It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. Isaac Asimov
To what do Ellsworth Huntington and Stephen Sargent Visher refer when they expound that “Unity is perhaps the keynote of modern science. This means unity in time, for the present is but the outgrowth of the past, and the future of the present. It means unity of process, for there seems to be no sharp dividing line between organic and inorganic, physical and mental, mental and spiritual. And the unity of modern science means also a growing tendency toward coöperation, so that by working together scientists discover much that would else have remained hid…. Its fundamental principle has been that the present, if rightly understood, affords a full key to the past?” Can it also be said that the fundamental principle is that the present, if rightly understood, affords a full key to the future?
The land for the afforestation areas was purchased by the City of Saskatoon in 1960. Then the lands were afforested with trees as a tree nursery in 1972 along with fire breaks left in 1972. These firebreak areas left unplanted resulted in native prairie untouched since 1960. Additionally only some of the land was homesteaded before the city purchase, resulting in native grasslands and woodlands left in their native state since before 1960. Currently, the trees are also too large to be used as transplants so the afforestation areas are no longer considered viable as a tree nursery.
The afforestation areas are quite diverse, being riparian woodlands wholly situated in the wetlands of the West Swale. Additionally to the general West Swale wetlands classification there is also a Class IV permanent wetlands creating a huge diversification in flora and fauna including ~ grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands.
So it is quite a mix, indeed of flora, therefore, which host quite a mix in the wildlife one can see while in the afforestation areas.
The afforestation areas, thus described, are located within city limits. Perhaps it is areas such as these which are invaluable to the City of Saskatoon while the city is growing to 380,650 by 2035; 500,000 before 2050; with some projections seeing the City reach 1.52M by 2038. It is areas such as these afforestation areas that make Saskatoon a green city, which was foreseen by the City Planners of 1960.
The afforestation areas were “preserved in perpetuity” by City Council in 1972 and, furthermore, they were designated in 1979 in honour of Dr. Lt. Richard Edward St. Barbe Baker, O.B.E., Hon. LL.D. (Sask), F.I.A.L., For.Dip.Cantab., ACF and St Barbe’s vision.
How is that to be interpreted? That is the question.
Photo of Richard St. Barbe Baker Courtesy: University of Saskatchewan, University Archives & Special Collections, Richard St. Barbe Baker fonds, MG 71
Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name. Alice Meynell
Richard St. Barbe Baker often quoted Henry van Dyke, whom he thought of as the greatest of tree poets;
“He that planteth a tree is a servant of God;
He provideth a kindness for many generations
And faces that he hath not seen shall bless him.~Henry van Dyke”
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
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!
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 😉
“We are passing through a time of unprecedented destruction of things of the spirit of the natural order. We have been caught up by personal greed and national competition. The very body of life on this planet is now being threatened by the destruction of earth’s green mantle, the Trees.” Richard St. Barbe Baker.