What is Discovery U              
       
 

Our company name, "Discovery U,"comes from the English word "discovery" and "U" is from that of "Union." Also, "U" comes from "you" in English and one of the pronunciations/readings of "遊(play)" in Japanese. This is due to our passion of opening the minds of our customers and allowing them to truly experience self-discovery through our low impact putdoor recreation programs and in turn seeing these experiences utilized in their everyday lives. Today,development of information technology and creation of transportation systems,improved outdoor gear and people's passion towards outdoor recreation provides greater accese to the natural world. However,on the other hand,our actions and attitudes do not follow us into nature one only needs to see the problems of littering,overuse,and the damage to the ecosystems. You might think methods like restriction or duty would play roles in rectifying such problems, however ,we think the outcome from such a forceful solution is limited unless people enjoy their responsible actions and attitudes. It can not simply depend on force. Therefore,our programs focus is to provide clues for promoting internal change in each participant's mind through looking at themselves and the surrounding nature holistically.

   
 
 Outdoor as an educational potential  
 
Exitement is when you change your viewpoint and look at the nature world in a different way,like from the top of the trees. Deep impression flows through your body when you carry a heavy backpack and conquer the summit you have looked at from the distance. You will remember all these experience as precious assets. However,Discovery U outdoor educational programs do not focus only on these facets, but our final goal encourages participants to learn from the process of confronting and solving problems on their own by not only thinking,but using every sense of their body. Conflict, challenge,feedback from peers cooperation, judgement, decision making, awakening and confidence..... These are the experiences you will go through in our programs,which at the same time,are missing in our everyday lives.
 
 Our minimum impact programs
 
We enjoy nature through outdoor activities. However, have you ever thought that these activities might harm to the surrounding evironment? Not only littering and trail erosion, but people's outdoor experience might be degraded by our unconscious actions. Especially, in a small country like Japan, individual people play an important role to limited natural resources. Therefore, Discovery U programs implemant "Leave No Trace"method whose programs were started in the United States in 1994 and earned a high reputation. By asking ourselves "how can we enjoy outdoor activities without damaging nature? "We pour our efforts into developing outdoor educational programs day by day.
 

 Nature is the stage of learning..... message from our instructor
 
In the Spring of 1988, I left Japan for Africa to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro(5,895m), the highest peak of the African continent. It is also said that only one out of four people will be able to conquer the summit. The schedule to the summit is planned for seven days. Carrying a heavy backpack on my back, I put one step forward, and breathed in oxygen to fill my lungs, then brought another step forward and breathed in oxygen to fill them again. It was as if slow motion would last indefinitely. At 2:00 am on the 6th day, we tried to set the summit within our range. Everything started in the freezing cold. The only thing we could see in the huge mountain of Kilimanjaro was what shone in our headlamps. from then on, it was truely a challenge against myself. Except for the sound of our steps on the glacier, it was truely a soundless world at the altitude of 5,000m. After7 hours of climbing and struggling from high altitude sickness, the summit appeared in front of my eyes. "I did it!" The moment I stepped on the summit firmly, it was hard to suppress my tears from flowing out. Deep emotion ran throughout my body.... Indeed, it touched my heart so deeply. Do you see where this feeling comes from? It was from the process of my climb rather than the fact of my conquering the summit. Failure, challenge, conflict, judgement, decision, confidence. I learn many things from nature even today. By looking in at the natural world, you will surely find undiscovered nature as well as an undiscovered self.

                                       by Mieko Nitanda
 
 
                 
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Discovery U  Kita2 Nishi3 Kutchan Abuta Hokkaido 044-0052 Japan  Tel:81+136-22-2816