Fireflies Return to Beppu’s Rivers - 11 Years of Environmental Conservation Activities Connecting APU and the Community


Jun 26, 2023

On June 7th, an APU student circle concerned with environmental protection, ECOS (Environmental Community Organization for Sustainability), in collaboration with the Association for the Protection of Kamegawa's Natural Environment, organized the annual firefly-watching event by the only river in Beppu that does not have hot spring water flowing into it, Hiyakawa River. Both APU students and Beppu residents participated in this event.

Due to changes in the environment and pollution, fireflies have become a rare sight. To preserve the beautiful environment where fireflies can fly, ECOS and Kamegawa Environmental Protection Club (KEPC) joined forces to engage in environmental conservation activities such as cleaning the Hiyakawa River while preserving the ecosystem of the river basin. At the firefly-watching event on June 7th, participants enjoyed watching approximately 450 fireflies take to the skies.

Before the firefly-watching event, environmental protection workshops were conducted by Professor MAHICHI Faezeh, an associate professor from the College of Asia Pacific Studies, and Professor ROUX Petrus Willem, an associate professor from the Educational Development and Learning Support Center. Additionally, KEPC hosted a quiz contest about firefly ecology, in which local children also participated. Children enjoyed learning how to distinguish between male and female fireflies, and other fun facts, such as during the peak season in 2020, nearly 700 fireflies were observed at Hiyakawa River.

Starting as a student-led initiative which has been continuing for 11 years, this project is made possible through the collaboration between the local community and the university, as well as the active involvement of students. These activities also provide local residents and children with an opportunity to learn about the importance of environmental protection and become more aware of the natural beauty in their community.

This type of sustainable environmental activity, where students freely choose to participate with the local community, not only raises environmental awareness among students but also fosters a stronger connection between APU and the community. APU hopes to leverage its resources and expertise to help nurture environmentally-conscious citizens.

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