UNESCO Global Geopark Revalidation Mission: Part 2
July 6: Day 3
We began day three at the Samani Public Library, where the librarian showed off a collection of Geopark-related materials called the Geopark Corner. They also discussed the cooperative projects held between the Samani Folk Museum, Mt. Apoi Geopark Visitor Center, and Samani Public Library called the "Kan x Kan" event series. We also watched two of the new animations produced by the library to tell the story of the Ainu legends related to Samani.
After this, we stopped at the old quarry behind the elementary school and the Peridotite Plaza before heading to Samani Elementary School. At the elementary school, as part of Sapporo Otani University's "Otani Art Caravan," the fifth graders were learning how to make Japanese-style paints by crushing peridotite rock. The evaluators were very interested in the process while observing the class. Afterward, everyone took a group photo.
Lunch was held at the Horoman Community Center, located at the entrance of Horoman-kyo Gorge. Here we were greeted by the residents of the Horoman area, who prepared miso soup with kelp and funori seaweed from the Horoman coastline. We enjoyed the delicious meal together with the Apoi Dream Bento, a lunch set designed by the students of Samani Junior High School to represent Mt. Apoi Geopark.
After lunch, the Geopark Academic Advisor Dr. Niida, gave a tour of the Geo-Labo. We then stopped by the Inari Shrine site in Horoman-kyo Gorge where we heard about the diverse types of peridotite and the hydroelectric power plant. We enjoyed eating peridotite mochi (rice cakes) and kombucha (kelp tea) made by the Mamma no Kai while relaxing next to the river.
July 7: Day 4
On the fourth day, the evaluators visited Mr. Tsukada's kelp workshop in Fuyushima early in the morning. Here, the evaluators were given a glimpse of what kelp harvesting is like. Everyone took turns laying out the kelp to dry, then we went inside the workshop to see how the kelp is cut, separated, sorted, and boxed. Mr. Jing experienced the process of cutting and sorting bundles of kelp and was very efficient at it.
Next, we headed to the foot of Mt. Apoi for a "Bura Apoi" nature walk and a guided climb up Mt. Apoi to the second rest area. Although the temperature was high that day, the evaluators had many questions about how the trail was maintained and what animals could be seen.
Today's lunch was prepared and provided by a local organization called Manma-no-Kai and consisted of many regional dishes. The boxed lunch and miso soup made use of locally caught seafood and was very delicious. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and many had second helpings. The rest of the afternoon was spent visiting the Samani Tourism Information Center and other Geopark sites such as the backside of Cape Enrumu, and Ana-iwa (Hole rock) in Fuyushima.
July 8: Day 5
This was the final day of the revalidation. The closing meeting was held first thing in the morning where the evaluators gave their overall impressions of the Geopark and some advice for the future. As town representatives and residents gathered to see the evaluators off, we left the venue and stopped at the Oyako-iwa Fureai Beach to explain a tsunami evacuation drill happening that day and left Mt. Apoi Geopark.
We feel that the mission was a great success, but we could not have done it without the support and assistance from the townspeople, local organizations, guides, elementary and junior high teachers, and students. We are so grateful, from the bottom of our hearts, for everyone who supports the Mt. Apoi Geopark.
We want to express our deepest thanks to the two Geopark evaluators and the Japanese Geopark Committee advisor for their role in the Mt. Apoi Geopark revalidation mission.
The results of the revalidation mission will be announced early next year!