On July 30, 2012, Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (HCM) and the Youth Leaders’ Training Seminar (YLTS) organized by the Urahoro Board of Education co-hosted an event known as the “Eco School” at HCM’s Urahoro Test Site (Urahoro-cho, Hokkaido) for the first time. This event was designed to allow participants to appreciate the wonder of the natural environment around the Test Site and rediscover the significance of activities performed to preserve nature by undergoing a training program in natural surroundings. To encourage young people to note the close link between the environmental issues happening worldwide and their own lives and consider activities they could perform to preserve the environment, HCM and YLTS invited a total of 16 primary and junior high school students from within the town during the summer vacation.
At Eco School, lectures on global warming and the natural environment in Hokkaido were delivered while practical training was conducted, such as collecting underwater insects in a pond on the premises and watching how construction and forestry machines work on the field. First of all, children were taught by Mr. Takishita of the Environmental Promotion Office of HCM and Mr. Murose of the Tokachi Branch of the Wild Bird Society of Japan, on issues associated with the global environment and the beauty of nature and wild birds in the local towns of Urahoro and Tokachi, respectively. This was followed by practical training, which saw them gain unique direct access to underwater insects and animals in the pond, while listening intently to their teachers with childlike curiosity. While in the field, they test-rode a large hydraulic excavator and dump truck and listened to an explanation of the relationship between machinery and the environment and biomass while watching a demo of forestry machines. They were excited about the movements of the large hydraulic excavator and dump truck which they observed for the first time and acknowledged with screams of delight.
For lunch, Mr. Murata of the Tokachi Local Specialty Study Group, who is also an expert on dietary education, offered two kinds of rice balls with tokishirazu salmon, humpback salmon caught in Tokachi, and delivered a lecture on the importance of food. Furthermore, Mr. Ishigaki, an expert on salmon, described the ecosystem of salmon and the wonder of its migration, which reminded us once again that food is a blessing of the ecosystem.
Some participating children said that they were interested in environmental issues from the beginning, and after the program, resolved to redouble their efforts to do what they could to address them. HCM will continue to collaborate with people in the local community in promoting efforts and initiatives to conserve the environment.