The Biodiversity School @ Tokushima – Katsuura River basin field program
This team operates in an area extending from the Katsuura River source to its estuaries and organizes 15 classes over the course of 8 days. Experts share their scientific knowledge, and participants, who pass the program with flying colors, receive a “Biodiversity Leader” certification.
The curriculum for the Katsuura River Basin Field Program was developed and the program organized by the “Biodiversity Tokushima Convention” (hereafter referred to as “Tokushima Convention”), which is comprised of 22 citizens’ groups in Tokushima prefecture. The program celebrated its fourth anniversary this year, and this year, representatives from the Tokushima Convention, university professors, and citizens experts in the natural environment took part as lecturers. One of the objectives of this program is “training people that can talk about biodiversity.” This objective is also stipulated in the “Biodiversity Tokushima Strategy,” which Tokushima Convention helped formulate from the bottom up.
The program was held in the river basin, stretching from the origin of the Katsuura River to its estuaries across 2 cities and 2 towns – Tokushima City, Komatsushima City, Katsuura Town, and Kamikatsu Town. The curriculum enables participants to learn through their 5 senses about the structure of the forests near the river source and feeding damage by deer, the environment of the terraced rice paddies and dikes and how they are changing, health examination of manmade forests and gaps, the riverine environment and its relationship with living organisms, relationship between people and insects of satochi-satoyama, the ecosystem in the estuaries, the relationship between material recycling and forests, etc. The program is comprised of 15 classes held over 8 consecutive days. The participants get to tap into the scientific knowledge of a wide range of lecturers and come to realize how all the different landscapes are deeply connected with our lives, culture, and history.
The program also teaches methods for conducting citizen surveys, so that citizens can help track the changes the survey area undergoes. This is an unparalleled program comprised of 15 consecutive classes that provide an opportunity to experience nature through the 5 senses. People can contact not only the 22 citizen groups, but now also educational institutions such as colleges and universities, Tokushima Prefecture Environment Department, Katsuura Town Educational Committee, and various other relevant facilities of the Tokushima Prefecture, cities, towns, and villages.
The objective of this program is to foster interest and understanding for how valuable biodiversity and ecosystems are, and to help train and nurture individuals, who will become involved in biodiversity conservation. And by having the citizen group representatives teach, the program is also helping to improve their understanding and communication skills.