Fonds S721 - Fred Roots fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Fred Roots fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1974-2016 (Creation)
    Roots, E. F.

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Physical description

5.49 m of textual records

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Biographical history

Ernest Frederick (Fred) Roots (1923 - 2016) was a Canadian geologist concentrating on polar science and international environmental research.

Roots was born in Salmon Arm, British Columbia on July 5, 1923. He obtained a BASc and MASc from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from Princeton University.

From 1949 to 1952 Roots was lead geologist of the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition, the first expedition by a team of international scientists. The Roots Range, a mountain range in Antarctica, was named in his honour. Roots was one of the scientists that drafted The Antarctic Treaty, which came into force in 1961.

In 1958 Roots proposed the multi-discipline Polar Continental Shelf program, the comprehensive scientific program in the Arctic. He served as Director until 1971. He was a long-time advisor to the federal Department of the Environment (Environment and Climate Change Canada). After retiring in 1989 he remained as Science Advisory Emeritus until 2003.

In the 1960s he became involved with the international scientific activities of UNESCO, and in 1968 became associated with the Man and the Biosphere Programme. Roots was a member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and its subsidiary bodies. He served as Chair of the Canadian National Committee for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Fred Roots has been highly recognized for his lifetime of work including the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Massey Medal: the Order of Canada in 1987; and the Explorer’s Club Medal in 2016.

On October 18, 2016 Fred Roots died at his home in East Sooke, British Columbia.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds contains records and publications related to the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme. Includes publications, reports, minutes, and other material.

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Immediate source of acquisition

The fonds was acquired from Fred Roots in 2005, and the Roots family in 2017.


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Related material can be found in:
George Francis fonds
Jim Birtch fonds
Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association fonds

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: Room 1-124 Shelf 16-3-1