In August 2019, 80 volunteers from 12 companies passed through the Heihe-Tengchong line, entering the Baijitan National Nature Reserve in Ningxia, experiencing desertification and participating in desert control. The reserve is located in the corner of the Maowusu sandland, one of the four major sandlands in China. Here, we mainly lead volunteers to experience the process of combating desertification by making straw grid and planting shrubs.
Our main task in Day1 is to plant hand-sized bare root seedings of Caragana Korshinskii Kom, which is good at desert control, into the sandland. But of course, this is not an easy task for most volunteers who have not been in desert before. One of volunteers from SHIMANO said: “Personal understanding and real practice are very different. I dug a hole very hard, at first, according to my own understanding, but it turned out to be unqualified for planting as instructed by local workers.” “This is totally different from growing a bonsai or online Ant Forest planting.” A volunteer from RICOH added. However, under the guidance of local workers and our team members, volunteers gradually find tips on planting. Finally, more than 80 baskets, about 4,500 bare root seedings of Caragana Korshinskii Kom were planted. Let’s give them time, and wait patiently.
Day 2, make straw grids. To protect sand from moving is the first step to control desert. Volunteers paved abandoned straws evenly on the sandland along a line, and then step on a shovel from the middle of straws, so that two ends will stand up as natural barriers, which can effectively slow down wind speed 20~30 centimeters above the ground, and therefore reduce the amount of sand transported by the wind. Gradually, from above, the straw grids on a slope constructed by volunteers look really good, it is not a simple job for volunteers, especially it is their first time.
In the afternoon, volunteers visited Desertification Prevention and Control Exhibition Hall in the Nature Reserve, and took photos and played on a dune that is intended for comparison purposes. Even though the work in two-day experience for volunteers can easily be done by a professional worker within several days, it is a valuable process for them to get close to nature and get to know desertification. And the process echoes with the Jane Goodall’s expectation — Only if we understand can we care; Only if we care will we help; Only if we help, shall all be saved.
We may be incompetent for Amazon’s fire miles away, but through this project, we can do our best for the desert in front of us.