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Volunteers struggled in Maintenance Work of Seedlings planted at Natori Coastal Project Site in Miyagi Prefecture

Sep 28, 2016

On September 16 and 17, more than 180 enthusiastic volunteers from the private corporations and labor unions who are supporting OISCA’s Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City took part in weeding work at the tree-planting site.

Over 80 labor union members of UA ZENSEN (the Japanese Federation of Textile, Chemical, Food, Commercial, Service and General Workers’ Union) and RENOWN comprised the volunteers on Sep. 16, while 103 people from ANA group, ANA Labor Union, Sendai TOYOPET Co., Ltd., Nikon, Mitsubishi UFG NICOS, MUFG Group and individual participants gathered for the field work on Sep. 17. Most of them participated for the first time, but there were also 20 veterans who have volunteered for more than 10 times.

Before starting the actual field work, the volunteers visited the nursery where seedlings of black pine and other tree species have been raised in pot for planting next year and onward.

Under the cloudy but sticky weather at the coastal site, the volunteers struggled hard all day long in cutting troublesome veins and weeds with scythes and mowing sickles. At some areas, beehives were found, and so, they had to pay extreme caution in order to avoid bee stings.

After the day’s work, the participants were asked about their impressions. A female student from Sendai commented: “it has been my first time to join the field work and I have been exhausted. But it was a precious experience”. A young man from the ANA group said: “I participated for the first time in 3 years. I want to continue the volunteer activities here. It’s been a good opportunity to get acquainted with many people from other companies and organizations”.

Meanwhile, a workshop meeting on the future of the Coastal Forest Restoration Project was held in cooperation with Nikon on the afternoon of September 16 at the Nikon Plaza Sendai. A total of 10 people, mostly local residents of Natori but also including an American lady living in Sendai who are regularly helping the project participated in the meeting. The participants discussed on ways and means of tackling the various challenges facing the project, for example, how to motivate the locals, particularly young people in more actively supporting the project and joining the volunteer field work. A number of constructive ideas were put forward. It was suggested to organize some events inviting celebrities such as famous athletes and entertainers so as to attract attention of ordinary people. A participant raised a concrete proposal to approach primary and secondary schools and universities in order to involve school children and students more frequently.

The Coastal Forest Restoration Project is designed to rehabilitate the seashore forest devastated by the tsunami disaster in March 2011 by planting 500,000 seedlings of black pine and other tree species over the 100-hectare project site in a period of 10 years up until 2020. A total of 130,000 seedlings were planted in 2014 and 2015. Additional 50,000 are being planted in 2016. The total cost of the project is estimated to amount one billion yen which is to be raised entirely through donations from private corporations, organizations and individual supporters. At the end of August 2016, the total amount of financial contributions from Japanese and foreign supporters reached 463,473,460 yen.