Beginning of the Gataranger Jr. Program
The program began in 2009, but it was inspired by children from Morecambe Bay on the west coast of England who came to Fujimae Tidal Flat in 2007. Atsuo Tsuji, the president of the association at that time, learned that the children had made their travel plans and raised funds for the visit by themselves. He wanted to foster the same enthusiasm for the environment among children at Fujimae, and the following year, with a grant from Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, the “Gata”ranger Jr. program was born. The Gataranger Jr. program is not designed to teach children the names of living things, but rather to allow them to discover nature through their own five senses.
Program length, target ages, and other information
Applications are accepted from February to March each year. The program is open to children from the 4th grade of elementary school through junior high school. The program begins in April, with children coming to Fujimae once every two months for activities. Since 2012, we have also provided an opportunity for children who have completed the program to organize and manage the summer or fall program on their own. It is fascinating to see how each child uses his or her experience to discover Fujimae from a different perspective from that of adults.
More than 170 children have participated in the program so far. It is an important opportunity to nurture a new generation as they continue to be involved in the program after its completion, either as staff members or as regular Gatarangers who volunteer to help with the various field activities for the general public.