News

Environmental Science in Practice: a Learning Experience that Broke the Border

April 2, 2013
  • Teachers and students worked together in Sesoko Beach ecological field work.

    Teachers and students worked together in Sesoko Beach ecological field work.

by Miss Ruby Chiu, MPhil Student of School of Biological Sciences

 

Just as old Chinese adage states, “it is better to travel ten thousand miles than read ten thousand books”. To widen the horizons of Environmental Science students, Dr Moriaki Yasuhara of School of Biological Sciences organized a 6-day field trip with University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa for the undergraduate course ENVS3016 Environmental Science in Practice during the reading week on March 2013. This had not only equipped the students with essential technical skills for environmental science, but also provided them with the opportunity to have exchange with Japanese teachers and students.

Life as an Okinawa university student

“The best thing of this course is that I can experience the life of Japanese university student. We worked with Japanese students during the trip and solved the problems together. Now we have a strong feeling of brotherhood with them,” said Yuen Wai-kuen Will, final year student of HKU Environmental Science Major.

The students were given several lectures by Japanese professors including Dr Kazuhiko Fujita (University of the Ryukyus), Dr Chuki Hongo (University of the Ryukus) and Dr Koji Seto (University of Shimane, the place that we conducted the field trip last year), enhancing their understanding of the environmental problems in Okinawa and the field works. They also worked with Japanese students from both Okinawa and Shimane to do ecological survey on how Kaichu Doro Leeway Construction has affected the marine ecosystem in Okinawa. By presenting the results of their environmental study of Okinawa as well as some Hong Kong’s marine environmental issues, the students had a deeper understanding the importance of striking a balance between human constructions and conservation.

Feast for the eyes

Well-known for the high biodiversity of the coral reef in Okinawa, students could actually touch the sea cucumbers and sea stars under the crystal clear water of Sesoko beach in Okinawa. “This was my first time to see the hard corals, and I have never seen such high abundance of sea cucumbers and sea urchins in the beach before. The water was so clean that I could observe the bottom of the sea from above”, final year student Cheung Ching-Wa Richard said. Amazed by the natural splendor and magnificence of picturesque scenery of the beach, students were all very excited when they were guided by for field survey at the Sesoko Island.

To enhance the students’ appreciation of marine creatures, the group visited the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, where they were given a backyard tour to understand the operation of a world-class aquarium. They then visited the Ocean Expo Parkwhere the aquarium is located. “This is my first time to see whale shark, and there are three whale sharks in the aquarium. That was just awesome!” said student Chan Hin Hei Haily . 

 

Best memory before graduation

“The trip is just fantastic! This should be one of my best memories before graduation. Thanks Dr. Yasuhara and Dr. Fujita!” said Huang Xindi Cindy, a final year student.

This is the second year for Dr. Yasuhara to bring Environmental Science students for overseas field trips for the course ENVS3016 Environmental Science in Practice. It is hoped that there will be more collaboration and student exchange opportunities among University of the Ryukyus, Shimane University, and The University of Hong Kong in the future.

  • Field work on assessing the impacts of Kaichu Doro Leeway Construction.

    Field work on assessing the impacts of Kaichu Doro Leeway Construction.

  • Students working together for the presentation of their results.

    Students working together for the presentation of their results.

  • Students visiting Ocean Expo Park.

    Students visiting Ocean Expo Park.

  • Churaumi Aquarium backyard tour.

    Churaumi Aquarium backyard tour.

  • Dr Fujita was introducing different marine organisms of Sesoko Beach.

    Dr Fujita was introducing different marine organisms of Sesoko Beach.

  • Friendship between HKU and Okinawa students.

    Friendship between HKU and Okinawa students.

  • Students attending lecture in University of Ryukyus.

    Students attending lecture in University of Ryukyus.