On November 20th, students from 11 local elementary, junior high, and high schools in Itoigawa gathered at Itoigawa’s Kirara Ōmi Culture Hall to present what they have learned during about Itoigawa and its Global Geopark.
One of the ways the Itoigawa Global Geopark interacts with the community is by working with the local Board of Education to devise a Unified Education Policy for children ages 0 through 18. This policy uses the Geopark as a teaching tool, not only for earth sciences, but also history, cultural appreciation, and community involvement.
The program includes a yearly exchange conference in which the students gather to present on what they’ve learned. This year’s conference had the theme of “Let’s Talk about Our Hometown Itoigawa.” The students presented using a variety of methods including audio/visual presentations, plays, and even musical performances.
One group of students sang the Itoigawa Geopark Ondō, a song about the Geopark written by acclaimed tsugaru-jamisen player Takahashi Chikuzan II, who now lives in Itoigawa. The students’ presentation seem to be getting better every year.
The students had an opportunity to provide feedback to other school groups during the assembly. Many were impressed with the effort other schools put into finding and presenting information about local treasures. These sort of citywide exchanges are a great introduction to community involvement for children.
Through the medium of Geopark Studies, we are attempting to reach out to these children. The children can share what they have learned about Itoigawa and the Geopark with their parents, who then share it with their communities. Through this we can succeed in the Itoigawa Geopark’s goals of creating a sustainable regional society and instilling a sense of pride in local communities. Hopefully these exchange activities will continue to be a success for years to come.