On the 22nd of October 2019, the second volunteer cleaning activity at Shinrensha Temple Garden and the first workshop about green infrastructure were held. This time, together with Mr. Maruyama from Kanazawa Univ., Mr. Sakamura from JAIST, as well as their students, we invited Ms. Hayashi from Ryukoku Univ. as a guest speaker to talk about her research on the land use of Lake Biwa.
OUIK’s researcher Dr. Ivars, the main organizer of this event, talked about his research on Kanazawa’s biocultural diversity. As he mentioned in his book published last July, it is important for citizens to actively collaborate to conserve the nature that exists in cities. Dr. Ivars is hoping that events like this cleaning workshop become more common among locals and tourists, as it would help the owners of the gardens maintain and preserve them. Dr. Ivars conducted a survey of participants before and after the cleaning. The results showed that cleaning the gardens increased positive emotions and reduced negative emotions. This activity gives benefits not only to the garden owner, but also to the participants.
Next, Ms. Hayashi’s presentation taught us the importance of taking records on land use. If the cultural landscape and biodiversity of Japanese gardens in Kanazawa is a micro perspective, Ms. Hayashi’s story was more of a macro perspective. Ms. Hayashi’s research focuses on the natural environment and cultural landscapes of the past, and investigating changes in land use and the natural environment. Using a map showing the surrounding area of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, she explained that investigating how to use the natural environment that has existed from the past to the present time can suggest ways to connect people and nature sustainably, or industries that match the local environment.
After the lecture, we started the cleaning activities in the Shinrensha Garden.
It was a beautiful autumn day, and the participants seemed to enjoy being close to nature outside. Participants mainly picked up fallen leaves in the main garden area and the graveyard behind the garden. After one hour, the garden was finally clean, and we moved on to the discussion session.
Each group summarized their feelings and impressions of this experience in a 3-minute presentation. Some thoughts included: “What kind of gardens attract people and give easier access to people?” “Let’s make use of fallen leaves” “I was able to relax and enjoy myself” and so on.
Spending time in the garden surrounded by nature gives people living in the city opportunities to come in contact with nature and share a common purpose with other people. The participants enjoyed learning in the beautiful garden, and they seemed very satisfied.