At the end of February 2014, Spike Millington headed to Japan for a weekend of meetings, the first of which was The Symposium on Environmental Education at Tokyo Port.
Historically Tokyo Bay coast was a large shallow sea, with extensive tidal flats. However, the area has undergone extensive reclamation in the last 50 years, so only small areas of coastal wetlands and intertidal zones remain. These areas are very important for ecosystem services and environmental education of people living around the bay. In some areas, new stretches of tidal flats have been created and serve as important refuges for migratory waterbirds. The Symposium highlighted the importance of wetlands both locally and internationally.
The meeting was hosted by two EAAFP partners, the Ministry of Environment, Japan and the Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ). About 40 people attended the meeting, including the Director of Marine Parks Planning for Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Executive Director of Park management Division of Tokyo Port Terminal. Site managers from two EAAFP Flyway Network Sites (Tokyo Wild Bird Park and Kasai-Rinka Park), presented case studies, along with the Director for the Center for Ecological Education and several Wild Bird Society of Japan Officials and Volunteers.
The Symposium on the 1st March included a presentation by Spike on EAAFP and the role of network sites and CEPA activities, and a presentation by WBSJ on environmental education in Japan. Presentations were followed by a panel discussion.
Objectives for the future are to encourage cooperation among Flyway Network Sites around Tokyo Bay, encourage networking in environmental education (especially for migratory waterbirds), and to encourage sharing experience of Tokyo Bay with other port areas, such as Incheon, in South Korea.