Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

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Sep 22nd
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Home Environment Care Tree Planting Boorowa Tree Planting

Boorowa Tree Planting

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Tzu Chi participated in the annual Boorowa tree planting project organised by Boorowa Landcare & Greening  Australia.  Tzu Chi volunteers travelled to the NSW country town of Boorowa and helped plant thousands of local trees.

The aim of the planting is to provide habitat for the endangered species Superb Parrot while also reducing the effects of soil erosion and soil salinity.

Below is an article written by one of the Tzu Chi volunteers (Shu- Fung Wei) sharing her experience of the tree planting field trip.

Have you ever planted 2,650 trees in two days?’ Even this question itself sounds implausible. But that is what I did on the second weekend of the April 2010 and it was what another nearly forty people did on the same weekend.

When I first heard of the weekend tree planting project in Boorowa, my first reaction was I could not make it due to my work and study commitments. However, unable to resist the temptation of having a fun weekend, I decided to take time off at work and prepared my examine…on my way to Boorowa.

The night before our departure, Brother Anderson briefed the team on the environmental issues facing Boorowa and Murray Darling Basin. Stung by the severe erosion in Boorowa, I began to sense there was more to this tree-planting project than just a fun weekend.

It was still dark when we left Tzu-chi at five o’clock in the morning. Everyone moved swiftly and quietly to minimise noise that would otherwise disturb our neighbours. Once we got into the bus, we fell silent again. This time, everyone was trying to make up the sleep that was deprived the night before.

In four hours time, we arrived in Boorowa. After a quick demonstration on how to plant a tree, we dispersed to look for places to host our trees. Unlike what I initially believed, the day slipped through our fingers, picks, and sweat. Before I could think about hunger and tiredness, we were told to pack up and head back to our shelter of the night – the entertainment hall of a local school.

With a combination of factors, delicious food prepared by Brother Ho and the fact that we had laboured the whole day, everyone was gulping down their dinner and kept going back to the kitchen for more. During dinner time, Brother Freeman, a visiting Tzu-chi volunteer from the States, asked what were in our mind when we planted trees. ‘Nothing’, I replied. I did not really expect any one could think of anything else while slaving away digging, planting trees and watering yards and yards of soils. But Brother Freeman surprised me. Brother Freeman said he was praying for a good chance of survival for the trees he planted. At that moment, I felt as if I had not planted a tree at all. What was the point of planting a tree, if I did not sincerely wish the best of its survival?

Bearing this thought in mind, I woke up determined that I would pray for every tree I planted on the second day. This little extra step immediately made a significant difference to my tree planting experience. What I previously perceived as a simple good deed that benefited our environment now becomes an experience that I feel a sense of personal involvement. I no long just planted and watered trees. I started to hope that they would survive the wind, the rain and the harsh weather condition. I pictured how tall they will grow in a year time and I wondered how I would feel when this used-to-be treeless land was filled with a forest that was planted by hands, by us, by Tzu-ching, in ten years time. I could never feel more proud. To me, at that moment, what we had planted was more than a tree. It was a hope, a wish and a dream.

It is a hope that every small tree we plant will grow into a strong tree that stands on its own right to fight the wrongs we did to our environment. It is a wish that each evidently hardship displayed on the face of those selfless volunteers will make people rethink about their unconscious mischievous in dealing with our limited resources. It is a dream that, one day; we will all learn our lessons and stop exploiting our mother nature. These realizations made me think again: this weekend certainly was not just a tree planting weekend. It is a weekend planting for our future.

Once again, the second day flew. Instead of feeling tired, everyone remained high spirited and excited. Looking across the region where we have planted trees, I felt sense of achievement. While I was unsure of when, I have no doubt that I will be coming back here again. Not only I want to plant more tress but also I want to witness the growth of our hopes.

 

" When we have nothing to do and idle away our time, our spirit becomes weak and life seems meaningless. "
Jing-Si Aphorism