We conducted a hands-on learning program to promote the understanding of the benefits and problems of herbicides among students through the experience of weed threats and hand weeding. A total of 120 fourth-grade elementary students participated in this program. To investigate the effect of weeds, green soybean, Egyptian spinach, and green onion were cultivated for two months. Weeds were initially seeded throughout the entire field. Later, the students weeded half of the field to avoid damage to the crops, while the remaining crops were exposed to weeds throughout. We observed that the weeds decreased crop yields. Initially the Egyptian spinach and green onion grew slowly in comparison to the weeds and consequently, their yields declined considerably due to the interception of sunlight by the weeds. In contrast, green soybeans grew rapidly and managed to intercept the sunlight faster than the weeds. Hence, the loss to the yield of green soybeans was relatively small. The students acquired a basic knowledge of weeds and herbicides through lectures; however, they observed the crop damage caused by the weeds and experienced hand weeding in the field. Further, they understood the effects of weeds on crops through their hands-on experiment. Finally, they realized the difficulties of agriculture and regarded herbicides in a positive light. However, the educational aspects that could assist the students to recognize the benefits and problems of herbicides was insufficient.
Until now, ecotourism has been discussed as environmental education and community-based learning, but most of that learning was aimed at visitors. The purpose of this study is to discuss ecotourism as learning for residents. As a case study site, the author investigated Higashi Village, Okinawa Prefecture, which has been promoting ecotourism for many years. The author therefore considered how inhabitant learning includes informal learning. The case has characteristics that also accompany industrial development, and it has become clear that deeper learning will continue and develop for a wide range of residents as an ESD for community development through ecotourism.
Conclusions were drawn by analyzing the possibility of citizenship education from the standpoint of intrinsic motivation and competency based on the design and implementation of the Fukui Prefecture education program, ‘Climate Change Mystery.’
1) Three elements of intrinsic motivation, ‘competence,’ ‘autonomy’ and ‘relatedness,’ were used when evaluating the target group (302 students) and after the program. The scores of all three elements were higher than before participating in the program. However, particularly noteworthy was that increases in competence and autonomy were greater than relatedness. Furthermore, the lower the score was before the program, the greater the demonstratable change was evident for all three elements afterwards.
2) All 10 elements of competencies showed marked improvement; especially, the ‘strategic,’ ‘anticipatory’ and ‘normative’ elements showed demonstratable development. Those elements were related to the intrinsic motivation elements of competence and autonomy.
3) Several opinions in the student feedback forms demonstrated that these results are typically characteristic of the Fukui Prefecture model. This is evidence that confirms the significance of Japan’s first regional version of the Climate Change Mystery.
To understand the level of Entomophobia in nursery teachers, we undertook a questionnaire survey of nursery teachers, students taking a nursery teacher-training course, and ordinary women. Results indicated that nursery teachers tend to like arthropods and can look at photographs and illustrations of them more comfortably when compared to the students and ordinary women. An age-based analysis showed that nursery teachers in their 20s–50s were able to view photographs and illustrations of arthropods with less resistance than students and ordinary women of the same generation. There was no significant difference between participants in the 20–40 age range, but nursery teachers in their 50s showed greater preference to arthropods than university students and ordinary women. As the degree of preference for arthropods had a stronger influence on their confidence in arthropod-related childcare rather than the degree to which they could look at arthropods, it is necessary to develop training to encourage nursery teachers to like arthropods through experiences of seeing, touching, collecting and rearing such creatures.
In this study, we designed a zoo environmental education program to encourage individuals to actively think about wildlife conservation in connection to their own life and to propose diverse conservation actions. We designed the program using narrative theory based on a learner-centered approach. We set up a rubric using the views of sustainable development goals. We implemented a practical case, “Tell Us a Story - You and the Chimp” at ZOORASIA, for general visitors. First, a zookeeper shared information with the participants about the chimpanzee’s life in the wild and the opinions of people who live near the forest. The participants were then asked to create their own story about the “Chimpanzee and I” and to express it in picture-book form. We evaluated participants’ learning through semi-structured interviews, the picture-book stories and a post-program questionnaire. Over 80% of the participants expressed that they found their living to be connected with the chimpanzee’s habitat. Moreover, they suggested various actions or ideas to protect the chimpanzee. The results confirm the efficacy of adopting the narrative approach and rubric in zoo environmental education programs.
The purpose of this paper is two-fold: to trace the history of the Life Lab program in Santa Cruz, California, and to re-evaluate this program from a sustainability education perspective. Established in 1979, Life Lab is a non-profit organization to promote garden-based learning for children. It is a science-based environmental and sustainability education program. Born out of ‘Nature Study’ in an elementary school garden, the Life Lab program emphasizes learning, experiential and hands-on inquiry in the naturel world as the basis of environmental education. The program encourages children to learn how to love the Earth through pupil-centered education and critical thinking in order to connect with sustainability. In the Life Lab program, pupils learn about ecological soundness, key concepts of agroecology, and relationships among insects, flowers, vegetables, other foods and humans. Agroecology has been essential to this program. A broad definition of agroecology is, “the ecology of sustainable food systems in which people across society are encouraged to be conscious about the sources of food and their relationship with farmers.” Farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and Community Agroecology Network (CAN) are discussed as examples of organic and agroecological movements in the Santa Cruz area. Creating trust and interactive relationships between consumers and local and global small farmers facilitates the development of direct marketing systems as alternatives to the global corporate market. Both the Life Lab program and the local agroecological movement discussed here are working towards the three pillars of sustainability: ecologically sound, socially just, and economically viable food systems in society. This paper suggests the possibility of introducing sustainability education into Japanese food and agriculture education by building up school gardens that promote experiential and environmental education. It further suggests that the concept of agroecology could play a significant role in sustainable food and agriculture education.
Education for sustainable development (ESD) for local citizens is indispensable for achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs). In this study, we developed a learning tool for raising awareness of the inter-relationships between daily activities and SDGs. This ESD tool is a package that consists of a checklist of cross-reference tables between user activities and 17 SDGs. The result of the study, through verifications of the workshops, indicates the effectiveness of the ESD tool raising citizens’ awareness due to visualizing SDGs in daily activities and its ease of utilization in a workshop.
Children learn many things through their interactions with nature. However, in recent years, the rate of educational experiences utilizing nature and the number of childcare facilities that incorporate nature into daily childcare practices are decreasing. The purpose of this paper is to suggest the possibility of nature-based childcare practices that can provide educational benefits for children in any kind of childcare environment, based on research findings on nature-based childcare practices. For this purpose, we first reviewed the history of nature-based childcare practices such as Forest Kindergarten, along with research findings regarding the utilization of nature in both nature-based and general childcare facilities. Through this, we derived the characteristics of abilities that can be developed through interaction with nature. Thereafter, we discussed the characteristics and activities in nature that can be practically utilized in any kind of childcare environment, underscoring the importance of using the five senses effectively. Finally, after indicating the issues related to research methods for demonstrating the effects of nature-based childcare practices, the necessity and possibility of nature-based childcare programs for all childcare facilities are discussed.
In the search for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), two approaches are integral: local community-based and multi-stakeholder participation and partnership. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which is addressed in Target 4.7, is at the heart of these approaches to attract diverse stakeholders for the efforts at the local community level. The stakeholders share their diverse experiences and knowledge to create a new knowledge for sustainability. Therein, tension and conflict that they may experience can lead to a critical learning process for individual and social transformation. This article reports the preliminary results obtained from the project, which examines the effectiveness and relevance of local community-based and multi-stakeholder approaches to the efforts for sustainable community development during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project focuses on the experiences of member organizations of the Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD (RCEs) in the Asia-Pacific region, which was established by the United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). The article proposes further direction of research based on the key findings at this stage, including digitalization and youth participation, which are to be further analyzed for the advocacy and relevant international and national policies on SDGs and ESD for 2030 from the perspectives of local communities.