Satoyama conservation activities in Fukui Prefecture
The north-central Satoyama region in Fukui Prefecture is rich in forest cover and arable land thanks to the rich water resource from the Asuwa River. However, the forests and farm lands have been declining as the population ages and not enough attention is given to protecting and conserving the river ecology. Environmental degradation in the satoyama region has become a serious concern.
The NPO Corporation Partnership Center has promoted international cooperation at civil society level since 1990 and nature conservation activities in Fukui Prefecture. The NPO's nature conservation initiative is aimed at checking environmental degradation through practical environment education reaching out to children and youth in Fukui.
The environment education and conservation activities in Fukui have strengthened the relationship between the rural communities and their environment in the town of Miyama in Fukui prefecture. The NPO activities involve consultation with all stakeholders and promote interest in and awareness of the importance of environmental conservation from an early age. Children and youth have been exposed to comprehensive practical environmental education since 2003.
Satoyama (Mountain environmental) education activities (fiscal years 2003 and 2004)
・Comprehensive environmental education for children and youth
・Basic environmental conservation leadership training provided to 20 people
・Intermediate level of environmental leadership training through curriculum covering the science and know-how of nature conservation
The environmental education activities for children in 2003 fostered interest in nature conservation among children through first-hand experience promoting a deeper understanding of the close relationship between the satoyama ecology and rural communities in Fukui.
The NPO organized an essay writing contest on the topic "My relationship with the forests" for children to deepen their understanding of environmental conservation. An exhibition of drawings expressing the children's understanding of nature conservation was organized.
The NPO's activities were affected by the big flood in the Asuwa River in July 2004 following heavy rains. Fukui City and Miyama town were among the most affected by the flood. NPO Corporation Partnership Center was involved in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts. The experience highlighted the importance of our activities for satoyama conservation in Fukui. Environment leaders trained by the NPO took the lead in environmental rehabilitation efforts after the heavy rains. The conservation perspective gained from the experience was incorporated in the NPO's environmental education activities.
Environmental education activities are aimed at children who take part in one night and two days of training among a group of 25 participants in the forests of Fukui.
The leadership training course is a three-day curriculum of 15 subjects teaching the basic concepts of environmental conservation.
Practical satoyama conservation activities involve studies of firefly habitats as fireflies were not seen on the Asuwa River during the year.