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The Valley Reporter
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HU/Japan exchange concludes with a localvore dinner

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On Saturday, March 26, Harwood Union High School hosted a farewell dinner for a group of Japanese exchange students who had been researching environmental issues in the community for the past 10 days. The group of 17 students and 6 chaperones, evenly split between Mount Abraham Union High School and Harwood Union High School, came from Tottori prefecture.*



Students were matched with host families from the two high schools for a whirlwind week of education about Vermont's environment. Their activities included a talk about the national solar decathalon at Middlebury, a visit with Governor Shumlin, a tour of the Rubenstein labs at ECHO, and a full day of animal tracking with biologist Susan Morse. At the end of the week, students and their host families gathered at Harwood to exhibit their projects and enjoy a localvore dinner.

The issues that Japanese and American pairs presented ranged from the effects of invasive largemouth bass to deforestation. After the gallery reception, the group moved into the cafeteria for a dinner prepared by school chef Paul Morris and two Harwood students, Steven Guion and Becca Hammel, who had competed in Vermont's Junior Iron Chef event earlier in the day. One hundred thirty-five community members enjoyed a dinner of Misty Knoll chicken breasts in sauce with wild rice pilaf, a mixed greens salad and apple crisp.

The teacher chaperones for the exchange were Tedin Lange of Harwood Union High School and Bruce Babbitt and Gabe Hamilton of Mount Abraham Union High School. Participating Harwood students included Sophia Lisaius, Anna Hofmann, Clare Miller, Derek Lowe, Takoda Edlund, Tom Chamberlain and Megan Perry.  

The entire program was overseen by Peter Lynch of Green Across the Pacific. This is the second year of the student exchange with Tottori prefecture. Although the Vermont students' trip to Tottori in April has been canceled due to the ongoing U.S. State Department warning about travel to Japan, organizers are confident that the trip will become a two-way exchange beginning next year.  

*Tottori is located just below Kyoto on the southwestern coast of Japan, approximately 400 miles from the damaged nuclear reactor in the northeastern region of the country. Although Tottori did not suffer any effects of the earthquake or tsunami, there were tremors at Narita airport during their departure from Narita airport in Tokyo.    


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