Back to Nature

2020 November Back to Nature: KIKORI Program Report

Date: Saturday, November 14th
Location: Takao
Participants: 12 campers, 5 care workers, 2 LITs, 7 Mirai no Mori staff


November’s Back to Nature program took place in a mountain forest in Takao. This program was smaller in scale than usual from safety perspective, and the day started with creating fun team headcount for Team Water and Team Animals. Out of 12 campers total, 10 were repeating campers and they took a great initiative leading the teams.The lumberjack team from our long-time partner Mori to Odoru (Dancing with the Forest) first taught the campers the ways that their efforts would contribute to the cultivation of a healthy forest. Then the campers jumped right into work.

The campers worked on rejuvenating the soil by digging a ditch on the side of the path and the slope and filling them with foliage. We worked along the level paths in the morning, then climbed the slopes in the afternoon. Some aimed for higher and higher, others worked quietly towards the bottom, and still others curiously peered inside animal nests that they found along the way. Each camper found their own way to enjoy their time in the autumn forest. 

Our Leaders in Training (LITs) acted as supporting staff for the program, managing our tools, lunches, and snacks. At lunchtime, LITs delivered directions, distributed the lunches, and cleaned the trash with little instruction from the staff. There were also many occasions where they noticed and did things that were needed to be done, without any prompt from the staff.

During the reflection at the end of the day, campers commented that “it was fun to hold a shovel and dig dirt while climbing through the forest for the first time,” or that they were glad that they could “help grow a healthy forest.” By the end of the program, the campers had become covered in dirt, acorns, and fallen leaves, but it was a great opportunity for them to learn about and experience the workings of the forest.

Thank you to Mori to Odoru for their understanding and cooperation amid the potential risks during this difficult time. We’d also like to express our gratitude to Oracle Corporation Japan for their continual sponsorship and support.