Japan’s forests could be managed more effectively. Lack of forest maintenance contributes to degradation of a forest’s ability to absorb CO2, as well as increasing the risk of landslide and avalanche disasters. It also affects ecosystems.
The NISSIN FOODS Group engaged in an activity to help conserve a Japanese forest and effectively utilize a natural resource. In January 2017, employees thinned trees in a forest in Shimoichi town, Yoshino-gun, Nara. Timber from 52 felled trees was processed into blocks and used by employees to produce hand-made chopsticks from June until February of the following year. Some 27,000 pairs of chopsticks produced by a total of 870 employees were provided to consumers, local residents, shareholders, and fellow employees.
Once every year, “the WAVE,” the NISSIN FOODS Group’s R&D center, hosts forest maintenance activities for employees and their families in a nearby green conservation area in support of the Tokyo Greenship Action, an environmental conservation activity of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In December 2016, employees cleared forest undergrowth to promote biodiversity. In March 2018, employees thinned trees and cleared undergrowth so that sunlight could reach the forest floor and maintained and repaired walking paths. In addition to forest development, time was allowed for enjoying the blessings of the forest by creating whole carbonized flowers, engaging in handicrafts, and planting shiitake mushrooms. On the day of the event, there were a total of 38 volunteers, including employees of the WAVE and their families, and supporters from the Tobukikita Forest Conservation Society, Green Support Hachioji, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Environment.
Areas surrounding Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture provide habitats and breeding grounds for a wide variety of plants and animals, including endangered species. Accordingly, the Group is preparing a habitat for insects by creating a biotope*1 on the grounds of the Momofuku Ando Center in Komoro City. Under the supervision of Mr. Kazuo Unno, an insect photographer and a board member of Japan Insect Association, 29 volunteers consisting of 23 NISSIN FOODS Group employees and 6 local residents created the biotope during a three-day period beginning November 11, 2017. Then, in May 2018, Group employees and visitors from the general public added flowering plants to the biotope.
In May 2018, NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS, the Momo- fuku Ando Center, Nagano Prefecture, and Komoro City entered into a Biodiversity Partnership Agreement.*2 Since the end of May, visitors to the Center have been photographing insects to compile a digital insect picture book containing photos of 100 insect species. The Group will continue to promote interest in biotope development and ecosystems
- *1 “Biotope” in English comes from the German biotope, which originated from the Greek words bios (life) and topos (place). It refers to a space where local wildlife live, grow, and reproduce.
- *2An agreement under which citizens’ groups, companies, schools, and other organizations cooperate in activities to conserve the natural environment and biodiversity in Nagano Prefecture
The Momofuku Ando Center of Outdoor Training (Momofuku Ando Center) in Komoro City, Nagano is a dedicated facility established in 2010 for the purpose of training leaders for children’s nature-experience activities and popularizing outdoor activities. The 52,500-m2 grounds of the Center are a splendid natural setting that commands a panoramic view of the Asama mountain range.
The Center is available for use as a facility to train leaders for nature experience activities, outdoor activities, and nature education, for research, and for conferences and it also offers courses on nature experience activities. The Japan Long Trail Association executive office is located within the Center and uses the facility to host the Japan Long Trail Symposium annually. The Center fosters a “culture of walking” by supporting the popularization and development of “long trail,” a cross-country trip on foot, in cooperation with the Long Trail Association.
A forest on the grounds of the Center is the site of the Komoro Tree House Project. Seven treehouses designed by famous designers and architects create a space in which art can resonant with nature. In addition, the Center holds events related to these treehouses to provide an opportunity for people to commune with nature. On the day of an event, woodworking classes and other workshops are held, and food booths serve foods prepared with local seasonal ingredients. In May 2018, the Center held an event named The Living Story of the Forest with a theme of insects and the Center’s biotope.
Support for Children’s Nature Experience Activities
In accordance with the concept “Nature activities nurture children’s creativity and can-do spirit,” since fiscal 2003, the Ando Foundation has held the Tom Sawyer School Idea Contest. The purpose of the contest is to solicit proposals for unique and highly creative hands-on nature activities from schools and groups around Japan, to donate support funds for these activities to 50 selected organizations, and to commend excellent organizations each January on the basis of submitted activities reports.
For the 16th Tom Sawyer School Idea Contest in fiscal 2018, entries were received from 247 organizations. We endeavor to further spread and popularize hands-on nature activities by publishing the contest results and activity details on a website.