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The naked truth: Time to clean up Moganshan litter

THIS is litter pickup week at scenic Moganshan National Park where Naked Retreats resorts and the environmental group Greennovate are greening a special spot and educating kids, reports Sam Riley.

The stunning natural beauty of Moganshan is being protected with a new, six-month project to mitigate some of the adverse effects of tourism and educate locals on how to look after the environment.

"The Big Litter Pickup" in the mountains of Zhejiang Province is run by boutique resort Naked Retreats, which aims to get people involved in greening a special corner of China.

Moganshan, known for its lush bamboo forests and old villas, is 60 kilometers from Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province, and 200 kilometers from Shanghai.

Throughout this week, schools and interested members of the public will travel to Moganshan National Park to pick up rubbish and help teach kids about environmentally sustainable practices.

The program is run in cooperation with Greennovate, a social business venture, to improve environmental practices in China.

Greennovate operates the Greennovate Environmental Challenge for Kids Outreach scheme that helps kids improve their quality of life through understanding the environmental responsibilities.

The joint six-month program held its first education sessions with middle school students from Moganshan in February.

Naked Retreats' managing director Gabriela Lo says the training is a chance for the company to help the community by assisting in the environmental education of the next generation of decision makers.

"In the last lessons, students learned how we can tell the (carbon) imprint we have on the environment and about electricity, how it is generated and how products are made," she says.

Thus, they learn at which cycle of energy usage they can make a difference for the environment.

The GECKO project has already been rolled out in schools in Guizhou and Hubei provinces, with Greennovate's team teaching large classes of receptive school children.

Greennovate aims to sustain that education long term, with local mentors from corporations taking over school liaison and acting as environmental "beacons" for the kids.

Companies, individuals and schools will also take part in this week's litter pickup in Moganshan National Park.

Companies or interested individuals can take a day trip or stay overnight and assist in clean-up activities in the national park set in pristine mountains and lush bamboo forests.

Sponsorship and donations can also be made, and for 2,000 yuan (US$292) a rubbish bin with a plaque acknowledging the donor can be installed in the park.

As well as receiving a morning education class, participants will get a lunch and afternoon tea.

Lo says the week is a way for people to experience the wonderful nature around Moganshan, while still making a positive impact on the environment.

"We get quite a lot of rubbish from tourism in Moganshan, especially in the high season," Lo says.

Some of the busy spots on the top of the mountain, around tucked-away Naked Retreats and in the village of Moganshan have a litter problem, she says.

Healthy competition will be fostered between litter pickup teams, and hot drinks and cakes will be waiting when the afternoon shifts are over.

As part of its philosophy of sustainability, Naked Retreats will run a candlelit concert at the picturesque 395 Reservoir on March 28, to coincide with the W Earth Hour events around the world.

To observe Earth Hour, people around the world switch off their lights for an hour. The concept was developed in Australia in 2007.

In 2008 an estimated 50-100 million people turned off the lights. Rome's Colosseum and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge went dark for an hour.

In Shanghai's Moganshan, Naked Retreats will organize an intimate candlelit concert around the reservoir, where Spanish guitarist and singer Abraham Carmona will perform his eclectic music melding hip-hop, flamenco, Latin and Middle Eastern sounds.

He will be supported by Chinese folk artist Wu Zhaoling and the drum group Jammala.

Tickets are 350 yuan (US$51.47) each. Proceeds will be split between the World Wildlife Fund and Naked Retreats' environmental education fund to support the GECKO program in schools.

For more information about the litter pickup week and the concert, visit


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