Be like a tree in pursuit of your
bend to the winds of
Prayer dedicated to Richard St Barbe Baker,
Father of the Trees
"I can imagine a time when a tree was not a tree,
but a distinct individual.
If it is just a tree, one among a whole
forest of trees, it is no great matter to chop it down.
is being removed from the world.
But if we see it as a unique
individual, sacred and
irreplaceable, then we would chop it down only with
might, as many indigenous peoples do, meditate and pray before committing an
act of such enormity.
It would be an occasion for
Only a very
worthy purpose would justify it.
Now, having converted all of these
unique, divine beings into just trees, we level entire forests with hardly a
second thought." -
Barbe Baker was born in a country house in the South of Hampshire, England, on
9 October 1889 and from his earliest days
developed a keen awareness of the
beauty of the forests and trees and the creatures
At Cambridge Richard St Barbe Baker studied forestry and after
finishing his degree he was posted to
Kenya as a forester with the
Appalled by the continued destruction of the
scrublands in the northern highlands by the Kikuyu
tribesmen Richard St Barbe Baker
convinced the people there to plant trees to replace those they had
Richard St Barbe Baker instituted a Dance of The Trees
out of which arose the Men of The Trees, the Swahili for which is
'Watu wa Miti'.
1924 Richard St Barbe
Baker founded Men of The Trees in England and in the same year became
interested in the Baha'i faith, a
faith which he pursued until his death.
Richard St Barbe Baker went to Palestine at the invitation of
Sir John Chancellor, the Governor, to assist in establishing a tree planting
Richard St Barbe Baker spent some time in
Jerusalem co-ordinating a
meeting of the heads of the Islam,
Hebrew and Catholic
communities to plant trees under the banner of Men of The
Richard St Barbe Baker travelled to
America on a lecture tour, during which
he wrote his first book Men of the Trees.
Seeing the giant
Redwoods he became involved in a move to conserve these trees from further
destruction by launching Save the Redwoods Fund which eventually
delivered twelve thousand acres of redwoods to the State of California as a
Richard St Barbe Baker's friendship
with Franklin Delano Roosevelt resulted in the establishment of the Civilian
Richard St Barbe Baker founded the Forestry
Association of Great Britain.
St Barbe Baker goes to Europe, addressing conferences in Germany and Austria
and lecturing to university graduates in Vienna on the importance of tree
Richard St Barbe Baker returned to New York, campaigning for
tree preservation and late in that year led the first Sahara University
Expedition, raising funds by writing Famous Trees.
1954 Richard St Barbe Baker goes to New Zealand at the
invitation of Men of The Trees there to convince the New Zealand
State Forestry Service of the need for trees in Central Otago.
1955 Richard St Barbe Baker organizes
an exhibition in Cambridge called Man Against Nature and a
similar exhibition was staged in Paris.
1982 Richard St Barbe Baker plants his last tree in Saskatoon, Canada,
in a ceremony celebrating World Environment Day.
on Richard St Barbe Baker 's grave marker reads:
RICHARD ST. BARBE BAKER, O.B.E.
9 OCTOBER 1889
- 9 JUNE 1982
FOUNDER MEN OF THE TREES
PIONEER OF DESERT RECLAMATION
THROUGH TREE PLANTING
CRUSADER FOR VIRGIN FORESTS WORLDWIDE
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