Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hamline Univesity and the Green Legacy Hiroshima Project: An Update

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Culture, Society 

On August 15 the Green Legacy Hiroshima project (GLH) was the subject of a post that I left incomplete. 

I noted Hamline University's participation but that no one here knew anything about it. I mentioned I had some ideas about HU'a involvement and what likely happened to the seeds but didn't want to speculate. I'm glad I didn't. I had some of the story more-or-less right but the rest was completely wrong.

The mystery is solved!

I mentioned that there was a faculty member at Hamline University who I thought might be involved. , Walter Enloe, wrote a book about GLH with full information on seeds from that project that were brought here. Seeds of Rebirth: The A-Bomb Peace Trees (illustrated by Serene Enloe and Isaac Enloe--childrent and teachers). 

Amazon had just the information I wanted about the fate of the seeds and also provides information about Professor Enloe's deep relationship with Hiroshima where he grew up and served as principal of a school. He returned many times. According to the Amazon summary:

"In 2011, Steve Leeper, Chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and a director of the Hiroshima International School introduced Walter Enloe and Serene Enloe to the Green Legacy Hiroshima project. Walter, a teacher, grew up in Japan and for years was Principal of Hiroshima International School and the co- founder of the 1000 Cranes Club with Steve. Serene, a teacher, was born in Hiroshima and attended the International School. 

"Together, father and daughter, invited the Avalon School in St. Paul and advisor Jo Sullivan, a childhood friend of Steve, to become the first North American institution to join the project. In the summer of 2015 Serene returned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sister-city of St. Paul, to photograph the surviving Peace Trees of Hiroshima. "Over the past five years the students have experimented with (the) various seeds (delivered to Hamline University, March 2014)--Ginkgo, hackberry, persimmon, jujube, Kurogame holly) and discovered that the only trees to thrive at Minnesota’s latitude is the venerable Ginko. 

On June 6, 2017, Peace Day at Avalon, they distributed their first trees to peace parks and public spaces throughout the region. Like the founding of the 1000 Cranes Club over thirty years ago, students reach to their locale and the world to share their fervent desire for peace through working to contribute to a world that values justice and equity for all peoples, and sustainable environments for future generations. These roles of active citizen and earth steward are a hallmark of the Avalon School community.

However, we aren't out of the woods yet--pardon this, if you can. The Amazon abstract doesn't tell us about the species tested (except Gingko), the number of seeds in each packet, how many were planted, when and how, at what depth--the "experimental" design, germination success, and little about the "strength" of the the conclusion. I hope the book touches on some of these details.

You could be confused say about hackberry and why it didn't have success here. There are hackberry trees on HU's campus--a common tree in the upper midwest but it is a different species in the genus Celtis (occidentalis) from the Japanese hackberry (jessoensis) found only in Japan and Korea  (and used for bonzai culture).

I thought of some questions science educator Mary Budd Rowe thought that all students should learn to ask as a matter of routine when work is completed, e.g.,  What do I know? What is the evidence? Do I have it all? Where did the evidence come from? How good is it? What are other interpretations? What possible actions should I take?  What does it all mean?

I am glad to know what happened as well as the history. It must have been a memorable experience for the students and others involved.

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