All the students - Yasuda Elementary School, Miyoshi city, Hiroshima
2004 to present day
The Daruma Frog is an endangered species of frogs. Yasuda is the only natural habitat for these frogs in Hiroshima. Yasuda Elementary School is researching and working to protect our treasure, the Daruma Frog.
Our school has a biotope that was made in 2004. At the Daruma Land, named by our upper classmates, this is where 3rd to 6th grade students use to grow sweet rice every year. Daruma Land eventually turns into a rice paddy and blends into the natural environment where many life forms gather.
Every July, we release Daruma Frogs into a protected lake so that we can observe their growth. The Yasuda Endangered Species Protection Group, which maintains the protected lake for Daruma Frogs in our area, provides us with the Daruma Frogs to release.
In September, soon after we harvest the rice, we begin researching the life forms. In addition to the released Daruma Frogs, we also found other kinds of frogs, newts, insects, and one year, we even found a snake. This research has taught us that Yasuda is home to a variety of life forms, all of which go on living to their fullest potential.
Daruma Frogs are released in Daruma Land, a biotope where we grow sweet rice.
This Daruma Frog was found during our life form research after the rice was harvested. We count the other living creatures by species.
Our logic is this: because the Daruma Frog cannot jump as far as other frogs, they cannot flee from their natural enemies, or rescue themselves if they fall into an irrigation ditch.
Most of the research on the Daruma Frog is done by the 5th and 6th grade students. The life-form research extends to the rice paddies in our region, in addition to Daruma Land. When we learned the distribution of life forms varied by location, we began to wonder about the most suitable habitat for the Daruma Frog. This year, we are doing a more detailed study of the distribution of Daruma Frogs, after finding Daruma Frogs in a rice paddy where they had never been found before.
We are also researching the differences between the Daruma Frog and other types of frogs. Last year, we conducted research based on the theme, “How the Daruma Frog became an endangered species”. We believe one reason comes from the fact that they are poor jumpers.
At the National Conference on Wildlife Protection, we received the Chairman's Award from the Japanese Society for Preservation of Birds.
We have also been working to make more people aware of Yasuda's treasure, the Daruma Frog. We have reported on the results of our studies and research about the Daruma Frog and the global environment that will affect its future at the Miyoshi City Environmental Festival, the Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park, and our own public research meetings. Last year, we delivered a report at the National Conference on Wildlife Protection about our activities thus far, and we explained our theory of how the Daruma Frog became an endangered species.
Through these activities, we began to realize that to be proud of the Daruma Frog is to be proud of Yasuda's nature. In hopes of the day when we can rescue the Daruma Frog from its status as an endangered species, we will continue doing everything we can to pass on the preservation activities and our feeling of pride about Yasuda to our under classmates.
The regional litter collection program for the JR Yasuda Station and other local areas is a long-standing tradition for the Yasuda Elementary School, even longer than the Daruma Frog protection activities. These protection activities teach students how our lives are a part of the earth's environment.
The Yasuda Elementary School has been working continuously to protect the Daruma Frog, ever since discovering it in our school district in 1991. In 2004, we built a biotope, Daruma Land, inside our campus. Additionally, the startup of the Yasuda Endangered Species Protection Club in our region has helped to raise the awareness among children about the Daruma Frog.
We incorporated the Daruma Frog and Yasuda's generous nature into our curriculum in hopes of promoting the ability to think logically, and to view and think about things scientifically. It has also been our educational goal to help children develop strong and spiritually affluent lifestyles in their hometowns.
In Yasuda, the entire region is passionate about protecting the Daruma Frog. The support of everyone in the region draws a heartwarming picture of children developing a sense of pride about their hometown through research, litter collection programs and an understanding of how this ties in with nature.