Illustration prepared while referring to a pamphlet introducing the Japan Association for the Promotion of Outdoor Life

Features of the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom

Employees Responsible for Planning and Managing Programs

graph: Result of Fostering Leaders for Outdoor Classroom (Cumulative Total)

In the running of Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms, a lot of emphasis is placed on the employees "doing it for themselves." The programs are planned by Group employees who have completed an Outdoor Classroom Leader Development Course, who serve as "Outdoor Classroom leaders." The choice of fields, the ways in which nature is experienced, and the timing (season) of the classrooms are all at the discretion of these leaders. The leaders utilize the emotional experiences and discoveries gained through their development course and compile a program of their choice utilizing their own creativity. Mitsubishi Electric also involves the cooperation of local key persons, NPOs, and so on to ensure that our outdoor classrooms leave an even deeper impression on the participants. There are as many variations of the Outdoor Classroom as there are leaders.

Turning Fields Near Business Sites Into "Classrooms"

graph: Numbers of Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms Held

Outdoor classrooms are held in various locations, including mountains, forests, parks, seashores, rivers, rice fields and farms. The outdoor classroom leaders throughout Japan make the neighboring natural habitat their classroom. Occasionally, they may also use the grounds of the business site itself as a classroom. Each location has its own unique fauna, flora, sounds, and smells. Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms provide an opportunity for children and adults alike to experience the workings of nature and make various discoveries through their own five senses.

Features of the Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom
Learn about Nature's Cycle

Experiencing Nature with Full Use of the Five Senses

illustration: Experiencing Nature with Full Use of the Five Senses

Objectives of the 9th Environmental Plan (Fiscal 2019-2021) and Results of Fiscal 2019

With the 9th Environmental Plan (fiscal 2019-2021), our objective was to continue the "Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classrooms" and "Satoyama Woodland Preservation Project," aiming to surpass the 51,000 mark in total participants by achieving an increase of 12,000 participants from March 2018. With approximately 4,000 people taking part in fiscal 2019, the total number of participants to date has reached 43,000.

graph: Plan for Increasing Number of People Participating in Mitsubishi Electric Outdoor Classroom and "Satoyama" Woodland Preservation Project

"Eco Changes" in My Thinking and Behavior Triggered by Participating in the Outdoor Classroom Program

As a Parent and Citizen, I Started Thinking about What I Can Do for the Environment Outside My Job

photo: As a Parent and Citizen, I Started Thinking about What I Can Do for the Environment Outside My Job

"So many creatures are living here!" That was my surprise through aquatic life observation at the Ashiya River in Hyogo Prefecture. In the event I took part in with my children, I also found myself a child again, totally absorbed in finding wildlife. Species like those on the Red List are unfamiliar to many of us. But when I saw so many and such a diversity of living things, I understood that rare species are also maintained in the chain of life.

In the following year, we joined an Outdoor Classroom session that took place at Sanuki Hiroshima in Kagawa Prefecture. As part of the program, we collected plastic waste, the amount of which stunned me. According to my findings, waste as much as half the volume of Tokyo Dome is washed ashore throughout Japan every year. This means that it would take 10 million people to each pick up 19 kilograms of rubbish. The Outdoor Classroom Program offers a variety of events that prompt participants to realize and think about many things. I am glad that I took part in it.

I am responsible for the development and design of a device called gas-insulated switchgear. This equipment has a significant impact on the environment. Therefore, I have always been aware of the environment through my job. I am pleased that my children have started to take more interest in nature and the environment since they took part in the Outdoor Classroom Program. Recently, they have been passionate about fishing and seem to be interested in tidal cycles as well, saying "It’s a spring tide today, so we’ll have a good chance of a good catch." When they visited a planetarium for the first time, they were impressed with the clear night sky filled with stars. In the future, I want to go camping with my children so we can come in closer contact with nature together. I hope the Outdoor Classroom activities will develop my children’s interest in the environment and encourage them to think about what we could do to motivate people, for example, in addressing waste issues.

illustration: As a Parent and Citizen, I Started Thinking about What I Can Do for the Environment Outside My Job

Takao Tsurimoto
C-GIS Section, Power Distribution Systems Division
Power Distribution Systems Center

Children’s Interest in Ecosystems Inspired from Their Love for Insects

photo: Children’s Interest in Ecosystems Inspired from Their Love for Insects

My entire family is passionate about nature and insects, and my children study about insects on the Internet whenver they find one. Their online research begins with a simple question like, "What kind of insect is that?" As they look into their question, one intriguing piece of information leads to another. That’s how their knowledge develops. Watching my children learning in that way, I have been hoping to increase their opportunities to actually observe and interact with more creatures in nature. That was the reason I joined the Outdoor Classroom Program with my children.

Nothing beats a real experience. My children have changed significantly since they took part in the Outdoor Classrooms. Up until then, their curiosity was satisfied with merely catching insects, but it has grown to the point where they are now keeping them. One summer vacation, they even chose insects as a subject of their free projects. Their interst in ecology has been growing rapidly through their experience in keeping insects. It is fun to take care of the insects with my children. I am also happy to see them develop their interests even further. I think the Outdoor Classroom Program has the power to change children.

As for myself, participating in the program has spurred me towards the preservation of nature and ecosystems, and has strengthened the sense of need to pass on a rich natural environment to future generations. At home, my wife and I try to switch off electrical appliances as often as possible. I also carefuly select car shampoos that have minimal environmental impact. At work, we are working to improve production technologies based on our belief that improved productivity leads to the conservation of energy and resources.

illustration: Children’s Interest in Ecosystems Inspired from Their Love for Insects

Osamu Watanabe
Production Technologies Section, Manufacturing Management Division
High Frequency & Optial Device Works