everybody?  No. Read the following list of values of the Afforestation Area for more information.

380 hectares of land should provide the opportunities for the long range planners City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority to allocate  a naturalized areas for the population of the city.  Though our children will see the city rise to about 1/2 million by 2015, there no plans for these afforestation areas whatsoever. There is absolutely no way to protect the afforestation areas so that our grandchildren may still see a frog, a deer, or other creature inside city limits within the wildlife habitat corridor of afforestation areas. There is no safeguard on the wetlands, which the afforestation areas exist in, at all.

The  city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.

If you can think of anymore values for the afforestation areas, please comment.

Please, if you have any values which you personally treasure about the afforestation areas, again it would be fantastic to hear your comment.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada?

Some Values of the Afforestation Areas:

    1. The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area has as its namesake, Dr. Richard Edward St. Barbe Baker, O.B.E., Hon. LL.D. (Sask), F.I.A.L., For.Dip.Cantab., A.C.F. (9 October 1889 – 9 June 1982) silviculturist, environmental activist, humanitarian and author who founded the International Tree Foundation and Children of the Green Earth. “A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service.” Henry David Thoreau
    2. George Patrick Genereux, B.A., MD, CM (March 1, 1935 – April 10, 1989) was a 1952 Summer Olympics Canadian Gold medal-winning trap shooter, recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy and the Viscount Alexander Trophy, inducted into the Canada, and Saskatchewan and Saskatoon’s Sports Hall of Fame and physician. “When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual.”. Erica Jong
    1. Afforestation areas located in the West Swale, of a valuable geological heritage as the West Swale has its origins in the Yorath Island Spillway of the Pleistocene era.
    1. Afforestation areas provide a mixed deciduous and coniferous forest in the midst of an aspen parkland ecosystem, providing a unique setting for visitors. One does not have to drive north to the Prince Albert National Park to be in a mixed woodlands forest setting, it is in the city of Saskatoon.
    1. The mature riparian afforested woodlands situated in a wetlands setting provides the opportunity to observe and view a variety of flora and fauna, very unique to see the diversity of animals especially as Saskatoon grows to just over 380,000 by 2035.
    2. In 1972, Manchurian Elm Ulmus laciniata, and American Elm Ulmus americana were afforested, along with hardy drought resistant tree species such as Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens, Balsam-poplar Populus balsamifera, Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris L., Caragana Caragana arborescens. If Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Manitoba Maple Acer negundo or Willow Salix were planted, there was not a large survival rate of these in the afforestation area. Native prairie Trembling Aspen Groves Populus tremuloides, Buffaloberry Shepherdia argentea and snowberry Symphoricarpo are emerging within the afforested woodlands. It is also intriguing to note that there is one native crabapple perhaps Malus baccata, the Siberian crab apple, honeysuckle Lonicera dioica and a few golden elders Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea.’ in the afforestation area It is not believed that these were afforested, and there is no evidence of homesteading in the area, so from whence did they arrive to the RSBBAA? It is one of those naturalists type of questions when observing nature in the RSBBAA.
    3. As the afforestation areas were planted with fire breaks, and purchased in 1960, there are definitely areas of native grasslands which have been preserved for 58 years without disturbance.
    4. Woodlands not only enhance the wildlife habitat corridor, they provide a windbreak, and scenic setting for recreation, in an expanding urban environment, the larger Saskatoon census metropolitan area is forecasted to reach a population of about 450,000 by 2035.
    5. The afforestation areas absorb noise, dust, carbon dioxide, and greenhouse gases.
    6. The afforestation area enhances the City of Saskatoon’s green belt created by Bert Wellman and Bill Graham
    7. The afforestation area also happen to provide screening of the train yards for those driving Township Road 362A or enjoying the south west area past Saskatoon.
    8. Oxygen is released, enriching the general sense of well-being in humans, and also to wildlife in a protected area in the city limits. They help us breath, and the woodlands are the best source of great air quality.
    9. The afforestation woodlands, and wetlands naturalized area provides the opportunity for Truth and Reconciliation. What would reconciliation look like in the afforestation areas? “The current state of water in and around many First Nations communities is stressing the special relationship that many First Nations people have with water. This relationship is characterized by unique ways of knowing that water and using water for ceremonial purposes. For example, Mushkegowuk Elders of the James Bay Cree Nation describe water as a “mirror [of] the climate or mood that we, as human beings, are in” (Lavalley, 2006: 8). Another elder from the Haudenonsaunee Iroquois Nation points out that water is a living entity. Avoiding degradation of water includes changing the way water is perceived (emphasis added, Lavalley, 2006: 9). First Nations’ special relationship with water exists in the laws as well. Oji-Cree Elders state: “A treaty was negotiated and concluded by our ancestors to last forever for ‘as long as the rivers flow.’ Water signifies the everlastingness of this treaty relationship. The inherent right to water was never surrendered in the treaty. The Crown recognized that we would continue to exercise our inherent right to water without interference or molestation…the settler population’s government must be reminded of their treaty obligations” (in Lavalley, 2006: 34). “{source} Wetlands are wonderful, îhkatwâwa kihcîtâkwana. {source}
      It is a tragedy that “provincial cuts, downloading costs Saskatoon $59M” for without funds how can the City of Saskatoon place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve and have the capacity to provide funding for the wetlands and water of the afforestation areas. (CBC News 2017) “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says a surprise provincial budget cut could cost the city more than $10 million and create a “fiscal crisis” in 2017. ” (Bridges, 2017) The afforestation areas are not a part of municipal reserve and do not belong to the City of Saskatoon park space. Rather the afforestation areas are just lands held in the City land bank. As such, there is no money available which can be allocated to the afforestation areas for any purpose.
    10. Menoyawenek, “the Cree word that most closely represents ‘health’ is menoyawenek. Meno translates into ‘good’ or ‘well’ while yawenek means ‘living’, ‘alive’ or ‘being’. As a consequence, menoyawenek has been translated into ‘a good way of living’. Notably, menoyawenek does more than merely describe health in terms of the absence of disease but rather embodies an overall sense of leading a good life in all aspects….interactions with the natural environment through the practice of traditional harvesting activities, along with language, contribute to well-being.”{Source} Combining the existant ecology and further afforesting of the afforestation areas with the drive of the Saskatoon Food Forest Initiative would be one method to honour Truth and Reconciliation. “A report by the City of Saskatoon says provincial downloading and cuts will have ‘substantial financial implications’ for Saskatchewan’s biggest city”(CBC news, 2017)
      The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve, nor are they a part of City park space, which would be the means to allocate money for these urban regional parks by the various city departments. The “Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23, 2017) Similarly, the MVA’s shortage of finances has limited the capacity of this environmental conservation agency.
    11. A statue, or commemorative naming in tribute of Missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) would provide distinction and recognition in the reconciliation process. It is truly unfortunate that a tragedy in the area (not a car accident) is currently marked by a nearby roadside shrine. The existing shrine of flowers located on Township Road 362A is dedicated by family and friends who loved the fallen victim of tragic circumstance.
      A shortage of $400K to the Meewasin Valley authority resulted in “a major hit for Meewasin. We knew there would be likely some reduction. We certainly hadn’t planned for something like this,” according to MVA CEO Lloyd Isaak.(Menz, 2017)     What did the provincial funding cuts mean for the city? “This is an $11.4-million hole in our operating budget for providing core services to citizens,” said City of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.(Bridges, 2017) There are no short term plans by the City long range planners to place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve nor into park space inventory. As the afforestation lands are part of the City of Saskatoon “land bank” the various city departments are allocated no portion of city funds for the afforestation areas, the city funds which are short $11.4 million dollars.
    12. The area is flat – a flood plain for all intensive purposes – so there is great value for use by many diverse users, the bicycle group, cross country skiers, the disabled, snowshoers, walkers and hikers who wish a walk without hills. The city riverbank trails are absolutely fantastic, however the disabled person, has a grasslands experience on the upper plains, as the river bank hills are not easy to navigate by walker, or wheelchair. A flat forest such as the afforestation areas, affords the disabled an experience in a forest setting which is not available in any other city green spaces.
      “Councillors spent hours brainstorming ways the city can cover the $11.4 million yearly revenue loss.” (Wilson, 2017) The city of Saskatoon has retained the afforestation areas in land bank, and there are no immediate plans to move them into municipal reserve or into city parks space. How can they, when they are suffering from an $11.4 yearly revenue loss?
      What are the ripple effects of the “Meewasin Valley Authority losing nearly half its provincial funding?” (Shields, 2017) The MVA is without funding for the afforestation areas.
    13. During these times of climate change, woodlands absorb CO2, mitigating global warming. Saskatoon has the unique heritage distinction of being one of the very first cities with an afforestation area started in 1972, Saskatoon, pioneer in the reduction of the projected climate change
    14. Saskatchewan cycles through years of high water tables, flooding and drought. Forests influence local weather patterns, and create individualized micro-climates. As Richard St. Barbe Baker knew when he reclaimed arable land from the Sahara Desert project, trees make it rain.  “My answer to this is: enlist the whole population to restore tree cover until they have a 33.3 per cent tree Cover. They would thus be fighting shoulder to shoulder on the green front as they are doing in the Sahara desert today to grow food for their people. We have heard this evening about the Sahara and I would like to say one word about this. These countries had fought for their freedom from colonialism and sometimes amongst themselves. They are coming together to reclaim 2 million sq. miles of this world’s most famous desert. “~Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech 1980”
    15. Tree roots, themselves are powerful systems. They absorb the devastating effects of flooding reducing loss of soil and reducing property damage. “ I believe that the minimum tree cover for safety is l/3rd of the total land area of every country. Every catchment area should have at least this proportion of tree cover made of mixed species including the broad leaved trees -mono culture in any form is injurious to the land, especially mono-cultivated coniferous woods, because the roots compete underground, of course. If you study the profile of a soil, the first roots may go down together and compete with each other. The hair roots of every tree are changed with acid sheath and this acid sheath is there to help the tree melt the rock, so that the root can go through the rock. You have seen a root go right down through the rock and continue growing at the other end, the bottom of the rock. Nature has provided this acid so that the roots can melt rock and get a hold and cling and split the rock. It is amazing that the power of a small root when it starts to grow, it can crack a rock, and just imagine, all these conifers planted at equidistant of the same age with roots competing at the same level.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980
    16. Trees act on the aquifer systems below the soil surface. “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 Land of Tone 1954
    17. The afforestation areas are testaments to the history of Saskatoon, as they acted ahead of their time, planting trees. Afforestation areas are known to address the environmental issues of the world, and as such, Saskatoon has acted as a pioneer in the “Green Survival” campaign of 1972. “Let TAWAMHWE-pull together-be our motto and I pray that we may give our active support to all efforts of desert reclamation by tree planting and I pray that I may be just to the Earth below my feet, to my neighbour by my side and to the light which comes from above and within, and this wonderful world of ours may be a little more beautiful and happy for my having lived in it.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980.
      Though the afforestation areas are a true testament to Saskatoon’s heritage, and champion the city as a true pioneer in climate change mitigation, the afforestation areas are not a part of municipal reserve, the afforestation lands belong to the City land bank and are not City park space. “Saskatoon facing ‘immediate fiscal crisis’” says Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.(Giles, March 23, 2017) There are no immediate plans to place the afforestation areas, and the attendant wetlands into municipal reserve where funding could be allocated through the various city departments, however in the face of the fiscal crisis, there is no immediate plans to change the status quo of the afforestation areas, and they will remain in the city of Saskatoon “land bank” and not be a part of City park space Former Mayor Brad Wall mentioned on facebook that  “We [the provincial government] think it is fair they [the city of Saskatoon] use some of their reserves or perhaps reconsider spending decisions, rather than a court injunction or an increase in local taxes.”(CBC News, March 23, 2017) The drastic shortage in finances has left the afforestation areas in limbo. They are not municipal reserve. They are not City of Saskatoon park space, the afforestation areas ‘preserved in perpetuity by city council (1979) belong to “land bank.” “Informally, the City of Saskatoon has been buying, developing and selling land since the 1920s. The City formally established the Land Bank in 1954 to acquire land for future development.”(City of Saskatoon About us)
    18. The wetlands located here are one of the only sites in Saskatchewan to view the ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis. The wetlands possess the capacity to provide foraging, and breeding grounds for many other species, Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias, Canada goose Branta canadensis, Black Crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, a plethora of waterfowl and migrating birds. The site provides an amazing opportunity for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts to connect to nature outdoors.  Though there are activity restriction guidelines by the Government of Saskatchewan for nesting colonies of colonial nesting birds, there is no funding for the afforestation areas.
      As the afforestation areas are not declared as municipal reserves, nor are they a part of the City of Saskatoon park inventory, there is therefore no funding available for the afforestation areas. Though these birds have been sighted at the Chappell Marsh wetlands, to date, there has been no investigation into whether or not nesting colonies exist in the wetlands.  AS $11.4 million dollars in funding to the City of Saskatoon has been drastically cut by the provincial government, there is no foreseeable plan to place the afforestation areas into municipal reserve. “This leaves a significant hole in our operating budget,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.(Saskatoon, March 2017)
      The MVA, has no funding capabilities, either. “The provincial budget has slashed funding for a conservation group dedicated to protecting the South Saskatchewan River.
      The Saskatchewan Party has cut $409,000 from the Meewasin Valley Authority, roughly half of the province’s annual contribution of $909,000.” (CBC News, 2017)

      I believe, therefore, that water must be a basic consideration in all our national and earth wide forest programmes. Streams and rivers must be restored to their natural motion and thus floods and droughts must be eliminated. Forests and woodlands are intimately linked with biological, social and spiritual well-being.” Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980

    1. The afforestation area situated in the West Swale wetlands provides a naturalized area enhancing wilderness tourism, and as such is an advocate for environmental, social, and economic wilderness tourism. As such, the West Swale wetlands provide recreational and aesthetic appreciation of a permanent wetlands in the case of “Chappell Marsh”.  It is hard to comprehend, however, the entirety of the afforestation areas are located in a wetlands area according to botanists, though the permanent wetlands area are only “Chappell Marsh.”
      Though the opportunity arises for a naturalized area, there are no immediate plans to place the afforestation area into municipal urban reserve nor into City Park Space as requested April 25, 2016 by former councillor Pat Lorje, so there is no opportunity for funding provided to the afforestation areas, the Blairmore sector urban regional parks by the City of Saskatoon.  So the afforestation area urban regional parks are parks in naming title only, they do NOT belong to City of Saskatoon park space, the afforestation areas belong to Saskatoon Land Bank. “Provincial cuts this year combined with direct and indirect downloading of costs adds up to nearly $59 million…Mike Jordan, the City of Saskatoon’s director of government relations, said those costs have “substantial financial implications.”” (CBC News, April 10, 2017)For the areas managed by the MVA, the MVA is in a similar pickle, with funding being cut off to this environmental conservation agency. The MVA “lost $400,000 in funding” (SUMA 2017)
    1. The wetlands, themselves operate similar to a sponge, mitigating flooding controlling flow to the South Saskatchewan River near Yorath Island, soaking up rainfall, and releasing the moisture over time playing a vital role in the hydro-logic cycle. Wetlands also act as sustainable carbon “sinks” playing a vital role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere slowing climate change. This role of a healthy wetlands, provides huge economic benefits as they already exist, without charge, as an ecosystem service to remove water pollutants, store floodwaters, and sequester carbon.Wetlands also act as amazing biogeochemical cycling ecosystems removing and transforming nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous from surface water. Wetlands function as amazing systems protecting and improving water quality while recharging groundwater supply.
      As the afforestation areas are not a part of municipal urban reserve, there can be allocated no funding by any City programme.  As such, there is no money to clean up the George Genereux urban regional park which is located in the West Swale wetlands which is covered in trash at all of the entrances.  Nor is there any money for the Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area to ensure that ATVs and 4x4s cannot drive through these urban regional parks.  There are no signs up announcing that the afforestation areas are urban regional parks, so therefore the lands appear to be vacant crown lands which under regulations are permissible for ATVs and 4x4s to drive in.  The afforestation areas are not covered by any funding as is the case of municipal reserves, so therefore there is no capability to provide the urban regional parks with any signs identifying the afforestation areas as urban regional parks.
      “Fairness is the key and whatever we present to government will be looking at fairness and sharing the pain.” spoke Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer “Fairness is exactly what the mayors of the province’s two largest cities say they are also looking for. Those cities are still receiving significantly less money. “(Fraser, 2017) The City of Saskatoon report “states provincial cuts this year combined with direct and indirect downloading of costs adds up to nearly $59 million.”(CBC News, April 10, 2017)
      “The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) lost $409,000 from the provincial Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. “(Levy, 2017) The ripple effect of the provincial cuts has come to the afforestation areas. The Meewasin Valley Authority is a conservation organization created by the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan in Canada and is dedicated to conserving the cultural and natural resources of the South Saskatchewan River Valley. Though the wetlands are invaluable resource as biogeochemical cycling ecosystems there can be no money to prevent illegal trespass, nor erect signs which may mitigate illegal trash dumping, there are no funds available.

    I believe that water must be the basic consideration in all our national and earth- wide forest programmes. Streams and rivers must be returned to their natural motion. What is a natural motion? A river flowing in its natural course comes to a bend. This gives it a spiral motion. It comes to a marrow, this provides tension. It broadens out, here is relaxation. This is how blood circulates in our veins and the sap circulates in a tree. This is the natural motion. When you destroy this natural motion, the water goes on its way sick or cancerous. When water comes up against a dam, the natural motion is destroyed and the water becomes sick. This sickness spreads up to the tributary rivers and to the fields through which these rivers have come and the sickness will go to the fields bordering these rivers and will affect the grazing animals. They say that cancer is a disease of civilization. You will accept that, won’t you? It was unknown till we called ourselves civilized.”Richard St. Barbe Baker Friends of the Trees Speech, 1980

    1. By providing a natural habitat for birds, wetlands help to control pests. It is amazing the numbers of leaf eating insects which birds help to control.
        1. As can be seen by the superb educational tours by Ducks Unlimited in the neighbouring Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, Chappell Marsh provides an amazing opportunity for education, scientific research, and education of youth and visitors on biodiversity in support of  Ducks Unlimited work.
          However, as there are not any short term plans to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, there is no money for any type of program of any sort by the City of Saskatoon.  “The loss of the grants will leave the city $8.3 million short in its 2017 budget and $11.4 million short each year that follows.”(CBC News, March 27, 2017)
          The MVA is likewise strapped for cash, and there are no short term plans advanced by the MVA for any programming in their controlled lands in the afforestation areas. MVA CEO Lloyd Isaak “said the board is already looking towards how the organization can remain fiscally sound. ‘We’re going to be working with our board and our stakeholders to determine how to position Meewasin so that we have fiscal stability in the future,” he said. “But pulling out the provincial funding would have profound impacts on Meewasin as we know it.'” (Shields, 2017)
        2. The afforestation area has the potential to provide futherance to the very large design of the Fatlanders Fat Tire Bike Brigade (FFTB) trails which are groomed for the winter sport of Fat Bicycling. The City of Saskatoon and the MVA have both announced that they have no money and that providing any welcome to the general public in the form of signage is out of the question as the afforestation area is most definitely not part of Municipal Urban Reserve and there is no plan to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve in the short term due to the absolute shortage in money for the city and the MVA also concurs, as they, too also lament their absolute dire lack of funds. Because the hands are tied by the City and MVA financial woes, the FFTB private club have to date received carte blanche permissions  to do pretty much anything anywhere in the making of a plethora of fat bicycle trails in this city owned green space.  The afforestation areas are faced with the long range plans of becoming solely a winter fat tire bicycle park.
          30 people in a privately run bicycle group can figure out how to create trails, create a programme for signage, and waymarking, however the MVA and city cannot. ““We can’t just simply stop what we are doing and find $12 million at this point,” former City manager Murray Totland said.(Giles, March 23, 2017)
          “We certainly knew that there was financial pressure on the province and we thought there would be some modest reduction, but we didn’t think it would be a 45 per cent cut from the provincial government,” Meewasin Valley Authority CEO Lloyd Isaak said.(Giles, March 24, 2017)
        3. The afforestation area has the potential to sustain recreation for City of Saskatoon youth with a BMX jump / trick park and yet still opportunities arise regarding safety issues. The City of Saskatoon has not come forward with any plans to place the afforestation areas into Municipal Urban Reserve, so therefore at this time the City of Saskatoon is presented with a challenge without any source of funding.  Concerned tax payers are crossing their fingers that a youngster on the BMX trick park does not meet with injury, a travesty in and of itself, and yet what financial shortfall would the city be in if they were sued because of a tragic accident? There are no safety regulations, no organisation, and no policing of procedure in any form whatsoever. Additionally this lack of any money means that the afforestation area has no possible method to avert accidents for the Saskatoon youth who use the jump park without proper safety protocols, the city has no possible modus operandi to ensure that dangers posed to the trees are mitigated.  As well there is no money to ensure that provincial and municipal environment protection bylaws for the wetlands are followed and sorted out.
          “How does the province’s decision to cut out grants-in-lieu affect Saskatoon residents? This decision will have an annual impact of $11.4 million dollars to the City, equivalent to a 5.63% property tax increase. It forces City Council to choose between raising taxes and/or making cuts to core services such as snow clearing, leisure facilities, police, or fire.”(City of Saskatoon, 2017)
          The MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation area, as the “Meewasin received about $900,000 from the province last year. The number accounted for about 35 per cent of the authority’s total budget, with the City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan covering the remainder. This year’s budget will see the MVA receive about $400,000 less.”(Menz, 2017)
        4. The afforestation areas are so so scenic, beautiful and relaxing (once the trash is removed). The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area received community volunteer cleans ups in June 2015, July 2016, and October 2016, March 2017. The ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park has received no clean ups. Neither the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area nor the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park have received fencing, signs, or vehicle restriction barricades. These afforestation areas appear to be vacant land unowned and uncared for by anybody, and they receive a lot of illegal dumping, and illegal trespass.
          It would be nice to have ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park cleaned up too, so it could be used safely and without fear as well as it seems to be very very picturesque, however there are no short term plans to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, so therefore there is absolutely no money to clean up the huge amounts of trash dumped in the  ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park located in the West Swale wetlands.  This very sad predicament mans that ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park cannot be walked in, nor can vehicles access the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park as the quantity of construction materials with nails, and shingles with nails located in the trash piles is very high posting a serious risk.
          However, this situation will likely remain, as the afforestation areas do not belong to municipal urban reserve nor are they a part of City Park Space. Because the afforestation areas are a part of Saskatoon’s land bank, there is no money allocated to any Saskatoon department to clean up the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park. Note the ‘George Genereux’ urban regional park is an ‘urban regional park’ in the naming process of city council 1979 only it is NOT a part of City Park Space.
          There are no funds available for the City of Saskatoon nor for the MVA to proceed with any projects in regards to the afforestation areas.      “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark says a surprise provincial budget cut could cost the city more than $10 million and create a “fiscal crisis” in 2017. Wednesday’s budget put an end to $36 million in grants”(Bridges, 2017) In discussing the Province cuts $400K from Meewasin funding and the province taking over Wascana Centre, h Christine Tell, the minister responsible for the provincial capital commission, in a news release, said that “I want to offer reassurances that under the new model we will continue to invest in infrastructure and make sure the park is well-maintained for all those who enjoy the beauty of this natural and recreational area.” However, that being said, there is still trash and illegal trespass in the West Swale wetlands and afforestation areas of the Blairmore sector.
        5. The wetlands with their emergent vegetation provide great and varied flora which attract diverse animal species. Besides birds and waterfowl already mentioned, the wetlands and associated riparian woodlands attract reptiles, and mammals who seek food, water and shelter in the adjacent riparian woodlands of the afforestation areas. The existence of the Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum, Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens, Woodland Frog Lithobates sylvaticus, muskrat Ondatra zibethicus, Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus, White Tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus, Skunk Mephitis mephitis, North American porcupine Erethizon dorsatum, snowshoe hare, cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus. The Government of Saskatchewan has put into place activity restriction guidelines  regarding the Northern Leopard Frog.  nocturnal nature walks by the Nature Society reveals species of owls, and very likely bats as well. Besides waterfowl, and the declining numbers of songbirds under watch by the Saskatoon Nature Society the American Kestrel, Falco Sparverius, and Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides are both species which have received attentions in the West Swale and afforestation areas.  The black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus, Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus, Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulus, and numerous sparrow species are among the common avian sightings. The spring season welcomes the The American robin Turdus migratorius, and western meadowlarkSturnella neglecta.The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016, and reviewed May 39, 2017. As the afforestation areas are not a part of the city’s urban reserves, nor do the afforestation areas belong to city’s park space inventory there is no funding available by any city department.
          “Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the city is facing a potential financial crisis following the release of the 2017-18 Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23) “The government also announced it will be changing legislation to eliminate the requirement that the University of Saskatchewan’s 30 per cent funding commitment to the MVA remain in place.” (Giles, March 24) This has the potential to further reduce funding to the MVA which has already been cut $400,000 in funding.
        6. The Forestry Farm Park and Zoo are absolutely wonderful ways for urban families to appreciate animals while living in an urban setting. However, it is also true that experiencing nature, wildlife in the natural setting is a true treat, and a testament to the City of Saskatoon that there still exists an oasis of green space where one can still see such a variety of flora and fauna inside of the city limits.  AS there are no plans on the horizon to place the afforestation areas into municipal urban reserve, there is no money available for fences nor gates to keep vehicles, 4x4s or ATVS  out of the afforestation areas.  The afforestation areas are not a part of the City of Saskatoon municipal urban reserves, without funding there can be no signs erected letting anyone know that the afforestation areas are urban regional parks, and are thus open to illegal trespass, trash dumping, illegal activities, and a host of bylaw violations. The afforestation areas are sadly urban regional parks in name only as they are not in municipal reserve nor are there any immediate plans to place the afforestation areas in city park space. The naming by city council in 1979 as urban regional parks has not been followed up upon. The act to ‘preserve the afforestation areas in perpetuity” by city council of 1972 has not been carried out ~ the afforestation areas are just lands held by the City of Saskatoon land bank, there is NO money allocated by any City department for their care nor for their upkeep in anyway whatsoever. There is NO money for public signs to define the vacant looking lands as city property. There is NO money for fencing or gates to keep illegal trespass and illegal activity out of the afforestation area.
          The afforestation areas predicament was placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016 requesting that the lands be placed in municipal reserve and into City park space, and reviewed May 39, 2017. There are NO short terms plans for the afforestation areas by the city of Saskatoon long range planners.
          “There was no mention of it [budget cuts could cost Saskatoon $11.4M] whatsoever and this could engender a real fiscal crisis for our city for this year,” said Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark (Bridges, 2017)
          “Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget.”(Giles, March 23, 2017)As has been determined, the MVA has no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon. The city of Saskatoon long range planners have no immediate plans for the afforestation areas in the Blairmore sector of Saskatoon, either.  The long range plans in terms of monetary budget in February 2018 for the afforestation areas is nothing as Saskatoon’s population grows to just over 380,000 by 2035, and as the Saskatoon census metropolitan area is fore-casted to reach a population of 448,985, the afforestation areas, around 380 hectares of land, will at this time may only service the current plans available for the afforestation areas due to budget restraints put forward by 30 members of the Fat Tire Fatlanders Brigade for their  winter bicycling and their trail creation.  Is there something for everybody of the city of Saskatoon?  No.

      Are the members of the FFTB the only people in the entirety of the city of Saskatoon who can figure anything out?  It is truly wonderful and remarkable that the FFTB can figure out how to get it done.  What happens now?   Is there no money in the budget for a sign to be  erected, as well, welcoming the general public?  Winter bicycling is absolutely, tremendously fantastic, though there are other activities in a Winter City such as Saskatoon, such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, nature hikes, bird watching, etc, etc. which can go on alongside winter fat bicycling.

      The general public needs consideration as well.

      Though 380 hectares of land should provide the opportunities for the long range planners City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority to provide a naturalized areas for the population of the city. Though our children will see the city rise to about 1/2 million by 2015, there no plans for these afforestation areas whatsoever because as of February 2018 there was no money in the budget for the afforestation area. There is absolutely no way to protect the afforestation areas so that our grandchildren may still see a frog, a deer, or other creature inside of city limits within the wildlife habitat corridor of afforestation areas. There is no safeguard on the wetlands, which the afforestation areas exist in, at all.

      The  city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.

      There may be some value to the afforestation areas.

      However, these facts remain;

          • Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
          • Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO  money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
          • Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated in the budget for the afforestation areas.
          • The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department.  The afforestation areas belong to land bank,  they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
          • The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the massive trash removed on several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
          • There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requiring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344.  If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consequences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station.  There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards.  As you will see on reading this article, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.  There is NO funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.

      Is it really true that nothing can be done?

      West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling
      West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling

If you can think of anymore values for the afforestation areas, please comment.

Please, if you have any values which you personally treasure about the afforestation areas, again it would be fantastic to hear your comment.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada?

Bibliography
About Us, City of Saskatoon

Bridges, Alicia. Grant cuts in budget could cost Saskatoon $11.4M. Provincial budget cuts $36 million in grants for municipalities from SaskPower and SaskEnergy CBC News Mar 23, 2017

Fraser, D.C. Provincial government capping reduction to grants-in-lieu funding at 30% Regina Leader-Post March 31, 2017

Giles, David. Meewasin Valley Authority funding cut by $409K in Saskatchewan budget Global News. March 23, 2017

Giles, David. Saskatoon facing ‘immediate fiscal crisis’: Mayor Charlie Clark Global News. March 25, 2017

Levy, Bryn. Meewasin Valley Authority sees funds slashed in provincial budget 650 CKOM March 22, 2017

Menz, Kevin. Province cuts $400K from Meewasin funding, takes over Wascana Centre CTV Saskatoon

Provincial government cuts push financial burden onto City residents & taxpayers: Choices facing City Council are to raise property taxes or cut City services City of Saskatoon March 24, 2017

Provincial cuts, downloading costs Saskatoon $59M, city says. City official says costs have ‘substantial financial implications’ for taxpayers CBC News Posted: Apr 10, 2017
SUMA FAQ What did the provincial government do with payments in lieu to municipalities? CBC News. May 4, 2017

Shield, David. Meewasin Valley Authority to close interpretive centre CEO Lloyd Isaak says the centre will close July 1st CBC News Jun 08, 2016

Wilson, Jacqueline. Saskatoon mulls legal action over cuts in Saskatchewan budget Global News March 26, 2017

Saskatoon may have no legal grounds to challenge budget cuts, says prof Saskatchewan’s largest city threatening court injunction after provincial budget CBC News Mar 27, 2017

Shield, David. Meewasin Valley Authority losing nearly half its provincial funding ‘very challenging,’ says Saskatoon mayor
Authority and city had feared bigger cuts or end of provincial funding
CBC News. March 22, 2017

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Where are the frogs?

What a question in the middle of winter ~ “Where are the frogs?” indeed.

“Stewards of Saskatchewan” is a voluntary program of the provincial group Nature Saskatchewan. With this program, volunteer stewards collectively monitor population data on various at risk species. One of these is the Northern Leopard Frog, (Lithobates pipiens or Rana pipiens) designated as Special Concern in Canada.

Please report to the Stewards of Saskatchewan SOS survey, if you sight one of the species on their list.

Where might be one of the places in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area where a Northern Leopard Frog could be sighted?

The Chappell Marsh, the permanent wetlands of the West Swale contain water all the time. But where are the temporary wetlands located? This is exactly where the frogs are singing their merry songs. This area for the lands east of Chappell Marsh in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is marked as a yellow oval on the attached map. The Northern Leopard Frog, sings just to the west of the southwest off leash recreation area.

FrogMap
Northern Leopard Frog, Rana Pipiens Map

Just as farmers watch the weather; “In dry years, arable agriculture can fail over large parts of the province, whilst in wet years, flooding has caused widespread damage to rural and urban infrastructure.” “(Pomeroy, 2005)

So, too, do the frogs seem to watch the weather. During dry years such as those experienced 2015, 2016, and 2017 there were no frogs heard at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. However in 2013 and 2014 frogs were a delight to the years, especially as the Northern Leopard Frog is a species of Special Concern. As the weather cycles in the province, it can be expected that another year of flooding may follow the very dry years experienced 2015, 2016, and 2017. The newspapers report the flooding damaging crops, basements and highways however the glorious thing which is missed on the years of high water tables, is that the frogs come back!

 

There are definitely other areas, such as where the old grid road is being swallowed up by Chappell Marsh near the road turn off to Chappell Marsh Conservation Area. The old grid road is partially submerged, making it the perfect habitat for frogs [and ducks] as well.

Now then, it would be a very intriguing for a herpetologist, volunteer ‘Steward of Saskatchewan’ or conservation officer to engage in a project to walk with a GPS app which records altitude. This project would scan the entirety of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and ‘George Genereux’ Urban Regional park for altitude levels similar to the altitude of the meadow west of the South West Off Leash Recreation Area. Other areas which provide a rich habitat for the Northern Leopard Frog could be identified in this method for the areas west of Chappell Marsh and in ‘George Genereux’ Urban Regional park. In this way during years of flooding the Northern Leopard Frog could be surveyed and counted in identified Frog zones. And accordingly in the years of drought, the environment could remain undisturbed awaiting their safe return. 🙂

Perhaps, just perhaps, this would be a way to ensure the Northern Leopard Frog’s survival. An altitude test may just help to find the temporary wetlands conducive to the frog’s habitat, and could then be protected from development. Either that, or developers would need wait until years of high water tables before developing land to determine the habitat for frogs.

Saskatchewan cycles through years of drought and high water tables. The years 2013, and 2014, saw very, very high rain levels, spring run off and flooding. Chappell Marsh itself washed out a grid road, and water pumps were allocated to try to divert the flooding away from Saskatchewan Highway 7 west of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and CN Chappell Yards. The cycle of very wet conditions was also seen historically over the years 2005, and 2006. (Garnet, 2012)

July 13, 2014, Emily Chan reported “In Saskatchewan, it’s estimated that a total of up to 3 million acres, including some farmland, have already flooded.” “Highways closed and communities declared states of emergency …, ” reports the Canadian Press on June 30, 2014 due to a deluge of rain.

“From too much rain to not enough — and everyone baking in the heat — communities smashed weather records in July across Saskatchewan.”(Climenhaga, 2017) Whereas, in direct contrast to the years of 2013 and 2014, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reported that 2016 was the hottest year on record, replacing the record set in 2015. In 2017, “Saskatchewan farmers say drought conditions in some parts of the province are the worst they have seen in decades “(Bridges, 2017) “Record-breaking temperatures and extremely low rainfalls across Western Canada are causing chaos for farmers and firefighters this summer as they grapple with the worst drought in more than a decade.” {Sikierska, 2015) Drought also ravaged Saskatchewan over the years 2001 to 2002. (Garnet, 2012)

“Nowhere else in Canada does the lack or excess of water cause such widespread concern, nor are there many Canadian environments subject to greater seasonal change in precipitation and surface-water storage.”(Pomeroy, 2005)
Drought years have been recorded as 1961, 1967, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1988, 2003, 2009. Whereas, the flood years are reported as 1965, 1977, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2005, 2010. (Garnet, 2012)
Taiwan is privileged with the humid and rainy habitats favorable for frogs, and the profuse rain providing the frogs a long reproduction stage makes Taiwan one of the best places for frog-watching.”{Government of Taiwan}  And it follows, that in Saskatchewan, the frogs, also fare better during the years the province cycles into a year with a high water table, rain and humidity.  Just as the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) is native to marshes, fens, ditches and wet woodland in temperate regions, the marsh marigold does not raise its yellow head in the years of drought, nor do the Northern Leopard Frogs sing merrily in the wetlands.  In the case of frogs, and marsh marigolds, both flora and fauna await seasons of moisture, and hunker down when drought and desert-like conditions appear.
“The trees and vegetation which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are therefore performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. The glorious rich, colourful, quilted covering of vegetation is not there merely to feed and please us. Its presence is essential to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it is the ‘skin of the Earth, for without it there can be no water and, therefore, no life. ” Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Bibliography

2016 Annual Report of Agroclimate Conditions Across Canada Government of Canada Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Bridges, Alicia. Sask. farmers say drought conditions worst in decades. Farmers, ranchers face tough season due to hot, dry weather. CBC News.

Chan, Emily. Prairie farmers frustrated as flooding drowns crops. Ctv News. July 13, 2014

Climenhaga, Christy. Regina experiences driest July in 130 years. July topped the charts for hot and dry weather in southern Saskatchewan. CBC News. Aug. 1, 2017

Cross, Brian. Rising waters wash away land, farmers’ futures . The Western Producer. May 7, 2015

Flooding, highway closures as heavy rain pounds Prairies Canadian Press. June 30, 2014.

Garnett, Ray and Madhav Khandekar. From Drought to Wet Cycles The Changing Climate of the Canadian Prairies. May 3, 2012.

Pomeroy, John, Dirk de Boer and Lawrence Martz. Hydrology and Water Resources of Saskatchewan. Centre for Hydrology Report #1. Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan February 2005.

Reeve warns flood water could flow over Hwy 11 in Lumsden area CBC News. May 5, 2013

Saskatchewan flooding: 37 communities declare state of emergency CBC News. June 30 2014

Sask. Flooding >Flood-battered roads crumbling around eastern Sask. Culverts, bridges, train tracks washed out over a wide area CBC News. July 2, 2014

Siekierska, Alicja. Hot, dry and disastrous. Western Canada’s drought is taking a toll. Edmonton Journal. July 25, 2015

Top ten weather stories for 2010: Story three. From Dry to Drenched on the Prairies. Government of Canada. Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Tagged Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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)”. Post to MVA 402 Third Avenue South Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5 Please and thank you!

Membership in the Saskatoon Nature Society “supports nature conservation projects and [the society] is an active advocate for the preservation of plant and animal habitats”.

Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition ~ an active group interested in forest management~ or make a donation to “Save our Saskatchewan” [SOS] Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area 😉

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“We forget that we owe our existence to the presence of Trees. As far as forest cover goes, we have never been in such a vulnerable position as we are today. The only answer is to plant more Trees – to Plant Trees for Our Lives.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future

2018 Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future Urban wetlands: prized land not wasteland Retain and restore: practical ways cities can preserve and manage urban wetlands. Walking the talk: Urban wetlands making cities liveable
2018 Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future.  Urban Wetlands Making Cities Liveable. Urban wetlands: Prized land not wasteland. Retain and restore: practical ways cities can preserve and manage urban wetlands. Walking the talk: Urban wetlands making cities liveable.

World Wetlands Day occurs annually on February 2nd, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971.{source}

#KeepUrbanWetlands

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.  The theme for 2018 is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future.”  {Source}

  • Urban wetlands: Prized land not wasteland.
  • Retain and restore: practical ways cities can preserve and manage urban wetlands..
  • Walking the talk: Urban wetlands making cities liveable.

The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the afforestation area ‘George Genereux’ Urban Regional Park are located within the West Swale, and both afforestation areas are classified as wetlands.  The West Swale  is a low lying wetlands area which has its confluence at Yorath Island in the South Saskatchewan River;  Map

The results of the City of Saskatoon West/Southwest Sector Natural Area Screening Study on the wildlife habitat showed that the West Swale should remain with connectivity to preserve migrations, and ecological processes. Disrupting the West Swale increases the risk for local extinctions.  The recommendation was for  the establishment of a habitat corridor of the West Swale as it meanders to the river. The confluence area poses a potential flood hazard during high water table years and the expansion of a conservation area would inherently prove to be a safe and prudent course. The areas around the West Swale are protected under the Ministry of Environment (MOE) as the primary regulator agency, as well as the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.{Source; Golder Associates. Southwest Sector Plan. (2013)}

A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink and shoreline stability. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverseof all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal.{Source}

World Wetlands Day was established to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet, WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and has grown remarkably since then. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community, have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits. Some of these benefits include: biologically diverse ecosystems that provide habitat for many species, serve as buffers on the coast against storms and flooding, and naturally filter water by breaking down or transforming harmful pollutants.{source}

How will the City of Saskatoon and its residents celebrate, and honour this 2018 World Wetlands Day; “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future?”

#KeepUrbanWetlands

For more information upon:

Urban wetlands: prized land not wasteland

Retain and restore: practical ways cities can preserve and manage urban wetlands.

Walking the talk: Urban wetlands making cities liveable

“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

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: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Tagged Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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)”.  Post to MVA 402 Third Avenue South Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5  Please and thank you!

Membership in the Saskatoon Nature Society  “supports nature conservation projects and [the society] is an active advocate for the preservation of plant and animal habitats”.

Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition ~ an active group interested in forest management~ or make a donation to “Save our Saskatchewan” [SOS] Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area  😉

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“The trees and vegetation which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are therefore performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. The glorious rich, colourful, quilted covering of vegetation is not there merely to feed and please us. Its presence is essential to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it is the ‘skin of the Earth, for without it there can be no water and, therefore, no life. ” Richard St. Barbe Baker.

1884 Sectional Map

“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love.”~ Gandalf

Department of the Interior Topographical surveys branch. Sectional Maps. Dominion Land Office April 25, 1884. Township 36 Range 6 West of the Third Meridian
Plan of Township No 36 Range 6 West of the Third Meridian. Dominion Land Office April 25, 1884.

Map Surveyed by the undersigned Frank L. Blake D.L.S. August 1883
Approved and confirmed E Deville for the Surveyor General

A map expresses a perspective {that of the cartographer}. But the map itself has not a perspective. As George Graham says, “the perspective is not in the map. It must be read into the map. The mind’s Intentionality or aboutness in underived. It inheres in it or is intrinsic to it.” He looked deeply forlorn needing to settle this  decision once and for all.

The wetlands which formed in the Pleistocene Yorath Island Spillway are very evident on the above map, and are part of what is now called the “West Swale” The West Swale extends from Yorath Island in the South Saskatchewan River through to Grandora, Rice Lake and the North Saskatchewan River [To get an overview of the West Swale check out the next Map 1915 Saskatoon Sheet which includes Grandora, etc…

“Humankind’s greatest sin is anthropocentrism – where human life is valued above all other sentient life. Msirtnecoporhtna – backwards or forwards it makes no sense. If Moses could spell it, he would have put in his top 10.” Philip Wollen founder of Winsome Kindness Trust

Blairmore Sector Afforestation Areas

Legend Additions in the colour Mauve:

How would the Blairmore Sector Afforestation Areas have featured on a map of 1883?

On the west side of Saskatoon a portion of the 660 acres preserved in perpetuity in 1972 are located at:

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
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of South West Off Leash Recreation Area) civic address 467 Township Road 362-A.  Only lands of SE 22 36 6 W3 under MVA conservation management
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) civic address 355 Township Road 362-A under MVA conservation
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 SW OLRA and east of COC.
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area civic address 241 Township Road 362-A
In 1960, part of NE 21-36-6 W3 (West of the CN overpass on SK Highway 7) was purchased by the City, planted in 1972, preserved as an afforestation area. Named in 1978-1979 George Genereux Park (Urban Regional Park), this namesake was removed at this afforestation area for use at a different city pocket park.
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area civic address 133 Range Road 3063

“Each person walks a journey unique to himself or herself. Live your own journey and run your own race.”  Winsome Campbell-Green

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. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
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
Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition or make a donation to SOS Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area  😉

“Act. Don’t react. See a need, fix it first. Worry about the details later. If you wait until you are asked you have just missed a golden opportunity. They are fleeting and rare.” Philip Wollen founder of Winsome Kindness Trust

MVA Leadership Role

National Non-Profit Day
August 17, 2017

What becomes possible because of the work of the non-profit organisation ~ the Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA)?

West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling
West Swale and Richard St. Barbe Baker AFforestation Area wildlife Urban Forest Semi-Wilderness Area. Mountain Bluebird, White Tailed Deer Fawn. Barred Tiger Salamander or western tiger salamander. American Pelican, Mallard Duckling

Are you aware of the impact that the MVA has on Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan, and worldwide?

We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize. Thich Nhat Hanh

On Thursday August 17, 2017, pause and take some time to learn more about the MVA. The MVA provides stewardship along the South Saskatchewan River.

“When you open your mind, you open new doors to new possibilities for yourself and new opportunities to help others.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Richard Moriyama, architect and planner, of the 100 Year Conceptual Master Plan of the South Saskatchewan River Environment in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park and the City of Saskatoon, stated that the “first elements of that concept are a unique land and a unique people. The objective is balance. The umbrella idea, the broad concept, is health…the continuing health of the river and all its connected parts  creek, coulee, ravine, slough, aquifer, land and air.”

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.” Queen Victoria

“Meewasin is recognized world-wide for its leadership in conserving the natural resources of the 6,700 hectares of the Meewasin Valley.”source

If you go out and partake of activities at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area, the South Saskatchewan River Meewasin Trail, the Meewasin Northeast Swale, the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands, Cranberry Flats Conservation Area, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the associated afforestation areas in the West Swale, you are appreciating the efforts of the Meewasin Valley Authority.

“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.” Kristin Armstrong

Though times have been hard, and the budget restraints imposed upon the MVA have seen a cutting of programs, it is only the interpretive centre which closed. The MVA staff and directors are still hard at work conserving sensitive environmental sites, preserving water quality in the South Saskatchewan River, linking and balancing human activity, recreation and enjoyment with a healthy eco-system.

“Take your mind off the problems for a moment, and focus on the positive possibilities. Consider how very much you are able to do.” Ralph Marston

If you like what you see, and have enjoyed the breathtaking aesthetics inherent in the river valley, consider making a donation to the Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Trust Fund (MVA RSBBAA Trust Fund). Your donations will help to protect and monitor the West Swale wetlands affording a safe environment for the endangered Northern Leopard Frog. The West Swale is a unique wetlands system, following the pleistocene Yorath Island Spillway from the North Saskatchewan River valley to the South Saskatchewan River valley confluence. iThe afforestation area provides the growing city of Saskatoon the opportunity to walk in a mixed woodlands featuring deciduous and evergreen trees. Mixed forests are generally found at higher elevations, and in a parkland ecoregion, the afforestation area provides a unique setting. The afforestation area encompasses native prairie wild life, native flowers and a plethora of waterfowl and amphibians. The Saskatoon Nature Society has been actively engaged in ringing and  studying birds in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and has included the site in their new book Nature Viewing Sites in and around Saskatoon“. The West Swale and the associated afforestation areas embrace both multifacted nature viewing opportunities, as well as an amazing geological adventure into time.

“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”― Tim Fargo

Find out more about the Meewasin Valley Authority. Take some time and explore the “George Genereux” afforestation area, Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area, the southwest off leash recreation area, and the woodlands east of the off leash dog park this summer, then you will realize how your donation to the Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Trust Fund (MVA RSBBAA Trust Fund) can truly make a difference!

“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker

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. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
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

Images of St. Barbe, credit
University of Saskatchewan,
University Archives & Special Collections,
Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds, MG 71

“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nations saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Water ~ critical long range planning

Water quality month

 

The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it it the ‘skin’ of the earth, for without it there can be no water, and therefore, no life.~Richard St. Barbe Baker

On this blue planet, there is water, a lot of water. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey the Earth’s surface is covered with around 71 percent of water, and of this huge vast body of water 96.5 percent of the water on earth is in the oceans. So these leaves 3.5 percent as fresh water as streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Did you know that when considering “total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground.source

“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

What does this mean when it comes to the afforestation areas of Saskatoon? Botanists consider the entirety of the lands designated as afforestation areas as wetlands. Of the wetlands, only a small portion are class IV permanent wetlands which may also be termed the north end of Chappell Marsh. The remaining land mass of the afforestation areas are, well, forest to the average visitor to this amazing area of Saskatoon.

“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime.The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” ~ Luna Leopold

The Chappell Marsh wetlands of the West Swale are teeming with ducks and waterfowl. As one of the only sites in Saskatchewan to view the Ruddy Duck, it possesses the capacity to provide foraging, and breeding grounds for many other species, Blue heron, Black crowned Night Heron, Pelicans.

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” ~ Jacques Cousteau

What will happen with Saskatoon’s growing population? The West Swale is a low lying area with its confluence at the South Saskatchewan River. The trajectory of the West Swale connects the North Saskatchewan River through Rice Lake, Grandora through to Saskatoon. Where the intermittent streams on the surface flow towards the South Saskatchewan River, the bedrock aquifer – the groundwater flows towards the North Saskatchewan River, making the West Swale vitally important to the water hydrology of Saskatchewan, and all communities down stream.

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” ~ Carl Sagan

It is quite intriguing to watch the city’s long-range plans. When new neighbourhoods are being planned and developed for Saskatoon’s Growth Plan to Half a Million what percentage of the wetlands are being conserved by developers to sustain water quality for the booming city. How does housing density and formulas for neighbourhood population conserve and interact with area previously designated as wetlands? If a wetlands is not in a preservation or conservation zone, what percentage of wetlands is deemed prudent to maintain? If approximately 570 acres of land are set aside for development of a neighbourhood to be home to around and about 10,000 residents, what happens if this land happens to have wetlands in it? Have any cities set precedents in regards to percentage of wetlands conservation areas as urban centres expand outwards?

Calgary:
“In 1981,it was estimated that 78 per cent of the pre-settlement wetlands in Calgary had been lost. Today, the estimate is closer to 90 per cent. Urban development
is now extending into areas of significant wetland complexes, some of which are considered provincially and nationally significant to breeding waterfowl.”Source

The Calgary wetland conservation policy ensures that there is “No Net Loss” of Calgary Wetlands by promoting their conservation and/or mitigation within areas of future urban development and within transportation and utility corridors.”

Edmonton:

“The City will dedicate permanent, semi-permanent, and seasonal wetlands (i.e., Class III, IV, and V Wetlands in the Stewart and Kantrud system) and all peatlands as Environmental Reserve upon subdivision of land. (The Way We Green 3.5.2)” In addition to this, Edmonton sets aside municipal reserves, environmental reserves and public lands of water beds and shores.Source

Is it more prudent to infill the wetlands and construct a housing neighbourhood with the pre-requisite low, medium or high density population no matter what the geographical terrain?  Is 23% of existing wetlands inventory maintained as constructed wetlands an acceptable environmental resource for urban growth in contemporary times?

The wetlands existing in the afforestation areas may be “preserved in perpetuity.” However, there are wetlands in the West Swale not in a preserved area for example west of Sk Highway 7 near the West compost depot. What has happened for example in the long range planning of the wetlands in regards to Saskatoon’s neighbourhoods ~ what percent of the wetlands inventory were conserved?  What will happen to the expanses of West Swale wetlands water areas ~ these wetlands outside of preservation zones?

Ask the City of Saskatoon, the Mayor or your city councillor today.

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” ~ W.H. Auden

“In the setting of standards, agencies make political and technical/scientific decisions about how the water will be used. In the case of natural water bodies, they also make some reasonable estimate of pristine conditions. Natural water bodies will vary in response to environmental conditions. Environmental scientists work to understand how these systems function, which in turn helps to identify the sources and fates of contaminants. Environmental lawyers and policymakers work to define legislation with the intention that water is maintained at an appropriate quality for its identified use.Source” We need to conserve, and carve out a place for wetlands for future generations to ensure water quality.

Remember World water Day is celebrated on 22nd of March and Water Quality Month is August.

“Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

while knowledge about nature is vital; passion is the long-distance fuel for the struggle to save what is left of our natural heritage and ~ through an emerging green urbanism ~ to reconstitute lost land and water. Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature. ~Richard Louv.

FURTHER NOTES
Saskatoon Wetlands policy.

Saskatoon Wetland policy document wetlands design guidelines?

Growth Plan Half a Million City of Saskatoon.
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.  52° 06′ 106° 45′
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

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trip

We feel that our greatest victory remains to be won when man will realize his oneness with the trees, the creatures and with all living things, not ours to destroy, but to be handed on for the enjoyment of future generations”. – Richard St. Barbe Baker.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”~Margaret Mead

The Saskatoon Nature Society Past-President, Marten Stoffel, who is familiar with the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area, along with Sara Byrson who has a background in forestry will lead a field trip to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area on the evening of June 14, as follows. For several years Marten Stoffel has been banding birds at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

Wednesday June 14, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pmRichard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.
“We will walk through this afforestation area next to
Chappell Marsh to search for native plants and songbirds.
Meet by the Grain Elevator at the Western Development
Museum parking lot on Lorne Avenue. Bus: Route 1
Exhibition departs downtown terminal at 6:31 p.m. and
arrives on Lorne Avenue adjacent to museum about 6:50 p.m.
Leaders Sara Bryson (306 261 6156) and Marten Stoffel
(306 230 9291)

Guide to Nature Viewing Sites Page 122.”

Everyone is welcome to participate in any Saskatoon Nature Society field trip. Bring your friends. Carpooling for out-of- town trips is arranged at the meeting place; there is no charge other than to share gasoline costs. Phone the trip leader if you have any questions (as above). Participants are free to depart early if they wish. Saskatoon Nature Society Members with FRS radios should bring them on out of town trips. Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie-talkie radio system. Check the website at Saskatoon Nature Society for last minute changes or cancellations and to download checklists. Bus Information: 306-975-3100.

Many of the  Saskatoon Nature Society trip destinations are described in the 3rd edition of “A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites in and around Saskatoon” available from Saskatoon Nature Society Books.

Typically, at least the bird species are recorded on the Saskatoon Nature Society checklist but there are some ways that the Saskatoon Nature Society can electronically record our observations too.

It is with grateful appreciation that the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area acknowledge this wonderful program acknowledging the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat of the West Swale, and associated woodlands. Though this two hour walk through will not be as extensive as a two day bio-blitz, it will be intriguing to discover what native plants are discovered at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and which song bird species come to roost for the evening.

As Saskatchewan Tourism says; “With over 350 species to be observed, birdwatching in Saskatchewan is a year-round activity. However, the fall and spring migration seasons present fantastic opportunities for viewing as species both rare and plentiful cross the Land of Living Skies.”

The Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik, has listed the arrival dates for spring migratory birds in Alberta, to check how these dates correspond to Saskatchewan Species, compare to E-Bird historic sightings. The prairie provinces are vast land areas, and she mentions, that “with a variety of habitats and species arrival dates will vary based on your location in the province”, the typical dates of spring migration are March through May.

What are some of Saskatchewan’s prairie songbirds? Sibley and Alquist divided songbirds into two “parvorders”, Corvida and Passerida which include shrikes, vireos, crows, magpies, jays, waxwings, chickadees, larks, swallows, martins, warblers, wrens, nuthatches, thrushes, true sparrows, finches, pipits, buntings, American sparrows, longspurs, buntings for example. Will it be possible from the above family listing to perhaps sight any of the species of these families on the Saskatoon Nature Society Check List which may offer a spotting of the following example species; Sprague’s pipit, Chestnut-collared longspur, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, McCown’s Longspur, Bobolink, and Purple Martin.

“Grassland songbirds evolved with specific needs that restrict where and how they can obtain food and build nests. Most of them can only nest in certain types of grass and will not tolerate trees in the landscape….The Baird’s Sparrow is one of the least flexible grassland songbirds…they’re really fussy about how tall and sparse the vegetation is. They have to have finely stemmed grasses to nest in. So the heavy, thick stems and leaf blades of invasive and non-natives like smooth brome are a problem for them.Hanson

The former natural area screening study conducted surveys in native grassland, modified grasslands and wetlands plant communities throughout the west/southwest sector of Saskatoon. Locating native grassland communities in and around trembling aspen bluffs. Mixed grasslands, however will show examples of smooth brome, alfalfa, and sweet clover. “Grasslands have undergone habitat conversion including cultivation, grazing, suburbanization, and industrialization. Murphy A listing of native plant species is included at the end of this article or click here [pdf].

The south west sector afforestation areas were started as tree nurseries in 1972, and when the trees matured, this use as a tree nursery is not longer viable. So the grasslands have had years to recover, and begin the conversion back to their natural state. However, “in addition to the threat of development, native grasslands are being degraded due to weed invasionWilliams.  So it will be intriguing to see the level of native plants left intact at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

Looking back now, to the afforestation methods employed in 1972, “The following tree species were used: American and Siberian Elm, Manitoba Maple, Green Ash, Poplar, Willow, Colorado Spruce, Scotch Pine, and Caragana. Rows weaving in and out as much as forty feet from the centre line was used. This produces a natural forest effect. The proposed planting area consisted of four and one-half adjacent quarter sections. We divided this two and one-half mile long area into five planting areas, with strips of fifty to sixty feet left bare, as fire guards between each planting area.”Ligtermoet So these means that there are areas which have been native prarie biome for 57 years since the land was purchased by the City of Saskatoon in 1960 without development of any form at all, so it may, indeed be promising to find belts of native grassland, and associated songbirds during this Saskatoon Nature Society nature field trip.

Whereas the West Swale has numerous small scattered wetland areas, the focus of this nature study walk, will be not the aquatic vegetation, nor waterfowl, but the belts of native plants, and any associated songbirds.

Louie Schwartzberg states that “Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” Thank you to the Saskatoon Nature Society to help all the field trip participants become aware of nature’s beauty which abounds at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Your planning of this nature field trip on June 14, 2017 is gratefully appreciated! Words cannot express our feelings, nor the thanks for all your help.

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly”~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Native Grassland Plants, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Native Grassland Plants, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

BIBLIOGRAPHY and FURTHER INFORMATION:
A Land Manager’s guide to Grassland Birds of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

Are the Prairies getting quieter? Songbirds are declining in number. Audio extra: Can you identify some Prairie birds by their songs? CBC News. May 22, 2015.

Clarke, Jared B. Bird Banding in Saskatchewan
Birds Protected in Canada Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 Environment and Climate Change Canada. Nature. Government of Canada.

Hanson, Kim. Fire is for the Birds in Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie. Fire Science. he information for this Manager’s Viewpoint is based on JFSP Project 01-3-2-09, Prescribed Fire for Fuel Reduction in Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie: Influence on Habitat and Populations of Indigenous Wildlife and Future Forest Flammability; Principal Investigators: Robert K. Murphy, Todd A. Grant, and Elizabeth M. Madden.

Wild Birds Unlimited of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Facebook.
Bird ID skills: How to Learn Bird Songs and Calls All About Birds. Cornell University. April 20, 2009

Best Beautiful Bird Songs – Saskatoon Saskatchewan You Tube.

City of Saskatoon West/Southwest Sector Natural Area Screening Study. Report 12-1361-0028. Golder Associates. September 2012

Davis, S.K., D.C. Duncan, and M. Skeel. Distribution and Habitat Associations of Three Endemic Grassland Songbirds in Southern Saskatchewan. The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 111, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 389-396 Published by: Wilson Ornithological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164104 Page Count: 8
Davis, Stephen K. Nesting Ecology of Mixed-Grass Prairie Songbirds in Southern Saskatchewan. The Wilson Bulletin Vol. 115, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 119-130 Wilson Ornithological Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164538 Page Count: 12

Ligtermoet, A.L. Assistant Parks Superintendent City of Saskatoon. Afforestation – Man Made Forest on the Prairies. January 4, 1974.

Ludlow, Sarah M., R. Mark Brigham, and Stephen K. Davis. Nesting Ecology of Grassland Songbirds, Effects of Predation, Parasitism and Weather. The Wilson Jornail of Ornithology 126(4):686-699, 2014

Herriot, Trevor. Mapping our birds – the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas kicks off in 2017 Feb. 2, 2017

Higgs, Matt. Songbirds in decline across Canada. Greenup Column. Peterborough Examiner.

Kishkinev. Dmitry, et al Experienced migratory songbirds do not display goal-ward orientation after release following a cross-continental displacement: an automated telemetry study Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37326 (2016)
doi:10.1038/srep37326

Martinez, Victoria. Student, ranchers protect prairie songbirds. Allison Henderson. Allison Henderson SCOTT Bell/university of Saskatchewan U of S graduate student Allison Henderson is studying connections between prairie grasslands and songbirds. University of Saskatchewan. Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan.
Murphy, Dennis D. and Pual R. Ehrlich. Conservation Biology of California’s Remnant Native Grasslands.

Robinson, Ashley. Grassland birds in Saskatchewan under threat: reort. Regina Leader Post.

Rose, Phil. Native Rangelands: A Last Refuge for Grassland Songbirds University of Regina.


Songbird Documentary on CBC Nature of Things. The MessengerDoc.com.

Species Detection Survey Protocols. Grassland Birds Surveys. Fish and Wildlife Branch Technical Report No. 201 4-9.0 December 2014. Government of Saskatchewan.
Tremont, Anna Marie. Canada’s grasslands most endangered least protected ecosystems. CNC. February 21, 2017

U of S Research takes flight in songbird SOS documentary. The Sheaf. University of Saskatchewan.

Wildlife 911: Baby Birds on Ground. Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan

Williams, Nicholas S.G., Mark I. McDonnell, Emma J. Seager. Factors influencing the loss of an endangered ecosystem in an urbanising landscape: a case study of native grasslands from Melbourne, Australia Landscape and Urban Planning 71 (2005) 35–49 April 9, 2003.
What are Native Prairie Grasslands Worth? Why it pays to Conserve this Endangered Ecosystem. Ranchers Stewardship Alliance Inc. Chris Nykoluk Consulting. 2013

Wolsfield, MIke. Ecoregions in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan EcoNetwork

“We feel that our greatest victory remains to be won when man will realize his oneness with the trees, the creatures and with all living things, not ours to destroy, but to be handed on for the enjoyment of future generations”. – Richard St. Barbe Baker.

“Healing the broken bond between children and nature may seem to be an overwhelming, even impossible task. But we must hold the conviction that the direction of this trend can be changed, or at least slowed. The alternative to holding and acting on that belief is unthinkable for human health and for the natural environment. The environmental attachment theory is a good guiding principle: attachment to land is good for child and land.” `Richard Louv

For more information:
You Tube Video Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

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: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Tagged Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

It is not a farce.…”To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” ~Terry Tempest Williams

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