Baker, Richard St. Barbe, 1889-1982 (alumnus; LL.D (h.c.))

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Baker, Richard St. Barbe, 1889-1982 (alumnus; LL.D (h.c.))

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Richard St. Barbe Baker was born in Southampton, England in 1889. He emigrated to Canada and homesteaded on what is now the site of the Beaver Creek conservation area near Saskatoon, in 1909. He was one of the first 100 students to attend the University of Saskatchewan where, among other things, he operated the first student 'residence' in his barn on the campus, penned the University 'yell,' and initiated freshman John Diefenbaker. St. Barbe also attended Cauis College, Cambridge. He served during World War I, and was invalided in France in April 1918. Following the war he worked briefly for the British Institute for Social Service, helping to establish the Ministry of Health. After completing forestry studies at Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Conservator of Forests in Kenya where, in 1922, he founded the Men of the Trees, enlisting the help of 9000 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 was called upon to advise several nations on forestry matters, and was active in promoting international cooperation in conservation. He published extensively, not only on forestry and trees but also on spiritual and religious topics and health matters. In recognition of his many accomplishments, the University of Saskatchewan conferred an honourary Doctor of Laws on St. Barbe in November 1971. In 1977 the Order of the British Empire was bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II. St. Barbe died on 9 June 1982 while on a visit to the University of Saskatchewan.


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