North­west Uni­ver­sity in­tro­duces tree-climb­ing course

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By MALIE in Xi’an malie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A tree-climb­ing course was opened this school term at North­west Uni­ver­sity in Xi’an, cap­i­tal of North­west China’s Shaanxi prov­ince, to teach stu­dents skills that might be help­ful in a dis­as­ter or emer­gency sit­u­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment’s of­fi­cial ac­count at China’s mi­cro blog­ging site Sina Weibo, the uni­ver­sity opened the new course to grad­u­ate stu­dents to not only give them an op­por­tu­nity to ob­serve a range of ecosys­tems, but also to pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of canopy re­search.

Chen Chao, one of two teach­ers of the course, who is also a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Ar­bori­cul­ture As­so­ci­a­tion and a reg­is­tered treeclimb­ing master, said that the course re­cruited 13 fe­male stu­dents and 11 males.

“The girls showed more in­ter­est in the train­ing,” Chen said.

The other teacher, Liu Ge, who is an out­door sports in­struc­tor and rock-climb­ing in­struc­tor for the China Moun­taineer­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, showed his tree-climb­ing skills, scal­ing an 8-me­ter-tall tree in just six sec­onds.

Liu Meizhou, a fe­male stu­dent, said that she en­joys out­door ac­tiv­i­ties and of­ten goes moun­tain climb­ing with her friends, but she “wanted to learn some newskills from the tree-climb­ing course”.

An­other stu­dent, Ren Yingkun, said he thinks more stu­dents will want to take the course next se­mes­ter.

The uni­ver­sity is the sec­ond in­sti­tu­tion in China to open a tree-climb­ing course after Xi­a­men Uni­ver­sity in East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince opened a sim­i­lar course in 2012.

Xi­a­men Uni­ver­sity said it opened the course to teach stu­dents special skills to help them es­cape from dis­as­ters, fol­low­ing the ex­am­ple set by some uni­ver­si­ties in the United States.

“We do not let the stu­dents climb trees with­out us­ing ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment to en­sure their safety,” said Lin Jian­hua, of the Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment at Xi­a­men Uni­ver­sity.

Ac­cord­ing to Chen, who was rec­om­mended to North­west Uni­ver­sity by Xi­a­men Uni­ver­sity, the ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment to en­sure tree climbers’ safety in­cludes ropes, safety belts, hel­mets and ca­ble fas­ten­ers.

“We also make sure there are no ob­vi­ous dan­gers around the trees, such as trans­mis­sion tow­ers, hor­net’s nests and dead branches,” Chen said.

North­west Uni­ver­sity’s treeclimb­ing course is sched­uled to have 16 classes this school term, teach­ing stu­dents about equip­ment use, field sur­vival, climb­ing and de­scend­ing, rope tech­niques, di­rec­tional tech­nol­ogy and first-aid skills.

Guan Wei, deputy di­rec­tor of the uni­ver­sity’s sports ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment, said that the course would be ex­panded to in­clude more stu­dents in the fu­ture.

ZHAO BIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

In­struc­tor Chen Chao shows stu­dents how to climb a tree at North­west Uni­ver­sity in Xi’an.

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