2024 Tree Planting Trip

    Inner Mongolia


  • Dear Participants,


    Welcome to the 2024 Tree Planting Trip! To all of our volunteers, your participation in this trip is proof of your passion and dedication to the environment. As the organizer, Shanghai Roots & Shoots strives to make this trip a very special experience for you. That is why we have developed this General Trip Guidelines package for you - to equip you with full knowledge going to Inner Mongolia.


    These Guidelines will introduce you to Shanghai Roots & Shoots, how the Million Tree Project operates, our achievements to date, our destination, our planned activities, local facilities, packing requirements, a planting/pruning guide, and more. If you have further questions, please contact Shanghai Roots & Shoots staff immediately; we will do our best to assist you.


    As the purpose of this trip is environmental restoration, we strongly request your individual actions reflect our values and help us make this an eco-friendly trip. Here are some of our suggestions:

    - Pack wisely. Less is more

    - Bring your own toiletries (toothbrush, shampoo, soap in small containers)

    - Bring your own chopsticks and tumblers

    - No littering

    - Reduce food and drink garbage

    - Print less: save electronic copies in your phone and other devices


    We would not have achieved this forest planting experience without the support and help from all of you. With this tree planting trip, we hope you will walk away with an understanding of what is going on in other parts of China, learn about the ecological conditions there, and experience the hard work of tree planting and maintenance. As Dr. Jane Goodall always encourages us, let’s learn to understand, care and help.


    Kind Regards,

    The Million Tree Project Team, March, 2024


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    “Only if we understand can we care; Only if we care will we help; Only if we help, shall all be saved.”


    ——Dr. Jane Goodall

  • Trip Itinerary


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    Day 1 Traveling and settling in Inner Mongolia

    12:00, Assembling @Shenyang Airport

    13:00-17:00, Take bus to Kezuohou Qi

    17:00-18:00, Arrive and check-in @Bowang Hotel

    18:00-20:00, Welcome dinner in Mongolian style at hotel

    22:00, Sleep Time

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    Day 2 Take action to fight climate change

    07:00-08:00, Breakfast

    09:00-11:30, Bus ride to tree planting site & Tree planting

    11:30-13:30, Lunch break

    13:30-16:30, Tree planting

    16:30-17:30, Bus ride back to Kezuohou Qi

    18:00-19:00, Dinner & Group sharing

    22:00, Sleep Time

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    Day 3 Facing the problem and reflect

    07:00-08:00, Breakfast

    08:00-09:00, Bus ride to desert

    09:00-11:00, Visit desert

    11:00-13:30, Lunch break

    13:30-14:00, Bus ride to old MTP forest sites from in previous years

    14:00-16:00, Pruning

    16:00-18:00, Bus ride to Kerzuohou Qi

    19:00-20:00, Dinner

    22:00, Sleep Time

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    Day 4 Review and Sharing

    07:00-08:00, Breakfast

    08:00-08:30, Check out & Take off

    08:30-13:30, Bus ride to Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, lunch break on the way

    By 13:30, Arrive at the airport


    DOs & DON’Ts

    No sexual, racial or ethical misconduct will be tolerated. All incidences should be reported immediately to trip leaders and/or team leaders.


    • DO report to your team in the event of any problem or emergency.
    • DO be culturally sensitive. Be mindful of local traditions, customs and hospitality.
    • DO dress for changeable weather. Dress in layers that you can easily peel off or put on.
    • DO be punctual and adhere to the trip itinerary.
    DO listen to tree planting instructions in order to ensure seedlings are planted correctly as this affects their survival rate.
    • DO be aware of your surroundings: care must be taken not to harm any animal or plant at the planting sites.
    DON’T smoke or leave any lit material in the forests and grassland.
    • DON’T leave your valuables (if any) lying around unattended. You are responsible for your own items.
    DON’T stray from your group, wander off alone, or straggle when Trip Leaders are calling you to the bus. Stay close to your group at all times.
    • DON’T litter.
    • DON’T take anything (plants or animals) from the sites.
    • DON’T consume alcohol if you are below 18.
    • DON’T partake in illicit drug use.



  • Contact Information

    Regional Director 地区事务主管

    王凯 Wang Kai 187 4734 0263

    陈汉龙 Chen Hanlong 187 2112 6896

    Trip Director 行程主管

    刘苋 Xian Liu 137 0185 0505

    郭珈源 Jiayuan Guo 135 2491 4037

    Hospital 医院

    Kezuohou Qi Hospital科左后旗人民医院     

    0475 5217658

    Emergency Number 紧急电话



    Team Leader 领队


    Leader for the April 9 to April 12 Trip

    肖霞 Xia Xiao 189 3028 9891

    Team Leader 领队


    Leader for the April 12 to April 15 Trip

    陈婷 Ting Chen 138 1636 2425

    李梦媛 Sarah Li 159 0044 3074

  • Packing List

    While tree planting is not extremely physically challenging, all participants should be prepared to cope with local conditions.


    • Comfortable jeans or sports trousers for tree planting
    • Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots for tree planting (it is very sandy, the sneakers with netted/mesh material are not recommended) and socks
    • T-shirts or other tops that are comfortable, flexible, and stain resisitant
    • A hat or scarf (to block wind and sand)

    *Reminder: The weather varies from day to day and day to night so bring layers that can be removed or put on easily.


    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Soap, towel, and other shampoo and shower items
    • Personal medicine kit

    *Reminder: The hotel provides towel, single-use toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and other shower items. But we encourage you to bring your own to reduce waste and carbon footprint.


    • Water bottle
    • Chopsticks
    • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
    • Cell phone (with sufficient credit balance) and cell phone charger
    • Case or protector for electronics

    *Reminder: We will provide barreled water as possible as we can, please bring your own bottle to reduce the use of bottled water. Although some local restaurants offer reusable chopsticks, some still only have single use chopsticks. So, we encourage you to bring your own pair to reduce waste and carbon footprint.

    Kind Reminders

    • Don’t forget to bring your passport or ID
    • Pack as little as possible
    • Don’t pack valuables like jewelry or expensive clothes
    • No liquid >100ml in carry-on luggage
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     Be prepared to get dirty and HAVE FUN!

  • Useful Information

    Local Weather

    During the month of April, the temperature ranges between 2-20°C. Be prepared for heavy winds and possible sandstorms. Under direct sunlight the temperature rises fast. The air is very dry and dusty.


    The hotel on this trip has good facilities; rooms have TV sets, air-conditioners and other basic amenities. Wired internet connections and Wifi are both available in hotel rooms but be aware that the connection might not be ideal.


    The Bo Wang Hotel is located in downtown Ganjig(甘旗卡镇),just next to the main road. Taxis are easy to hire here, however, most are finished work at 9:00pm. If you need a taxi, call the hotel staff for help.


    Participants from different companies might need to share a double room if there’s no one to share with from the same company. Please inform R&S team in advance of any special accommodations and pay the extra cost.


    Teacher chaperons are supposed to distribute rooms for their students. Chaperons will need to share rooms with the same gender during the trip, and their rooms need to be located near the students’ rooms.


    Medical Emergencies

    There are small hospitals in Horqin Left Wing Rear Banner(科尔沁左翼后旗)that are equipped to deal with minor accidents. Should we encounter a more severe medical emergency, the nearest hospital is in Tongliao City, a 1-2 hour drive away.


    There are pharmacies within 10 minute walk from the hotel. Although getting regular medicine is not difficult, we still suggest you bring your own personal medication.


    All participants should inform Shanghai Roots& Shoots if there are any special considerations, including allergy history, religion, and special dietary needs, etc. As a school group, the information should be provided by the teacher chaperons.



    The local food is northeastern Chinese style: a bit spicy and salty, especially for people who come from the southern areas. Meat dishes typically dominate the table (esp. beef, mutton, pork and chicken). We will order a few vegetarian dishes and rice at every meal. If you have other requirements, please let R&S staff know in advance.



    The hotel has standard western style toilets (flushing toilets) in each room; however, squatting toilets are more common in the town’s restaurants and communal toilets are more common in suburban areas. During the planting, there are no toilet facilities nearby. If needed, find a bush or covered area as a natural toilet.



    Air conditioned buses are available for the entire trip. But we may transfer to a truck or walk into the forest sites if the road condition is not good for bus ride.


    Language and Religion

    Both Han and Mongolian people live in Tongliao. Mandarin is the dominant language in the town, but not as common in the smaller Mongolian villages. There is also a strong accent in the Mandarin that local people speak.


    In Kulun, Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion; there is a compound of historic monasteries in town that is very famous, which is called 三大寺 (San Da Si) in Chinese.



    Shopping in Ganqika is convenient. There is a big supermarket about 100 meters across the street and some nearby small grocery stores that open later at night.


    If you would like to bring back souvenirs for your family and friends, beef jerky and cheese products are popular choices .


    Generally, the shops and restaurants accept cash and mobile pay. ATM is also available in the town center. There is a China Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) next to BoWang Hotel.

  • Background Information

    Shanghai Roots & Shoots

    The Shanghai Roots & Shoots program is part of a global network of localized non-profit organizations (NPO) that promote an active civil society in over 130 countries worldwide. Established in 1999, the Shanghai Roots & Shoots program encourages youths to become advocates for environmental and wildlife protection, as well as poverty alleviation and social initiatives by giving them the tools and support to carry out projects of their own design. In 2004, Shanghai Roots & Shoots became the only foreign affiliated non-profit organization formally approved by the government of the People’s Republic of China. Roots & Shoots exists in Shanghai as a broad network of organized student groups that affiliate with over 430 schools, ranging from primary to university level. Student volunteers organize hands-on projects that include citywide recycling drives, environmental educational initiatives, and poverty alleviation projects in neighboring provinces.


    At present, our projects focus more on sustainable development. Some of the programs we run include the Eco-Office Program, YES Program, the KidStrong Program, the Organic Garden program, the Wutongshu Program, and the Home of Hope Program. Shanghai Roots & Shoots’ biggest program to date is the Million Tree Project. Our projects have seen tremendous success and are generally implemented on a long-term basis. We believe that these volunteers embody China’s growing enthusiasm for environmental protection. Shanghai Roots & Shoots continues to see the desire and demand for further environmental and humanitarian education and protection in China. Where we are today and where we hope to grow, can only be accomplished with the generous support of our sponsors.


    The Million Tree Project

    The Million Tree Project, which began in 2007, aims to raise community awareness of the Earth’s precious environment while focusing on steps individuals can take to lessen their negative impact on the natural world. By planting trees in Inner Mongolia, the project is designed to improve both ecological and humanitarian conditions there. The project gives individuals and organizations an opportunity to fight climate change by planting oxygen-producing trees. It also encompasses true capacity building as the local population is intimately involved with, and benefits from, every step of planting, maintaining and monitoring the trees.


    Receiving tremendous support and donations, Shanghai Roots & Shoots has successfully planted TWO million trees over the past ten years in Hure Banner(库伦旗)and Horqin Left Wing Rear Banner(科尔沁左翼后旗)in Tongliao, Inner Mongolia. The average survival rate of MTP forests is 72.98%. Besides planting, community and education programs are implemented through our program to raise awareness and assist local living standards, ensuring positive impacts and project sustainability. Significant impact is observed in terms of vegetation restoration and ecosystem reconstruction in the forests planted 10 years ago.

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    Sponsoring one tree costs RMB 25, including all expenses needed throughout the tree’s life. After trees being planted, our full-time forestry managers, with their academic background in forestry and agriculture, work on-site to evaluate how the trees are growing and to ensure continued success by assessing the technical aspects. Regular observation and annual investigations are conducted by forestry managers to provide information and data for solid, reliable forest reports in a long term. We also cooperate with the Department of Forest Science’s Nursery Technology Cooperative at Oregon State University, USA.


    Local farmers help plant, monitor, and maintain the trees growing on their land. The farmers are licensed to harvest the trees that have reached maturity, but only on the condition that they replant on the same plot. During the trees’ infancy, local farmers are encouraged to inter-plant crops such as watermelons, beans, millet etc., for extra income; this benefits biodiversity and nutrition for the trees at the same time. By consulting experts and following local conditions, the main tree species planted include hybrid poplars (Populus simonii), yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolia) and scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestnis var. mongolica Litv.). By far, 2,922,765 trees have been planted on 42 forest plots, covering an area of 2,630.8 hectares in Tongliao, Inner Mongolia.


    Every year, Shanghai Roots & Shoots staff, volunteers, and sponsors travel to Inner Mongolia to plant trees with local farmers. The trips are scheduled in April to coincide with the best planting season. Volunteers who participated in the trip will join activities such as tree planting, pruning, measuring and desert visiting.

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    Where we plant



    Lying on the south part of Horqin Sandy Land, the municipality of Tongliao has a total area of 59,535 km2. It stretches 418km from north to south, and 370km from east to west. It’s within the coordinates of E 119°14′- E123°43 and N 42°15′- N45°59. The landscape and the climactic conditions of the area have played a pivotal role in the process of desertification. Both the north and south of Tongliao is higher, the middle part comparatively low, making this municipality seem like a horse saddle. The North part are hills with elevation 400-1300m, taking 22.8% of the total area of Tongliao. The South part are hills with an elevation of 550-730m, taking about 7.0% of the total area. The Middle is sandy alluvial plain with an elevation of 120-320m, taking 70.7% of the total area. Among these, there are zones of transition with rolling sand dunes and sandy lands, with elevations of 200-400m.


    Classified as a Continental Steppe Climate (influenced by monsoons), Tongliao experiences four distinct seasons. Each spring the prefecture encounters very dry and cold conditions with heavy winds; and while the summers are much warmer, they are also very humid and short-lived. The annual average temperature of Tongliao is only 0-6°C and annual accumulated temperature of 3,000-3,200 °C, making life difficult for a primarily agricultural based economy, as they also only receive 140-160 frost-free days in the year. Despite the cold air, the area still receives a great deal of sun exposure. The accumulated hours of daylight throughout the year average 3,000 (compared to New York, USA which averages 2,207 hours). Tongliao only receives 340-400mm of rainfall per year, but evaporate five times the amount of rain that falls. Additionally, the average wind speed is 3-4.4 mi/second, and can reach a level 8 out of 12 or higher on the Beaufort scale, 20-30 days per year.



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    Hure Banner(库伦旗)


    Hure Banner is in the southwest of Tongliao, to the east of the Horqin desert. Hure town, where the government is located, is 230 km away from Shenyang (our airport destination). It has a total area of 4,716 km2, of which about 20% is farmland. Of Hure’s 175,000 inhabitants, approximately 80% are farmers. The banner (Qi) consists of six towns (Sumu) and 186 villages (Gacha); they are home to eleven nationalities, with Mongolians accounting for the majority (56%) of the population.


    In approximately 1632, Tibetan Buddhism arrived and the land was renamed Manjushi Li Hure Banner by the monks. Shortly thereafter in 1646, the Qing dynasty established themselves and ruled the area under a theocratic government for the next 285 years. In 1947, the people’s government of Hure Qi replaced the old system and continues till now.


    Tourism in Hure Banner is very rich and full of national features. It is the birthplace of Andai Art, and has therefore been known as Inner Mongolia’s “banner of culture” since the 1960s. In 1996, Hure Banner was officially bestowed the title of “Town of Andai Art” by the Ministry of Culture. The dance performance, the Legend of Andai, was created by Mulanmuqi, and is now recognized as a new type of Korqin Monglian Drama. In 2005, Mongolian Andai Dance was among the first to be recognized on China’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage items. Other points of interest in Hure include tombs and the Hei City ruins from the Liao Dynasty, and monasteries from the Qing Dynasty. The compound housing the Xingyuan Monastery, Fuyuan Monastery and Xiangjiao Monastery has been awarded as a provincial cultural relic protection unit.


    Hure Banner is one of the poorest regions in Inner Mongolia. Its economic activities combine farming and controlled grazing. Throughout its history, traditional agriculture has played a leading role in the local economy while industry has been less significant. In the past few decades, the local income per capita and fiscal revenue has been comparatively low. In 1994, Hure Banner was designated as an impoverished area, and as a result, in 2002 the area was selected to be a key area for anti-poverty initiatives. In 2006, the average disposable income per capita among town residents was 7,755 RMB; the average net income of peasants and herdsmen was 2,890 RMB.

    Horqin Left Wing Rear Banner(科尔沁左翼后旗)


    Horqin Left Wing Rear Banner is in the south of Tongliao. In short, it is called Ke Zuo Hou Qi. Its neighbors include Shuangliao of Jijin Province in the northeast, Zhangwu, Kangping and Changtu of Liaoning Province in the east and south, Hure Banner, Naim Banner, Hure Town, Horqin District and Ke Zuo Zhong Qi in the east and north. Ke Zuo Hou Qi covers an area of 1,1476 km2, and has a population of 400,000 people (Year 2014). There are 24 towns in total.


    Ke Zuo Hou Qi is in between the Horqin Sandy Land and Songliao Plain. Only 3% of the area is flood plain, located in the conjuncture of East Liao River and West Liao River. All the rest are landscape characterized by mixture of sand dunes and grasslands. The highest point is 308.4m and lowest point is 88.5m.


    Ke Zuo Hou Qi is the hometown of the famous general in Qing Dynasty, Zenggelinqin. The most famous tourist sites include Da Qing Go, also known as the Pearl of Sandy Land, the Liao Tomb in Tuerji Moutain and Shuangheer Mountain in Agula Town.


  • Glossary


    Below are some phrases that may be useful during the trip. Try practicing with a friend!

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