10 May, 2013
10 : 00
Early in the morning on April 19, six members of YCIS Shanghai Gubei Campus Environment Club departed for Tongliao, Inner Mongolia. We went there as part of our Club’s efforts to raise funds for the Million Tree Project. All throughout the year, we have informed people about how they can plant a tree in Inner Mongolia by donating RMB 25 yuan, but this trip took us even closer to the project.
When we arrived in Tongliao, we had a wonderful welcome dinner, complete with a traditional Inner Mongolian performance and ceremony. The food, the song, and the music relieved our tiredness after traveling for the entire day.
Although the food and performance were lovely, even more memorable was the hard work we conducted in the field. The entire journey was filled with brand new experiences and surprises: from digging holes and planting the seedlings, to pruning trees with saws and scissors, and even the opportunity to trek in the endless white desert. This trip introduced many challenges that most of us had never experienced before; however, everyone was keen to learn, and with practice, those challenges became much easier.
When we visited a forest that had been planted in 2010, we realised how much effort and constant care is needed to grow a single tree, let alone the whole forest. We were astonished to find the green spread in the desert – the results of hard work from previous volunteers and the staff in charge of the site. But at the same time, we pitied the damage desertification had caused: there were no cattle around since there was no grass; and the soil had become less and less moist. This soon developed into our chief motivation for tree planting: we became driven to contribute our strength to the environment to make a difference. Firmly determined, all six of us – including our supervisor Mr Curtis Young – picked up shovels and started working. At the end of the day, our crew had planted more than 1,500 trees, almost triple the amount from last year!
This trip was an amazing opportunity for us to contribute to the environment, but it also provided us with a memorable team building experience. Forests from the Million Tree Project are not created by one individual, but hundreds, even thousands of individuals who share the same intention of slowing down the desertification of Inner Mongolia. I believe that our education at YCIS, along with opportunities for participation in worthwhile organisations like the Million Tree Project, will continue to inspire us and prove that we can be positive sources of change today, and in the future.
Contributed By: Annie Qian, Year 12