tree planting

Tree Planting



native hectares autonomous
county remote suitable
chief local miracle
hostile accept imagination
lonely blow (2) handle (2)
cheer cheer up resource
gain pain sapling
mock stick (3)  contribute
vast bureau accomplish
chance touch (2) persistence
establish sacrifice





This woman is Yin Yuzhen. Behind her lies 1,600 hectares of forest that she and her husband have planted over the last 28 years.

Newcomers to this area have no idea how different the land once looked.

Yin, a native of northwest China’s Shanxi province, married Bai Waixiang in 1985, following him to his hometown of Beibeitan, a remote county in north China’s Inner Mongolia’s Autonomous Region.

For local villagers, Yin’s arrival was a surprise.

Cao Yangzhong, Village Chief: “It was strange that she found it suitable to come here; there’s nothing but desert. It was like a miracle.”

For Yin however, the hostile environment was beyond her imagination.

Yin Yuzhen: “It was such a blow to me when I saw the environment. I couldn’t accept it at first.”

The loneliness she experienced was nearly as hard to handle as the environment itself. The first month she spent there, she saw no one other than her husband.

To cheer herself up, she decided to start planting trees in the desert in the spring of 1986.

However she had few resources to help her on the way.

Yin Yuzhen: “The biggest problem was that we had no saplings. But as my mother always told me, ‘No pain, no gain.’ So I decided to stick to my goal.”

Yin’s husband Bai toiled endlessly outdoors for others, accepting no money, but only saplings so that he and his wife could plant them in the desert.

Although many villagers mocked the couple, they managed to plant a vast amount of trees, helping to improve the local climate.

Their accomplishment was also noticed by the local government.

After visiting the forest, Wu Zhaojun, director of the local forestry bureau, was deeply touched by their persistence.

Wu Zhaojun, Local Official: “They live far away so we didn’t have a chance to learn about their story.

And now we have decided to invest by offering them free saplings. We shouldn’t let them sacrifice all their savings without making our own contribution.”

Over the last 28 years, Yin and her husband have planted over 600,000 trees, covering an area totaling over 1,600 hectares.

In 2005, the couple established their own tree-planting company, which also offers organic vegetables.


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1. Locals were surprised when Yin Yuzhen moved to their village. Is this true or false? Why were they surprised?

2. What part of China is this? How did Yin feel in the beginning?

3. What did Yin do? Why did she do this?

4. Did they have a problem in the beginning? How did they solve the problem?

5. The other villagers supported Yin and her husband at first. Is this correct or wrong?

6. Did the local government help? How did they help Yin?

7. What have Yin and Bai accomplished?
A. Does your city have any environmental problems?

B. Is there a tree planting program? Should there be a tree planting program?

C. What are some solutions to environmental problems?

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