Above: Jessica gives kGeigie building advice to a pair of young participants.
Safecast recently held a series of workshops in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, as part of an event held at the Soma Amway House called “Soma Future Lab 2018.” The two-day event (August 22-23) was open to the public, and elementary and secondary school students and their parents/guardians were encouraged to attend. In addition to Safecast, there were performances by the Japanese comedian Nasubi and musician “hacto,” as well as a workshop run by paper plane expert Jun Tamba, and a presentation about spaceflight and research by Junichi Haruyama of JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Fukushima University and the Environment Ministry also had activities and displays.
For this event we used our innovative kGeigie kits, which allow even elementary school-age children to build and test a working geiger counter. We had a steady stream of children, parents, and grandparents participating. Joe, Pieter, our interns Franco and Victor, and Joe’s granddaughter Jessica got them all started on their way to being citizen scientists!
The Amway House in Soma is one of four community centers in Tohoku built by donations received in response to the March 2011 disasters. The Remember HOPE initiative has collected over 930 million yen as of June 2018, and a fifth Amway House community center is now being built in the city of Rikuzentakata. The goal is to provide places and opportunities for people in the area. Safecast began a cooperative project with Amway this year to provide sensors, workshops, and other assistance for local residents through the Amway Houses. We installed a Pointcast realtime radiation monitor at the Soma Amway House in March, and our participation in the Soma Future Lab 2018 event is a further step towards our engagement with these communities.