BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- From a small sapling to a tree, Liu Weiran, a curious 17-year-old, has often pondered how much a tree grows each year.
Consequently, the eleventh grader from Tsinghua University High School-Chaoyang acquired a habit of regularly visiting the crabapple tree she planted six years ago.
"At that time, I was not very tall, and the tree was even shorter. Now, my height is 1.72 meters, but the tree is much taller than me," she quipped with a smile. Liu's bond with the tree can be traced back to the spring of 2017 when she took part in a tree planting activity, an experience that left a lasting impression in her mind.
On March 29, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping participated in a voluntary tree planting activity in Jiangtai Township in Beijing's Chaoyang District. Liu, then a fifth-grader, and her schoolmates also joined in the tree planting activity.
"I was standing right here, planting trees alongside Grandpa Xi. I vividly remember that he joined us in shoveling and watering the saplings," Liu recalled.
Volunteer tree planting by all citizens is important for raising ecological awareness and creating consensus and synergy in promoting ecological protection, Xi said during the tree planting activity.
"Planting trees now will benefit our future generations, and we should roll up our sleeves to plant more trees year after year, generation after generation," Xi said.
For Liu, the activity served as a pivotal moment in developing her ecological awareness. Ever since she helped plant that sapling, Liu has made it a personal commitment to stay updated on tree-planting initiatives each spring, witnessing the continuous efforts of the Chinese capital to expand its greenery.
The afforestation site where Liu participated in tree planting activity six years ago has turned from former barren sandy land into the current Jiangfu Park, which features functions, such as forest recreation, water-landscape sightseeing, sports activities, and showcases of Beijing's local culture.
Beijing carried out two rounds of afforestation from 2012 to 2022. Thanks to the afforestation efforts, Beijing's forest coverage rate had increased to 44.8 percent by the end of last year.
"More and more trees have been planted in Beijing, and there are more days with blue skies," said Liu, brimming with visible joy.
Now Liu and her family have moved into an apartment where they adorn their rooms with an abundance of potted plants, an evidence of their love for green.
To preserve cherished memories with trees, she planted two Chinese toon trees near her grandmother's home and depicted the two trees on a picture.