Baker, Richard St. Barbe, 1889-

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Baker, Richard St. Barbe, 1889-

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Born October 9, 1889 near Southhampton, England, Richard Edward St. Barbe Baker was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham; Emanual College, University of Saskatchewan; and Cambridge University where he completed forestry studies. Following service in World War II, and a brief stint with the British civil service, St. Barbe was appointed Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kenya. There in 1922, he founded the Men of the Trees, enlisting the help of 9,000 voluntary tree planters in an attempt to arrest the invading Sahara. This society, which grew into an international organization, became the central cause of St. Barbe's life. He became a renowned forestry consultant, and over the years was called upon to advise governments in many nations on forestry and conservation matters, including Palestine, New Zealand, the United States, Africa, and India. He also was active in promoting international co-operation and was involved in preparations for the first World Forestry Congress held in Rome in 1926. In addition to his extensive forestry and conservation activities, St. Barbe wrote and published widely and has more than thirty books and scores of articles to his credit. While much of his writing is autobiographical in nature, he also wrote about tree, forestry and conservation concerns, spiritual and religious topics, health matters, and horses, and also produced some material specifically for children. Throughout his life St. Barbe was constantly in demand as a public lecturer, speaking to numerous audiences in many countries, and gave talks in schools all over Britain and New Zealand. His radio talks were featured on the BBC in Britain, and he was also heard on radio in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Africa. Beyond his forestry and literary activities, St. Barbe was strongly involved with the Baha'i Faith, and was a proponent of healthful living. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 1972, and in 1977 the Order of the British Empire was bestowed upon him. Richard St. Barbe Baker was married twice. His marriage to Doreen Whitworth in 1946 ended in divorce in 1953. This union produced a daughter Angela, and a son, Paul. In 1959 St. Barbe married Catriona Burnett. Her home at Mount Cook Station, New Zealand remained his residence until his death, which occured on June 9, 1982 in Saskatoon while on a visit to the University of Saskatchewan.

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