TAKANO Takako Received Dragonfly Award at PBE Conference in Flint, MI
エコプラスの高野孝子代表理事は、2019年11月8日に米国ミシガン州で開かれたPlace Based Education Conferenceで、長年にわたっての場の教育への取り組みに対して「ドラゴンフライアワード」を受賞しました。1990年代から、アラスカやミクロネシア、日本の農山村などを舞台に、その地で積み重ねられた自然と共生する知恵と技を基礎とした学びを構築してきたことが評価されました。
TAKANO Takako, executive director of ECOPLUS, received “Dragonfly Award” at Place Based Education Conference in Flint, Michigan in the US on November 8, 2019 for her two decades long efforts for the PBE. The organizer of the conference, Mary Whitman of Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, said that TAKANO was chosen because of her efforts on PBE through adventurous expeditions and other activities in many places in the world for long years.
The conference was organized by Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, GLSI, and was the seventh meeting with teachers, researchers, academics, administrators and students from 22 states including Hawaii and representatives from Japan, Canada, and Germany. The 335 registered attendees exchanged active conversations throughout the two days of 8 and 9 November.
Nearly 90 sessions throughout the conference reported a variety of examples of PBE in formal and informal education. In Michigan, PBE is now embedded in teacher education and more than 20% students are taking PBE courses, one of the professors said.
In the session, titled “What is a priority?”, TAKANO reported her research on programs in Japanese rural villages and on a Micronesian island. Many program participants from cities acquired foundational learning linked to values through direct contact with the nature, culture and people of the place.
ECOPLUS held organic rice farming workshop called “Tanbo no I-ro-ha” or “ABC in a rice paddy,” on 8-9 June, 2019 at Tochikubo village in Niigata, Japan, having 35 students from Waseda University in Tokyo.
Since we had very limited rain falls in May, some areas of rice paddies dried up and it helped weeds to grow seriously specially at our non-chemical, totally organic paddies. Students waled into the paddy with bare feet and used fully opened hands like as rakes to clear weeds.
Paddies were filled by water thanks to the rain since Friday evening but in most of the paddies the soil was so solid because of long dry condition that it was difficult to push fingers in the soil and we needed to pull out each weeds. Started the work at 9 am on Sunday, it took 4 hours and more to finish two rice paddies which size is over 1,000 square meters.
Beside weeding in rice paddies, villagers gave them lectures, and a specialist conducted nature tour. Through those students had a chance to feel the relationship between nature, life and community. They left comments like, “I strongly leant the true meaning of to live”, “I understood the hardship of farming”, “I should have more appreciation on food”.
ECOPLUS hosted a group of students from University of Michigan from 19 to 20 May in Minami-Uonuma for their learning on the relation with environment, life and culture through experiencing rice planting, weaving and other activities.
On 19th, they strolled around the village of Tochikubo which is located on the slope of around 500 meters elevation. They were deeply impressed by the scenery of mountains covered by white snow and young green, saying “this land might be so expensive.” They also encountered an old lady who was drying mountain vegetable called “Zenmai.”
On 20th, they experienced traditional rice planting by hands. They screamed a bit while they put their bare feet in the muddy soil of the paddy but later they acquired how to plant young seedlings in line and they finished the work in three hours.
On the last day, 21st, they came back to the city area, “Shiozawa,” to learn about the local ramie cloth called “Echigo-Zyofu,” which has over a thousand year history. Specialists from Echigo-Jofu technique preservation association demonstrated how to get fibers fro the skin of the plant, how to dye the yarn for patterns, and how to weave. Some of the students experienced actual works by their hands.
Through the three-day stay, they seem to deepen the understanding on the relation with life and nature, like getting fuels from the forest, drinking water from the spring, making the water system running around all the terraced rice paddies.
On December 1, at a community center in Chiyoda, Tokyo, the reporting session of Yap-Japan cultural exchange program was held. Among nine participants of the program, excluding two who are in an expedition in Costa-Rica and in busy study before exams, seven university and high school students were gathered in front of family members and friend, in total of close to 30.
During the session, the word, “Love”, was repeatedly mentioned. “I was strongly held by armes when I was slipped over the floor”, “The family made me local medicine when I got sick at home-stay period”, and other stories were told. In Japan, those students are surrounded by smart phones and convenience stores. For such spoiled life, direct communications seeing each other in Yap was so impressive.
Family members told that “I believe surely that they had very significant experiences in Yap”, or “He had so exciting days, I am feeling” after hearing their presentations.
Some participants came from far away, like Kochi or Osaka. They kept talking just before the final train and the day after, many of those spent fun time at Tokyo Disney Land together. They did not want to be separated again. They look like understanding that the real program would begin after the whole activities in Yap.
We really appreciate strong support of people in Dechmur village and Yap island.