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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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Nature and Hiking Trail Contest - Japan

There is s thriving nature education program growing in Japan. We can learn about teaching children about the common, everyday nature in our own backyards by looking at an engaging program sponsored for schools around the world.

The Practical Education in Biology organization has created an international "Nature Trail Contest" for schools. Both the activity is interesting, and the winners of the last contest show a delightful appreciation of nature and the diversity of life. Visit their website listed at the end of this article, to see some of the colorful designs.

The program description might give you some ideas for summer projects for children in your family, neighborhood...or as a project for you to organize in your local schools or youth groups.

And since this is an international contest...maybe your school would like to enter it....or sponsor a similar event in your community.

INVITATION TO THE ANNUAL NATURE TRAIL CONTEST IN JAPAN

(1) The Aim of Nature trail Contest The nature in which we live is in our neighborhood. And it has a very important role to keep our daily life in amenity. We should investigate what plants and animals live in our neighboring nature and then we have a question, "Which of our neighboring nature is good or bad for our life?"

The earth in which all human beings live is the only planet in which they can live in shared space. But, the air, the water and the soil of the earth are being polluted with human activity day by day.

It is said, "Think globally, act locally." This proverb means that we should keep our environment clean so we will be able to keep the earth clean.

The Nature Trail Contest is an annual international and global environmental education program.

Its purpose is worldwide nature conservation on the earth.

(2) Qualification for Entry Pupils in elementary schools and students in junior and senior high schools (lower and upper secondary schools) of every country.

(3) Destination National Parks Association of Japan (Foundation)

(4) Closing date -- September (Check for the latest dates).

(5)Method of Entry -- Please teach your boys and girls or students in your elementary school or your junior and senior highs school how to make their mature trails in their neighborhood.

And then, please teach them how to draw the illustrated maps and write their explanations of their nature trails.

Please send their works (their illustrated maps and explanations) to National Parks Association of Japan or Mitsuo Saitoh by air-mail by September 20th 1999.

(6) Guidance of your teaching boys and girls or students

Teach students how to draw the illustrated maps of their nature trails.

1. Make your nature trail in your neighborhood.

2. Draw a map of your nature trail and then draw some animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes insects, butterflies and so on) and plants (flowers, trees, grasses, ferns, moths, marine-algaes and so on) which you have watched along your nature trail. Use with colored pencils and oils in your illustrated maps.

3. The size of paper is A2 (42.0 cm x 59.4 cm).

4. The route length of your nature trail may be from 1 km to 2 km (1 - 2 hour slow walk by children)

5. Set 10 observation points in your map in order to show animals and plants which you watched in your nature trail. And write your explanations of each 10 observation points in a supporting report.

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The Association of Practical Education in Biology (JissenML)
MITSUO SAITOH
E-mail: RXP04450@nifty.ne.jp
Website: http://www004.upp.so-net.ne.jp/jissen/

For more articles about NATURE & KIDS

Young Birders Get Serious About Birding Fun
The Squirrel Family 0 Backyard Nature Safari
Hamsters are rodents and cuddly pets
Kids Learning Links
Buddy's Diner (for the birds)
Bird Profiles for Young Naturalists