The Hualien Forest District Office has been actively promoting the Satoyama Initiative concept of "Forest-River-Village-Sea" over recent years, and it is in cooperation with the tribal communities of Dipid and Paterungan at Xinshe Village, Fengbin Township to build a common understanding on river management. The Forest District Office also collaborated with Xinshe Elementary School to organize a river environmental education course, with the closing ceremony taking place on the 16th. Hualien Forest District Office Director Yang Jui-fen awarded the 16 pupils from Xinshe Elementary School with the course certificate, and commended the teachers and pupils for their efforts in creating a river ecological zone within the school and pro-actively paying more attention to their surrounding environment.
The Forest District Office said that the two tribal communities of Dipid and Paterungan are located in the upper and lower reaches of the Dabu'an River Basin and are closely connected to the natural environment. The Forest District Office commissioned Hualien Natural Education & Ecology Consultant Ltd. to carry out an ecological survey of this river, which resulted in finding an abundance of migratory organisms. Therefore, the survey results were combined with the concept of the Satoyama Initiative for "Forest-River-Village-Sea". Furthermore, discussions were held with the local Paterungan and Dipid tribal communities to incorporate the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people on ecology, as well as to build a common understanding on river management. In addition, the Forest District Office also collaborated with the local Xinshe Elementary School to jointly promote a river environmental education course, becoming the first model area in the Taiwan to promote the Satoyama Initiative for "Forest-River-Village-Sea".
Director Yang Jui-fen of the Hualien Forest District Office said that when it comes to the promotion of ecological conservation, the Forestry Bureau has always produced very fruitful results, whether from the animal conservation works of the past, or the linking of habitats of animals from the forests, rivers, villages, and sea as a part of the Satoyama Initiative, or even this river ecological survey. Since the collaboration with Xinshe Elementary School to carry out environmental education courses on river ecology began in 2017, more than eight courses have been organized. Through onsite guided commentaries of the rivers and streams in Xinshe and learning about the river creatures, it has piqued the interest of the teachers and pupils of Xinshe Elementary School. In 2019, there was a collaboration with the school's teachers and pupils to create a river ecological zone on campus to enhance the tribal community pupils' observation and imagination for river ecology.
The closing ceremony on the 16th was almost like a small seminar. The pupils shared and exchanged a lot of exciting knowledge on the migratory fish, shrimp, and crabs of the east coast, such as, "Why are the roe of this shrimp so tiny? They look like they have eyes?", "Can the shrimps climb up all the way from the river mouth?", "I know! This kind of fish climbs up with the suckers on its belly!" The discussions that took place were very lively. Through the course, Xinshe Elementary School allowed pupils to carry out more observations on the river landscape and animals within the river ecological zone, hold in-depth explorations on the environmental status of native habitats, gain a practical understanding on the life history of migratory organisms and the threats to their survival, and discover the intertwined relationships among forests, rivers, tribal communities, and the seas. We hope that in the future, through closer contact with the rivers in their hometowns, pupils will naturally develop feelings of coexistence with habitats, flora, and fauna, so that they will pay more attention to the natural environment around their homes and join the future ranks of common conservation.