Project WET activities at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, JapanProject WET activities at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight the organizations and institutions that make up Project WET's incredible network of partners in the United States and around the world. Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to catch the whole series.

One of Project WET's most enduring international partners is the River Foundation in Japan, hosts for Project WET Japan since 2003. The River Foundation is dedicated to preserving Japan's bountiful river and watershed environment and to reconnecting the people of Japan with the nation's rivers. Since beginning its work with Project WET, the River Foundation has trained thousands of educators and reached hundreds of thousands of children with education around a wide range of water and river-related issues, such as flood control, water utilization and other environmental issues.

We asked Kazunari Sugawara, a researcher at the River Foundation and an experienced Project WET educator, to tell us a little about his country and the Project WET Japan program.

Image from Wikipedia; click to visit original pageProject WET Foundation (PWF): Tell us about one special water place in Japan. What makes it unique?

Kazunari Sugawara (KS): Not many people outside of Japan know about Watarase-yusuichi. It is inscribed as a registered wetland under the Ramsar Convention and is also the largest flood control basin in Japan. It is located only 60 km north of Tokyo—the host city of for the 2020 Summer Olympics. We have satellite center for River Education in the area. Watarase-yusuichi is unique because of its incredible diversity of flora and fauna—plus, if you look down on Watarase-yusuichi from the air, you are in for a surprise. It appears to be in the form of a heart!

 

 

 

Cover of the Kisogawa Educators Guide, adapted by Project WET JapanPWF: Tell us one thing about the Project WET program Japan that makes you especially proud.

KS: We spent about five years developing a Japanese adaptation of the “Discover a Watershed Series”, for the Kiso River in Japan. The Kisogawa Educators Guide is based on the Colorado River Educators Guide, but since the two rivers are greatly different in size and situation, there were many challenges in creating the adaptation. We were finally able to distribute the guidebook in 2014, and it represents the first time we have localized Project WET material to match the water situation of Japan and delve more deeply into local issues.

 

Project WET Japan maintains a lively Facebook and Twitter presence, mostly in Japanese, and also has a rich Japanese-language website. Recently, Kazunari created a version of the Project WET Mission Video with Japanese subtitles:

How Does Water Education Impact the World?(水教育が与える影響) 日本語字幕 from projectwetjapan on Vimeo.

We are grateful to the River Foundation for its longstanding support of Project WET and water education in Japan and around the world!

 

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