Volunteer for soil and water conservation
To broaden the educational base about soil and water conservation and improve the level of understanding and awareness, the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau of the Council of Agriculture, departments of academic institutions, and concerned government departments, have established 22 soil and water conservation classrooms or outdoor education parks. These provide schools, delegations from various organizations and members of the public a chance to take part in talks and demonstrations about soil and water conservation. This is an affirmation of the principle that soil and water conservation is every individual’s responsibility.
Taiwan’s first soil and water conservation outdoor classroom was established in Sifen, Dahu Township, Miaoli County, in 1989, providing an outdoor venue for school teachers and students. As the there was a positive response to this facility, 19 similar venues were established. In addition, in 2003, a Debris-flow Education Park was established in Gukeng Township, Yunlin County, a Soil and Water Conservation Education Park in Niupu, Longqi District, Greater Tainan, and an Ecological Engineering Education Park in Fanzikeng, Shuangxi Township in New Taipei City.
Following the establishment of outdoor classrooms, a flood of people applied to participate in demonstrations and teaching activities, and assisted in debris-flow circulation and neighborhood evacuation. In 1990, in response to this interest, the Bureau started to recruit soil and water conservation volunteers who could serve as instructors for outdoor soil and water conservation activities. Training of volunteers was divided into four categories, starting with local concerns, intermediate, growth and instructor qualification levels. Their duties include instruction in outdoor soil and water conservation activities, providing services at the information desk of the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, assisting in the organization and promotion of soil and water conservation activities, and sending out reports on debris-flow disaster prevention and evacuation.
Volunteers serve society, and the greatest benefits are the sense of pride from participation and the sharing of experience with other volunteers. Activities such as national assemblies of soil and water conservation volunteers and volunteer homecoming activities are important in recognizing the effort and selflessness of all volunteers.
The soil and water conservation volunteers, debris-flow volunteer specialists and rural village regeneration specialists are all currently engaged in their respective tasks. The number of people involved is constantly growing and with government and volunteers working hand in hand, they contribute to soil and water conservation in the spirit of “love our township, love our land, and love Nature.