Back to Nature

2024 May Back to Nature: KIKORI Day Report with FedEx Express

Date: May 19, 2024
Place: Takao, Tokyo
Participants: 8 campers, 3 big campers, 5 LITs, 8 Mirai no Mori staff, 12 sponsors, 3 program partners
Sponsor: FedEx Express

The time has come for this year’s Kikori Back to Nature program in Takao. Thanks to our repeating sponsor, FedEx, who brought a big group of 12 enthusiastic volunteers, this program brought together participants of all backgrounds in the mission of helping the growth of the beautiful forest. 

The morning began with everyone divided into mixed teams of FedEx volunteers, campers, big campers, and camp staff. The mission was clear but challenging: remove the invasive vines that threaten the health of the trees. Teams experimented with different techniques with the tools given and empowered the campers to tackle the challenge as leaders. Lunch was enjoyed amid the relaxing sounds of chirping birds and forest breeze—a perfect midday break that recharged everyone for the afternoon’s tasks. 

The afternoon gave everyone a chance to apply what they’d learned from the morning’s challenges. By the day’s end, numerous harmful vines were successfully cleared. The participants were amazed by the length and strength of the vines. Some campers used the vines to make headbands which they took home, others experimented in making houses and even swords out of branches, thin tree trunks and vines. Towards the end of the afternoon, the forest looked much cleaner and it was easier to climb down the slope. Courageous campers tried sliding down the hill on their feet without falling as if they were surfing!

We wrapped up with a reflection, thinking about the day’s efforts, successes and what could be improved for next time. The Kikori program can be demanding, but it’s incredible to see how well everyone performs, pushing their limits and learning in the process. A huge thanks again to FedEx and to our partner, Mori to Odoru for their support and enthusiasm!

“I was glad to see the children in a way that I don’t often see in their daily lives. I liked the way they considerately shared the kikori equipment with other campers, and the way they focused on one thing at a time.”  by big camper

“I was glad to see the children who entered the facility in April enjoying their time in the new environment of Mirai no Mori. They seemed nervous at first, but I got to see a very courageous side of them when they stepped up to become team leader and when they started talking to campers at other facilities on their own.” by big camper

“This was my first time at Mirai no Mori and I was the team leader. It was fun to give ideas on the team name. I want to come to another program soon!” by camper

“I had fun sliding down the hill at the end of the program. I fell down the first 2 times but was able to surf down on the third time without falling!” by camper

“I want to become a lumberjack when I become older and do this again!” by camper

“I thought the campers would go to the easier part of the forest, since we gave them that option,  but they challenged the harder and steeper parts, and went very high up so I was impressed!” by Zoo-Yan Mori to Odoru