It was 12 March, and it’s Tree Planting Day. One such event was going to be held in Shenzhen Central Park that day. Over 5,000 volunteers from 100 companies were to take part in this grand activity, and going with me are my colleagues and their families, plus some high school students.
Since 1981, tree planting on 12 March has become a much-participated public event in mainland China. Shenzhen is, as often happens, the pilot city for launching volunteer activities, which have won great support from volunteers including many of my colleagues. Wang, who works in YICT’s Finance and Legal Department, was one of them. When he joined the Shenzhen Volunteer Association shortly after it was established, he was volunteer number 99. He had registered for the tree planting activity organised by the Shenzhen International Garden and Flower Expo Park in 2005, but was not able to go because of an urgent task. But finally, in 2006, he got his chance.
Early before our arrival at the park, the saplings to be planted were laid besides holes. As we were told, these saplings were a rare species, and it was the first time for this kind of trees to be planted in Shenzhen. Considering the rarity of this species, the Central Park gardeners had helped make the job easier for us by digging the holes for the trees in advance. All we had to do was just to fill it with soil and water the trees.
We divided ourselves into smaller groups, the women holding the trees upright, while the men filled the holes with soil. Working beside us, a group of 50 students we had invited from Shatoujiao Middle School were in high spirits. The students, full of energy, quickly learned the needed skills, although at first they had been unfamiliar with the planting tools. Soon we finished our task, so we then went to help other volunteers in the other lots plant more trees. Two hours later, the saplings were all planted in the park.
Since the end of 1980s, Shenzhen has been putting a lot of effort in its “greenification” project. It has now become one of China’s “garden cities”. Few visitors to Shenzhen, to my experience, do not marvel at the vast greenbelts and wooded areas in the city. However, as the local people may tell you, even Shennan Avenue was but a muddy swamp on rainy days more than a decade ago, totally different from what it is today.
How would one reject the idea of living in green areas? Isn’t it great when you pass by the very trees you planted in the city where you live and work?