On Monday, September 25, 2023, a group of six second-year students and a teacher from Iwate Prefectural Hanamaki Kita High School visited JIRCAS through the Tsukuba Science Tour.
This educational opportunity is granted to students of Hanamaki Kita High School who excel and win top prizes in their research presentations during the second year of high school. The visit to the actual institute such as JIRCAS is an opportunity for the students to develop their research.
At the onset of the visit, the group received a comprehensive overview of JIRCAS' research initiatives and their pivotal contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus then shifted to an engaging discussion surrounding food-related challenges in underdeveloped regions. Then, Senior Researcher Dr. TANAKA Kenzo (Forestry Division) introduced the diversity of tropical rainforests and the benefits they bring to humanity through his research on tropical forest genetic resources, mainly in Southeast Asia, under the title of "Diversity and function of tropical rainforests”. He also touched on the apparent decline in diversity and ecosystem function, and outlined the impact of the resulting rainforest degradation on the global environment and our way of life.
The students were granted a hands-on experience as they explored various specimens on display, including one of the world's largest leaf specimens and a rare acorn not commonly seen in Japan. These items were part of the collection at Dr. TANAKA’s laboratory and he students were able to touch and take pictures of the specimens on display. The hope is that this exposure will fuel a lasting interest among the students, motivating them to delve deeper into this field in their future pursuits of science and technology.