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Plot Spotlight: “Under the Blue Sky, Gathering at Donglingshan, Sharing the benefits of Biodiversity"

Plot PI Yan Zhu shares a recap of an educational event held this summer at the Donglingshan forest dynamics plot. Read on to learn more.

a group of people stand in front of a building, smiling and holding flags that represent their schools
The visiting group (photo: Wang Xingyu).

This July, at Donglingshan, a summer resort in the west of Beijing, the activity "Under the Blue Sky, Gathering at Donglingshan, Sharing the benefits of Biodiversity" was organized by Yan Zhu, the Donglingshan plot PI, co-hosted by Yale Club of Beijing, Harvard Club of Beijing, the Dandelion School for peasant-worker families, and Yale Center Beijing. A total of 60 people participated in the event, including 15 teachers and students from the Dandelion School, 45 Beijing alumni and family members from Yale, Harvard and other Ivy League schools. The group members visited the Donglingshan forest dynamics plot and the nearby Beijing Forest Ecosystem Positioning Research Station to enjoy nature and learn about biodiversity in the Donglingshan forest of Beijing. 

A collage of photos, each one showing a different team member standing in front of a white board giving a presentation.
Team members sharing their stories (photo: Quinny).

Dr. Zhu, a former Postdoc from Yale with work experience from the Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, co-hosted the visitors and led them through a nature experience activity. The activity emphasized that human beings are an important part of biodiversity and the importance of human-to-human communication between people in different regions and cultural backgrounds. The team members first gave personal testimonies of their experiences with nature and communication, and then under the leadership of plot volunteers, the visitors experienced the 20-hectare warm temperate forest of Donglingshan by hiking to a high point of the plot to enjoy the spectacular views.

a group of people stand in preparation of a hike, lush green mountains in the background
Yan Zhu introducing the history and vegetation background of Donglingshan (photo: Wang Ping).
a collage of photos of people walking through the forest
Jinyao Nie, Hanwen Zhang, Shuaiwei Xu, and Yan Zhu taught visitors how to survey biodiversity
in large-scale forest plots (photo: Gang Wang & Yiming Ren).

During their time in the field, the team members had an immersive experience of the daily work of field ecologists, learned ecological knowledge such as plant identification, climate observation, and large-scale vegetation survey methods, and gained a better understanding of the hardships and perseverance of field ecologists. The team members discussed ways to protect forest biodiversity and how to build a better home together. Thank you to the Beijing Forest Station, which contributed to the success of the event, and to the editorial department of "Life World,” who donated magazines to the Dandelion school and the Yale Beijing Center.

A collage of photos of a group being led through the forest.
Xingyu Wang and Qingqing Du led a tour of the plot (photo: Tuan Gao).
Two group photos of everyone smiling and holding up their school flag.
Students and teachers from the Dandelion School and Yale and Harvard Beijing alumni
with their families at the summit of the Donglingshan plot (photo: Mengyu Duan and Yang Wang).

Visitors came from The Dandelion School, established in 2005. It is the first and only charitable, non-profit middle school providing equal access to quality education for children from low-income migrant families in Beijing. Supported by about 15,000 volunteers worldwide including those from Tsinghua University, Peking University, Harvard University, Duke University and other world-leading schools, Dandelion School is devoted to educating a new generation of citizens who can contribute and give back to society. Yale Center Beijing opened on October 27, 2014. As the first such center opened by Yale University anywhere in the world, Yale Center Beijing is dedicated to developing leaders from all sectors of society and all regions of the globe.

a collage of group photos, one in the forest, the other two in a classroom
The editorial department of “Life World” taught plants identification skills and donated magazines to the visitors.
The Dandelion School presented thank you postcards to Ms. Yu Sun, President of the Yale Beijing Alumni Association,
Director Pei Kequan of the Editorial Department of “Life World” and all other volunteers (photo: Mengyu Duan).

Thank you to Yan Zhu for sharing this special event! 

Learn more about Donglingshan here.

A woman wearing a hat takes a photo of the beautiful mountain view
At the top of the Donglingshan plot,
overlooking the scenic view of the forest (photo: Yuan Gao).


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