Back to Nature
2022 November Back to Nature: Kikori Report
Date: November 5, 6
Place: Takao, Tokyo
Participants: (2 days total) 17 campers, 6 care worker, 6 LITs, 5 Oracle volunteers, 5 Avery Dennison volunteers, 8 Mirai no Mori staff&volunteers
Sponsor: Oracle (5th) / Avery Dennison (6th) Partner: Mori-to-Odoru
In the beautiful Takao forest, where the leaves are slowly starting to change colors, we had another great Kikori Program!
Our kikori partner, who we have been working together since 2017, has allowed us to help with the tasks necessary for a “healthy forest” depending on the time of year, and so far we have done a variety of activities such as building stairs in the forest, tending the stream, choosing trees to be thinned, and more.
When we asked the children what they thought of a kikori, they had a variety of images, including “cutting down a tree,” “sitting on a stump,” and “planting a tree,” but this time we all helped with the task of cutting down a tree and trimming its branches.
In order to fell the tree, which was about 20 meters long, LIT was in charge of making the cuts with the saw, and the campers were in charge of pulling the rope so that the tree would fall safely in the direction they wanted it to fall. All of us were amazed to see it fall right in front of us!
After eating lunch in the warm sun, the campers were given the opportunity to use the saw to cut off branches from the tree. Those who were afraid of the saw at first, quickly improved and in no time at all, the branches were all gone. Each child chose what they wanted to take home as a souvenir, and cut out branches and log slices on their own.
The afternoon was a time for not only campers, but also big campers and sponsor volunteers to show their individuality. Some were keen on peeling the bark of branches, others sawed thick trees and kept on going, while others wandered around collecting wild strawberries. It was a wonderful day to enjoy the forest in various ways.
“I enjoyed peeling the bark off the branches of the cypress tree. I will clean it up better when I get home and hang them in my room as a good luck charm.” by camper
“It was cool that we all worked together to take down the tree. It made a loud noise and it was nice to be able to take it down safely.” by camper
“I was very impressed by the second-grade camper who worked hard to cut very thick branches and carry out trees many times bigger than they were.” by Leader in Training participant
“I had heard that you can tell the age of a tree by counting its annual rings, but this was my first time actually counting them. It was 13 years old when I counted them, but when Zu-Yan counted them, I was 50 years old!” by Leader in Training participant
“I was impressed by the way campers, who usually have short attention span, listened carefully to the safety talk and cut down a lot of branches. It made me realize how important it is to create an environment that nurtures their interests.” by Care worker
“It was interesting to learn many things about forests that I didn’t know before, such as that they say “koru” for “to cut,” how annual rings are formed, and what is necessary for a healthy forest,” by a volunteer
Thank you to all the volunteers who sponsored this event and to everyone for a wonderful fall experience!