Forestry Bureau, Goodall start seed planting project

GREEN FINGERS::The project is aimed at promoting environmental awareness and knowledge among students, who are to plant seeds in campus gardens

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - Page 3

The Forestry Bureau and the Jane Goodall Institute in Taiwan yesterday announced the start of “Roots and Shoots — Green Thumbs Project,” a cooperation project that invites students to plant indigenous plants on school campuses to learn about nature conservation.

“When I was a child, I was lucky because there were several trees in the garden. There was one tree I would climb up when I was sad, and I felt close to the sky and the birds. Trees are something really special,” renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall said in Taipei yesterday.

“There is something I call magic, a spirit, a life force, so powerful that those little roots will work their way through rocks and push them aside to reach water,” she said, “and to reach sunlight, that little shoot works its way through cracks in a brick wall, eventually knocking it down.”

Goodall said that if the rocks and walls are thought of as the environmental and social problems human beings have created, roots and shoots can be seen as the hundreds and thousands of people around the world who can help solve such problems and improve this world.

The Roots and Shoots program is an international environment education project started by Goodall in 1991, aimed at encouraging young people to take action in caring for the environment, community and animals, the bureau said.

The program started with just 12 high-school students in Tanzania, but is now being implemented in 132 countries, Goodall said, adding that many members remember the philosophy of protecting the environment when they enter society as adults.

“We make choices everyday and we think about the consequences of those choices. If we try to make the smallest possible ecological footprint as we walk through life, the world will change, and it is beginning to change,” she added.

Bureau director-general Lee Tao-sheng (李桃生) said the bureau carried out a forestation program in 2008, planting different species of trees according to differences in sea level and land features, adding that the forestation program had covered a total of 222,61 km2 as of the end of September.

The cooperation project with the Jane Goodall Institute is to be initiated in 20 schools in northern Taiwan next year, establishing botanical gardens with indigenous plants, bringing environmental education to young students and encouraging students to plant seeds with their own hands, Lee said.