From August 9th to 11th, the Million Tree Project (MTP) led a planting trip with a group of twenty-five volunteers to our planting site at Zhaogen village in Tongliao, Inner Mongolia. In just one (long, hard) day, the whole group managed to plant 927 trees!
Day 1, the volunteers visited one of our R&S 2010 forest sites, and as many were returning volunteers, they were able to see the trees they had planted just a few years earlier, and compare the differences the forest had made in such a short time. Forestry Manager Sun LiTao explained the famers’ intercropping techniques, and how this composite model benefits tree growth. After also visiting the slightly older 2011 forest, they were taken to experience the desert and witnessed a breathtakingly beautiful view of the sun setting and a lightning storm at the same time-, a completely natural light show.
On the second day, braving the summer heat, the volunteers finished marking, digging, transporting, planting, filling, watering and planting 927 3-year old pine trees. Although they were working under difficult (hot) conditions, the enthusiasm was still strong and they brought green hope with every sapling they planted, helping to fight desertification in China.
On the last day, new this year, the volunteers went to visit a long-time friend of Roots & Shoots,, Mr. Zhang, whom resides in Inner Mongolia. Volunteers had the chance to talk with him and his family, getting a tour of his farm, and better understanding the practical benefits of the trees they had just planted and their positive effects on the locals. Mr. Zhang’s trees that surround his house have been planted for nearly ten years and have contributed to fertile land and better regional climate conditions, allowing farming and grazing to be possible once again. Mr. Zhang showed everyone the sheep, cattle, and other livestock, he has raised, and invited the volunteers to pick fresh fruit and vegetables from his yard. Many people walked away with super fresh eggs!
Along with the tree planting, the volunteers also enjoyed the local food. During their lunch break, the volunteers were refreshed with organic food from a Mongolian family and enjoyed cold beer that was chilled in a well. Many volunteers even participated in the meal preparation by making the dumplings! After making their own food and learning to care for the planet by planting the trees that they had donated, our company groups walked away with a better understanding of what it’s like to live closely and dependently on our Earth’s natural resources.