It was still late winter in Tongliao, Inner Mongolia in early April. Grasses were underneath the ground waiting for the call of spring. Strong winds blew through villages with dusts and sands. Apparently not tourist season yet. However, volunteers of Million Tree Project had gathered from different directions and planted 2500+ poplar saplings and 8000+ caragana seedlings together. With most sincere wishes, they hope these baby trees can bring future green to the degraded lands.
From April 3 to April 20, there are 228 volunteers from 23 sponsor companies and 7 schools joined the planting trips. Among them, there are dedicated company volunteer who have been there to plant nine times in past six years, and first-time visitors from warm and flourishing southern Hong Kong and Taiwan who’s not so used to the dry sandy environment in north China. This planting troop is comprised with students, teachers and corporate volunteers form a dozen different countries. During their four-days trip, these volunteers sweat heavily to plant trees, carefully pruned the 2010 and 2011 forests, learned knowledge of desertification, soil degradation and ecological restoration through inter-active experiments and demonstration, and understand how the Million Tree Project is implementing in local community. One of the sponsoring company also donated their old laptops and nearly 1000 books to local schools to offer the kids more access to knowledge.
There are ups and downs in the trips. Flight delay for over 6 hours, strong wind, heavy snow, all these failed to set these volunteers back from planting. Even the trip leaders said “They just cannot stop planting!” At the planting scene, there’s no difference in gender, nationality, grade and level, every one dedicated their 100% effort to the work. Many of them shared their feelings lively on WeChat and Weibo with their friends and got a lot of positive feedbacks. Though the trip is short, but the friendship of ‘planting buddies’ will last. Maybe each one have their own reason of joining the tree planting trip. But all of the share the same wish: Keep planting more trees! Some of them even committed to re-visit after years to see the baby tree growing into big forests.
“The more you devote, the stronger you feel. I won’t appreciate this much for what I have now if not being able to see the bareness there.” “Everyone take a small step, the world is closer to a more beautiful future. “ These are the testimonies from trip volunteers. These words strengthen our Roots & Shoots belief again. All of us are here are for good. Small actions together can make big differences.
Let’s plant more trees!
正如志愿者们感言中所说，“投入有多少，感受就有多深！没有亲历荒凉，就不会体会现在拥有的有多美好”，“每个人只要多做一点，这个世界就离美好更近一步。”我们携手共聚于此，Here for Good, 相信小行动能带来大改变。
Photo: GAO Hui