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Jadav’s Forest
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

In a small forest hut outside a tiny village in eastern India lives a man named Jadav Payeng. Jadav has lived in this rural region of India for his entire life. He raises cattle, and his only source of income is the milk they produce. But despite his humble life, Jadav is admired across the world.

When Jadav was 16, he worked as a laborer for a local government project. Jadav and the other laborers were working to save a sandy island in the middle of a river. The island was slowly being washed away by the river. Jadav’s job was to plant trees on the island. Their roots would bind the soil together, preventing it from washing away and saving the island.

When the project was over, the other laborers moved on. But Jadav continued caring for the island. For the next thirty-nine years, he nurtured the tiny forest he had begun. He introduced new types of trees: first bamboo, then cotton, then others. Over time, the sandy patch of land transformed into a beautiful forest.

Today, Jadav’s forest is home to tigers, deer, monkeys, and many types of birds. For six months of every year, a herd of around one hundred elephants calls the forest home. The forest now measures 1,300 acres. But Jadav does not believe his work is done. He is currently planting another 5,000 acres, with the goal of transforming more of its sandy desert soil into greenery.

Jadav has become famous for his work, but fame has not changed him. His focus is still his forest. He says, “It gives me inspiration. It gives me power…As long as it survives, I survive.”

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