The Asahikawa Children’s Environmental Map Contest was born in February 1991 at Asahikawa City, Japan, as a side event of the International Symposium on Environmental Change and GIS (INSEG’91). Since 1998 it has been conducted by the Society for Environmental Map Education (SEME) as its core annual event to enhance environmental awareness of school children, and to improve their skills of out-door observation, map-making, map-use and presentation. SEME also organises various activities related with it, such as academic or educational meetings, and publication of journals and books. The environmental map contest is uniquely international, with anyone in the world at primary or secondary school levels (at about 6 to 18 years of age) eligible for application.
The persistence of COVID-19 pandemic and the changes of academic staffs at the Institute of Geography, Asahikawa Campus of Hokkaido University of Education where the SEME office resides have in no doubt been serious challenges to SEME. However, SEME introduced Zoom to its business meetings at an early stage of the pandemic, and overcame the difficult situation by the joint effort of its members living near or in Asahikawa and those living in the distance. In 2020 and 2021, SEME managed to carry out map judging meetings and exhibitions of award-winning maps on site, and award presentation ceremonies online. They have been realized with great success thanks to the warm support from many institutions, individuals, students and their teachers and families,
It is my pleasure to inform you that SEME has upgraded its website to the one with higher security, more user friendliness, growing contents, and enhanced capability of updating. I hope this new website is liked and used by many who are interested in SEME and its activities, significance of environmental maps, skills of making, reading, presenting or using them, and improvement of understanding in local to global environmental problems which may have been highlighted by the SDGs (UN Sustainable Development Goals) or ESD (UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development). Please don’t hesitate to write to the SEME secretariat if you have any inquiries, proposals, ideas, information etc. I look forward to hearing from you.
President, Society for Environmental Map Education
Emeritus Professor, Hokkaido University of Education