Masayuki Kurechi, 73, a board member of the Tokyo-based Ramsar Network Japan, has become the third Japanese national to receive the Ramsar Award for Wetland Conservation for his work protecting endangered geese. The award is given for contributions to the conservation of wetlands of international importance.
Mr. Kurechi attended the award ceremony during the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP14) to the Ramsar Convention in Geneva, Switzerland. In the early morning hours of November 8 (Japan time), Mr. Kurechi accepted the award, saying, “I would like to share the joy of receiving this award with my friends and beloved geese.”
As early as the mid-1970s, Mr. Kurechi and his colleagues initiated activities to protect the cackling goose, which was on the verge of extinction. He has been recognized for his efforts to provide habitat for geese by reviving the traditional fuyu-mizu-tambo winter paddy field flooding method in Osaki Koudo, an agricultural landscape in Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Accept the “Judicious Use” Award
Kurechi’s award was for “Wise Use of Wetlands”, one of the award’s three categories. It was the first time that a Japanese national received the award in this category.
In his acceptance speech in English, Mr. Kurechi noted, “In half a century of effort, my hair turned from black to gray…it was not an easy way to achieve this point. Whenever we faced difficult situations, we overcame them by showing our wisdom with various groups of colleagues who shared my dreams.” He concluded with a “domo arigato gozaimashita” in Japanese.
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Author: The Sankei Shimbun