Walking down a small, unnoticeable alley in Qionglin of Hsinchu, as the red house and green trees came into view, it was like traveling back in time. Basking in the natural environment, an escape from city life, where the singing of the birds and insects and refreshing smell of bamboo take you to a tranquil village rich in biodiversity, culture and history called Paper Hut Nest.
The winding trail is the only path that can take people to this tranquil paradise. Surrounded by mountains, the natural landscape featuring a bamboo forest and abundant water makes the area perfect for making paper. Paper Hut Nest residents are determined to preserve the natural appearance and coexist in harmony with nature. They turn the fast-growing bamboo into paper to reflect the heartwarming gift this piece of land has bestowed upon them. For them, this land and paper made from bamboo play an important role in bringing families together. In face of technological advancement, this traditional paper making industry has struggled to adapt and is forced to be eliminated. However, the people insisted on keeping the name of the place, Paper Hut Nest. Moreover, Chuan Lao Pavilion was built to display traditional manufacturing tools as a show of respect to their ancestors.
Liu Bang-ping got teary eyed remembering the words his grandfather said before he passed. His grandfather urged him to think of ways to make good use of the characteristics of bamboo to foster the industry in Paper Hut Nest, fueling his determination to revive and restore prosperity in Paper Hut Nest back. Liu said, “Even though natural bamboo products are gradually being replaced by plastic and stainless steel, I still firmly believe that as long as we combine bamboo, culture, creativity and daily commodities together, we can awaken people’s love for this land.
Over 70 years of age, Mr. Liu has devoted himself to protecting this land and building a better future for Paper Hut Nest. Right after he recovered from an illness, he returned back to the forest and took care for the bamboo as if they were his children. As we watched him enthusiastically showing us around the area and his free spirit and light-footed steps, we didn’t see any trace of aging on him. Mr. Liu said that before he became sick, he would roam freely in the forest. His words, filled with love and affection for this place, told us the story of this precious natural landscape and gave us an in-depth tour, from the mulberries and Ecdysanthera rosea to the butterflies, pomelo flower, paper mulberry, Phyllosticta gardeniicola Sawada and thorny bamboo. Mr. Liu also happily shared with us rare wild orchids growing in the bamboo forest where there are no pollutants or risks of damage. Thanks to the dedication of local residents, Paper Hut Nest is a place filled with surprises; it is the most precious gift nature has given us.
As time passes by, Paper Hut Nest has gradually transformed into a tourist attraction. The Paper Making Workshop was established to give tourists the chance to make their own paper from bamboo and feel the warmth of the paper. They can also make dream catchers, doors and windows from bamboo. By giving tourists an enriching experience, the culture and legacy of bamboo can be preserved for many years to come.
The land is home to a diversity of living organisms. We shall cherish the land we live on, the land we live in harmony with nature, in order to achieve sustainability and build a better and brighter future for all of us. Let’s feel the tranquil beauty of nature and enjoy the gift it has given us.