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Focus on the workers and tools that support the Nature Education Park! Make your stroll through the garden more enjoyable and interesting!

Translated from Japanese by
National Museum of Nature and Science Institute for Nature Study, is a precious spot located in Shirokanedai, Minato City, where you can immerse yourself in nature despite being in the urban part of Tokyo. On its roughly 20-hectare (approximately 60,000-tsubo) grounds, 1,473 types of plants, around 2,130 types of insects, and about 2,800 types of animals have been recorded. The special exhibition "Vegetation Management Workers - Tools of the Nature Education Park" is being held at the Nature Education Park until July 9th. Vegetation management refers to the human-led management of natural environments according to their purpose and objectives. We have learned a lot about how the Nature Education Park is managed for vegetation!

The second part of a series introducing the work of vegetation management with illustrations and comics!

The Nature Education Park is a 9-minute walk from Meguro Station and about a 7-minute walk from Shirokanedai Station. First, from the main gate of the Nature Education Park on Meguro Street, you enter the Education Administration Building. "Vegetation Management Workers - Tools of the Nature Education Park" is being held in this Education Administration Building.

The main feature is panel displays that introduce the work of vegetation management in an easily understandable way using illustrations and comics. According to Akiko Shimoda, the Public Relations Manager, the first part of the series, a special exhibition titled "Early Spring in the Nature Education Park - What is Vegetation Management!?" was held in the spring of 2022, and this exhibition is the second part of the series due to its popularity.

There was a reason for holding an exhibition focusing on vegetation management. The Nature Education Park was designated as a national natural monument and historic site on April 12, 1949, as the "Former Shirokanedai Imperial Estate". Ms. Shimoda explains, "The environment of the Nature Education Park has been maintained with human intervention. Although many people might think that you cannot touch a natural monument, the reason the Nature Education Park was designated as such was because it preserves remnants of the natural landscape of old Musashino, and it has academic value as an ecosystem. We are holding an exhibition on the theme of vegetation management to get people to think about the importance of preserving satoyama-like environment.

In addition to the panel displays, tools used for vegetation management are also on display.

The first part of the series focused on "the meaning of intervening in nature," while the second part focuses on the "workers" and "tools" that perform vegetation management. In addition to the panel displays, tools such as sickles and saws used by staff working in the Nature Education Park are also on display. Visitors seem to be very interested in the panel and tool exhibits.

The Nature Education Park is also distributing booklets summarizing the content of this exhibition. Let's review what you learned in the exhibition with the booklet. You can also read the booklet from the first part of the series on the Nature Education Park's official website. If you scan the QR code in the guide, you can access it from your smartphone.

There is also a panel of tools for photography, where you can feel like a worker. Take a commemorative photo!

After learning all about vegetation management, it's finally time to enter the Nature Education Park. Staff responsible for vegetation management are usually working inside the park. You might be able to see them actually managing the vegetation.

Now, let's go into the park, which is the size of 4.2 times the size of the Tokyo Dome!

The park is lush with trees and features ponds and wetlands, making it a true urban oasis. It's healing to walk around and see such verdant nature in the heart of Tokyo.

The park is home to diverse plants, insects, and birds, which vary with the seasons. In June, you can observe flowers like Honda (a hybrid of lysimachia and pilophora) and orange daylilies, and animals like swallowtail butterflies, blue-spotted emperor dragonfly, and kingfishers.

The park also hosts species listed on the "Tokyo Red List", which are at risk of extinction. If vegetation isn't properly managed, plant growth can be inhibited, and the satoyama-like environment can be lost, rresulting in a loss of biodiversity. As Ms.Shimoda says, "One of the aims of the Nature Education Park is to protect the wildlife while showing it to visitors."

However, only about 15% of the site is actually managed. "The remaining 85% is subject only to minimal safety management and otherwise left untouched to study how nature changes when humans do not interfere," explained Ms.Shimoda.

While touring the park, you may see one of the three on-site management staff, Mr. Yoichiro Osawa, working. Just like the illustration!

The Nature Education Park is divided into three educational gardens: the Roadside Plant Garden, Aquatic Plant Garden, and Musashino Plant Garden. Each manager is responsible for one of these gardens. At the Musashino Plant Garden, Mr. Osawa was in the process of thinning out overgrown Makino bamboo and perennial grasses. If you have any questions about vegetation management, feel free to ask. However, be careful not to disturb them while they are working!

Back in the Roadside Plant Garden, Mr. Rei Okutsu is using a small sickle to cut back the coralberry. Inside a square bag known as a fugo, there is a lot of cut grass. On the wheelbarrow are Mr. Okutsu’s work tools. Ah, this is also just like what we see in the illustration!

A complete tour of the park takes about an hour, after which you'll return to the Education Administration Building. The Nature Education Park, a treasure trove of living creatures, seems like an excellent place for children's summer research. Beetles like the Japanese rhinoceros beetle and the stag beetle can be found, but remember only to observe, not capture.

Also introduces the raising of goshawks, now in their sixth year of confirmation.

The Nature Education Park holds about 6-7 special exhibitions a year. Currently, along with the exhibition ‘Vegetation Management Staff - Workers of the Nature Education Park’, we are also featuring ‘Raising Northern Goshawks at the Nature Education Park 2023’ through July 9th, which features video footage and photographs taken from above the nest. Northern goshawks have been spotted at the Nature Education Park for 6 consecutive years. The chicks are incredibly cute!

In the shop at the Education Administration Building, you can find postcards, bookmarks, memo pads with plant illustrations, and books about plants for sale. These would make lovely souvenirs!

The Nature Education Park in Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, offers both educational and therapeutic experiences. In addition to exhibitions, we offer observation sessions and other study support activities, and initiatives like the Genji Firefly Revival Project. Please check the official website for the latest information, operating hours, entrance fees, and methods of access. Now is the start of the season when creatures become active. Why not come to the Nature Education Park and immerse yourself in nature?

National Museum of Nature and Science Institute for Nature Study
5-21-5 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours:
[May 1st to August 31st] 9:00 to 17:00 (Admission until 16:00)
[September 1st to April 30th] 9:00 to 16:30 (Admission until 16:00)
Every Monday (Open on public holidays and closed on the following Tuesday)
Days which follow a public holiday (Open if it falls on Saturday or Sunday)
Year-end and New Year holidays (December 28th to January 4th)
* There may be special opening days. Please check the closing day information.
Admission fee:
General and university students 320 yen
* Free for those 65 and over and high school students and younger
* Free for each disabled person and his/her caregiver

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