Visits to the Village: Exploring the Wetland

By / HIMC / Updated: 22:17,03-July-2022

Editor's note:

"Visits to the Village: Ten Years On" is finally here. This documentary series takes a look at China's newly revitalized beautiful countryside with its verdant vistas and reinvigorated villages nestled in among lucid waters and the lush mountains, as one charming village after another develops their own flavor of rural revitalization through integrating culture and tourism. How do these once impoverished but now pretty villages end up making a pretty penny? What's it like to experience the charms of a Li village given a new lease of life through tourism? What stories have come out of the 'new urbanization+beautiful countryside' innovative integration project?

With the 20th National Congress of the CPC due to commence later this year, “Visits to the Village” highlights the extraordinary achievements made in Hainan's rural areas in the past ten years since the 18th National Congress. Follow Lara as she witnesses the surprising and monumental changes that have taken place in the Chinese countryside and experiences a day in the life of rural residents following the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy within the Hainan Free Trade Port.

Each episode sees Lara travel to a village and experience different roles. In Haikou's Bumao Village, she volunteers as a science teacher and takes students for an educational stroll through the Tanfengyang Provincial Wetland Park. She takes over from a guesthouse owner and experiences the charms of a Li village making new inroads with tourism in Zhongliao Village, Sanya, before surfing on down to Hainan's 'Santorini' in Tianya town, where she learns and then teaches others to paddle-board. In Haikou's Qilou historic quarter, Lara and her friend don traditional Chinese Qipao dresses and experience the quaint delights of times gone by. At the Soong Family Cultural Park, she gets an insight into 'Red' culture in her role as a tour guide. 

Some people are tourists. Others are travelers. Whatever kind you are, Hainan has something to offer you. Should you stray off the beaten path and head away from the beaches and duty free stores that make the island famous, consider a visit to Tanfengyang. Located just about an hour by car from downtown Haikou, this village is neighbored by one of the most beautiful wetland parks the island has to offer. 

Heading out early, the trip to our destination saw the new day greet us with a beautiful sunrise and all sorts of animals taking their morning constitutionals. From fat gray water buffalo grazing on the damp grass to fast white ducks taking a refreshing dip, everything was accompanied by a chorus of cheerfully chirping birds hidden in the surrounding trees.  The closer we got to our starting point, the more I wondered what my mission for the day was going to be. 

Would I have to be a tour guide of some sorts? A nature conservationist? I'd find out soon enough. "OCT Nature School" said the sign on the little building. To be honest, having skipped a cup of coffee on my way out the door, the prospects of just staring at the beautiful view opposite the building interested me far more than going to school, but, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Inside the classroom building, I was rather surprised at the variety of educational tools available - fish swimming around in tanks, three dimensional bubble posters with all kinds of information, and different areas categorized according to different content! Up on the 2nd floor, there was even a birdwatching room.

As I explored, the happy babbling sound of children’s voices informed me that today's task would be teaching them a class on environmental protection, biodiversity and nature. Yip! Even without coffee, this was totally something I could do! I feel very strongly about these topics and I love children. As a result, I was confident that this would be a pretty easy little mission. Except... it wasn’t. No lesson plans were provided to me and the first class of precocious brats were disruptive, disobedient and distracted. Not that I could blame them. I know I wouldn’t want to attend classes of any sort on the weekend and there was all this beautiful Outside we could be looking at instead of the Inside of the classroom. 

Stepping out for a breather, I strategized for a while and with the help of an on duty staff member giving some valuable advice for teaching the children about nature, came up with Plan B. OCT Nature School's goal—which I think they do alright at—is to create an immersive educational experience for children. In addition to a classroom with books and the other aforementioned educational tools, it's located on the edge of a stunning bit of wetlands. 

“Take the children outside to play, and teach them from there,” the young man said. From taking peeks into the insect world, and using the binoculars to see what birds and animals we could see in the distance, the unruly monsters I'd been dealing with in the classroom metamorphosed into obedient angels once we were in the wetlands. Children are often smarter than we think: they knew the answers as to why we shouldn’t litter and what the consequences would be if we did. But, sometimes they need to be guided in the right direction. This is why lessons on nature, biodiversity and environmental protection are absolutely necessary.



Having questions about living or working in Hainan? Leave it below. 

Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browser our site and use the services you agree to our use of cookies, Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree