The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest

Richard St. Barbe Baker Global Conservationist and Humanitarian
Richard St. Barbe Baker Global Conservationist and Humanitarian showcased in two films Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest and the Prequel Richard St. Barbe Baker Park

The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Hidden Forest: Inspiring Eco-Champions

The inspirational story of Richard St. Barbe Baker, aka the “Man of the Trees,” can help children and youth aspire to be these champions. The new heritage documentary The Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Foresthad a virtual showing November 6, 2021 on the 50th anniversary of when Richard St. Barbe Baker was bestowed an honourary Doctorate of Laws for extraordinary Global Humanitarian Services from the University of Saskatchewan on November 6, 1971. The film had a live showing at the Remai Modern public screening on Friday, July 22, 2022 at 7:00 pm – the centenary of the International Tree Foundation started by Richard St. Barbe Baker by the Dance of the Trees July 22, 1922.

People from around the world who personally knew Richard St. Barbe Baker came together to tell the story of his remarkable life and achievements. Note there is a 15 minute version heritage documentary and a one hour long presentation with greetings from around the world, and both are now presented on YouTube. The 15 minute prequel film “Richard St. Barbe Baker Park” tells how the heritage documentary came to be. Both 15 minute films are available on YouTube or on SaskTel max on Demand channels 46 and 346.

From roots in Saskatoon Baker went on to inspire tree planting and forest protection around the world.  The International Tree Foundation, which he founded in 1922, is still active in 14 countries. Countless people motivated by him are environmental champions today. A companion curriculum describes his holistic world view, and his daring life of action on behalf of the earth.  

There is more information about Richard St. Barbe Baker in the Beta Version of the Prairie Forest Guide Interpretive App for the afforestation areas.

An exciting place based eco-heritage resource named “Richard St. Barbe Baker Stories” is available for free download and replication by the general public – educators – teachers, homeschoolers for education and awareness use. Please contact the Friends for permission to re-use for commercial purposes to align with our charity mission. The Richard St. Barbe Baker Stories has ten information books following the life story of this environmental champion and conservationist. Also included is a guide for teachers and parents (Available in both French and English). This series is also great for members of the general public wishing to know more about the legacy of this environmental tree planting global champion.

Richard St. Baker Afforestation Area Stories – Histoires de la zone de boisement de Richard St. Barbe Baker for pdf download

Richard St. Baker Afforestation Area Stories – Histoires de la zone de boisement de Richard St. Barbe Baker for viewing online at ISSUU

Brochure / Pamphlet

Friends of the Trees

Inspiring Environmental Action: Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary

People from Switzerland, Scotland, Hawaii, New York, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Australia what do these people from around the world have to say about their love of the earth and of trees, and how they first heard of Richard St. Barbe Baker? These are truly heart warming stories that they want to share. Their lives changed to follow the words they heard from Richard St. Barbe Baker. How could this one man encourage large groups of people around the world to plant trees? Then how could this man inspire others to create more and more large groups of people to also take care of the earth? What kind of magic did Richard St. Barbe Baker possess that people would stop whatever they were doing to connect with nature and take care of the world? These people, environmental conservationists all have their own story tell about how they began to look after the world from a seed planted by Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Why would forests, streets and avenues around the world be named after Richard St. Barbe Baker? Statues, monuments and plaques were built to remember the story of Richard St. Barbe Baker.

There is a forest in Saskatoon. It is a secret forest which no one had ever heard about. This forest is named after Richard St. Barbe Baker because he planted trees, and here in this park hundreds upon thousands of trees were planted. It was a perfect match. Forest visitors hearing the story of Richard St. Barbe Baker fall in love with the Saskatoon forest and want to protect it. They want to make the forest as special and magnificent as this great man was special and magnificent.


His Worship, Charlie Clark, Mayor of the City of Saskatoon, SK, CA
David Kirton, City Councillor, Saskatoon
Hilary Gough, City Councillor, Saskatoon,
Andrea Lafond, CEO, Meewasin
Farah Haji, Saskatoon Baha’i Community: Appreciation and Prayer

Traditional Land Treaty Acknowledgements

Kevin Wesaquate Poet, painter, welder, spoken word artist and founder of the Indigenous Poet’s Society. Originally from Piapot First Nation

Special Thanks To:

-Forest History Society, Durham, NC
-West End Local History Society, UK
-University of Saskatchewan Archives and Special Collections


Robert White, Saskatoon
BSA, MES (Env. St.) Recipient of the first Men of the Trees Prize at the University of Saskatchewan

Paul Hanley, Hawaii
Author of the biography Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker; The First Global Conservationist and four other books, and more than 1500 articles on the environment, agriculture, and the future of civilization.

Alan Watson-Featherstone, Scotland
BA Honours Inspirational speaker and the founder of the conservation charity Trees for Life, recipient Schumacher Award, Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award and RSPB Outstanding Contribution Award.

Leona Graham, Scotland
BA/MA Findhorn Community. World Wilderness congresses, and Director CCF/Cheetah Conservation International Conservation Program Director associated with WILD

Vance Martin, Colorado, USA
BA English/forestry wildlife management. President WILD Foundation, co-founder and President of Wilderness Foundation Global (based in South Africa), & Founder Co-chair of the Wilderness Specialist Group (part of the World Commission on Protected Areas, within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

Scott Poynton, Switzerland
MSc Forestry. Founded The Forest Trust, through which major global wood supply companies made historic commitments to zero deforestation. Founder and leader of The Pond Foundation, offering a Carbon Zero program aimed at changing how the world acts on climate change.

Dr. Alan Grainger, England
BSc, DPhil. Researcher and Senior Lecturer in Global Environmental Change and Policy, University of Leeds, U.K

Hugh Locke, New York
B.EnvST. President of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Haiti and President of the U.S.-based Impact Farming Foundation

David VanVliet, Manitoba, CA
BA, MEDes, PhD. Associate Professor, Department of City Planning, University of Manitoba, CA

Dr. Camilla Allen, England
PhD University Sheffield, England. Thesis written on Richard St. Barbe Baker and his lifetime achievements globally.

Tony Rinaudo, Australia
BSc AM. Agronomist, Senior Climate Advisor World Vision, Forest Maker, Famine Fighter. Co-developer Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (or FMNR)

Richard St. Barbe Baker fell in love with trees as a child. He had a bonding experience which filled him with love. He shared this feeling with everyone so that they could feel a oneness and a love for trees like he did. His stories about tree planting were published in books, and on radio shows. Other people heard his stories and decided then and there, that they, too would find this love for trees. Richard St. Barbe Baker went on to create a large global group dedicated to the love of trees, and tree planting. So many people were happy to help him, they loved to be friends with Richard St. Barbe Baker and his ideas. These people who joined with Richard to plant trees and protect trees had a special name – Watu Wa Miti -because the first place Richard St. Barbe Baker started was in Africa. Watu Wa Miti are Forest Scouts or Forest Guardians because of the promise they took to help out. Richard St. Barbe Baker saved their lives.

These trees planted created forests habitats and homes for wildlife. Another global wildlife society Canadian Wildlife Federation- saw the importance of Richard St. Barbe Baker’s work, and gave him an award. The Queen of England and the University of Saskatchewan also gave Richard St. Barbe Baker awards for Richard’s worldwide travels to save the planet to protect and plant trees. So it was that Richard St. Barbe Baker received the order of the British Empire, and 50 years ago was bestowed the honourary Doctorate of Laws by John G. Diefenbaker. At this time Diefenbaker was chancellor of the university and went on to become Prime Minister of Canada.

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