Collingwood School is a large private school with 1,100 students ages from 5 to 18 and 160 teaching staff. This is a sister school of Mulgrave School, where tree planting took place in 2003. Ms. Meghan McAlister, then a student at Collingwood School, heard about the tree planting at Mulgrave School from her friend and applied for the project on behalf of the school. She applied while she was still at the school, however, since she expected to graduate from the school in 2004, Head of Senior School Ms. Lisa Evans took over the project.
As Collingwood School has exchange programs so students from various countries come learn together at the school. Meanwhile, the vice principal has chosen “Sadako’s Story (a story of a girl who was an atomic bomb victim)” as a reading material in his/her class and learned about the atomic bomb together with the students. The school also emphasizes on art education and displayed artworks by children that expressed how they perceive “What is peace?” with pictures and words. As the tree planting day coincided with the school’s “Art Day,” even more works than usual were on display.
At Collingwood School, there is an “Alumni Homecoming Day” once every year. The tree planting was planned as a gift from the alumni to current students to celebrate the day. The tree planting ceremony took place with attendees such as alumni, students representing current students, Vice-Consul of the Japanese Consulate, vice principal of the school and local media. It started off with an opening address by Ms. Evans and then a message (on history of the persimmon tree and the meaning of presenting the trees from alumni to current students) addressed to current students was read by Ms. McAlister. A speech was given by the Vice-Consul of the Japanese Consulate and the message from Mr. Ebinuma was read by the executive committee member of the project. The students representing current students read the texts written on the panels that were to be set up near the trees. Two trees were planted on the day. One is planted at the Upper school (where children ages from 12 to 16 attend) and the other one is planted at the Preparatory school (where children ages from 8 to 11 attend). A Friend/Friends of Ms. McAlister who participated in the tree planting at Mulgrave School in 2003 also attended the ceremony. A Japanese student’s mother came over to the school and helped her child and Ms. Evans dress in Yukata so that those two could attend the ceremony in Yukata.
The exhibition “Revive Time” Kaki Tree Project in Hara Museum Arc, which was held prior to tree planting from November 2004 through January 2005, was over and on 14th of May, 4 months after the exhibition, the seedling from the bombed tree was planted in the premises of the museum.
On the day of the tree planting ceremony, a few workshops were held with the keywords such as “Life”, “Revival” and “Future.” During the early morning workshop conducted by Makiko Matsuoka from Matusoka Art Studio, children drew the morning landscape of the ranch with the persimmon tree and the workshop was broadcast live on NHK. Tree doctor Mr. Masayuki Ebinuma and Mr. Nobuo Koike gave a talk on the persimmon tree and life during “Let’s talk with ‘Tree Doctor’” workshop. At the workshop “Let’s try to ‘revive’ - from tree to tree,” the participants used scrap wood that they found in the premises and together with origami pieces and paper balloons they made 3 collage works of persimmon trees. On the leaves of the trees, messages for “peace” by the children are written.
At the ceremony, the trees that were “revived” during the workshop were set out around the seedling from the bombed tree. Tree planting was carried out by the children who took part in the ceremony and they took turns in covering the root with soil. A workshop was held after the ceremony too and a picture-card show “Persimmon parent and child” by artist Anken Kidani was performed at the garden of the museum. A large persimmon tree picture on the wall inside the museum which was created during the workshop in November last year was displayed for this occasion and the three “revived” trees were also exhibited.
Kakinomi Kindergarten is a very large scale kindergarten with about 1,400 children. Within its broad premises that stretch in the mountain (almost the whole mountain), there are children’s workshop “Atelier Kaki-no-mi (persimmon),” play-area with underfloor maze and a large slide next to the slope which they can go all the way down the hill. A new kindergarten called “Yumenomori” Kindergarten, which is run by the same organization, will be open 5 minutes away from Kakinomi Kindergarten. Mr. Shinichi Yano, the representative of the “Atelier Kaki-no-mi”, applied for the project and two seedlings from the bombed tree were going to be planted in the premises of the new kindergarten.
About 25 newly enrolled children who were looking forward to the new kindergarten, their parents and staff members attended the tree planting ceremony held in the woods. After speeches given by the director of the kindergarten, Mr. Ebinuma and Tatsuo Miyajima, the picture-card show “Persimmon parent and child” was performed. It was performed outside without any proper platform stage by a teacher who was once a director of a kindergarten and the kids were all absorbed by it. Being watched over by a lot of participants, 6 boys on behalf of the children cover the seedling with soil. The planting site was on the steep slope and those boys did a very good job though at times almost slide down the slope.
After the tree planting, the workshop “Let’s draw a line in the air. Let’s play with wind” for 25 kindergarten children was conducted by “Atelier Kaki-no-mi.” Children tied on end of (suzuran?) tapes in various colors round the trees and held the other end and walked around the woods. Children who went far or went up the mountain slope tied their tapes around the trees they found on the way. As time went by, there were a number of colorful lines of tapes running in the woods and they made an interesting sound as they flapped in the wind. It was a very nice installation. It was a bit pity that the work did not remain there, however, it was a memorable workshop as children seemed to be enjoying very much.