Elementary school students learn about earth sciences
and take active role in conservation
On March 19th, fifth year students of Tazawa Elementary School, located in the Omi District of Itoigawa Global Geopark, visited a geosite near their school as part of their geostudies curriculum.
Tomigaike Pond is part of Itoigawa Global Geopark’s Omi Coast Geosite. A small pond about 2m at its deepest, Tomigaike is nevertheless of great academic and ecological importance. It is an important habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, particularly dragonflies and damselflies, of which dozens of unique species, including several endangered, reside. It is for this reason that Tomigaike is often called a Treasure Trove of Dragonflies. The ecosystem here is delicate, however, and faces challenges from invasive species and illegal dumping.
Tazawa Elementary’s Fifth Year Students – “Tomigaike Conservation Rangers”
The students visited this pond as part of the Itoigawa Geopark’s Geostudies Program, in which Geopark-related study is promoted in local schools. This program not only helps children learn more about earth sciences and conservation, but also gets children involved in their hometown and the Geopark from an early age. The ultimate goal of the Geostudies Program is to develop a sense of community pride and interest in community participation in the interest of fostering a sustainable regional society.
Tazawa Elementary’s fifth year students named their class the “Tomigaike Conservation Rangers” and focused their efforts on assisting in the conservation at Tomigaike Pond. While at the pond, they listened to a lecture from Mr. Hiroshi Yashiki, a wildlife conservationist, and Mr. Tomio Yamamoto, Director of the Dragonfly Conservation Society. They also erected signs they had made in their geopark studies class warning about the release of wildlife into the pond and the effects of litter.
Students erect handmade conservation awareness signs along the pond’s edge
Through programs like this, children can be engaged directly in the conservation and promotion of their geopark and their communities. By providing students with an opportunity to get involved, we can ensure the continued sustainability of the geopark model in Itoigawa.