Efird Receives Research Grant for Work in Japan

Written by Laura Paskin
November 25, 2013

Professor Rob Efird, chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, received a $3,000 grant to further his research on Japanese nature schools and Chinese environmental education. The grant was made by the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.

Japanese nature schools incorporate environmental practices into school curricula with students and community members developing wildlife habitats, gardens, and other environmentally friendly spaces on school grounds. Efird will travel to Tokyo in December to join a group of Chinese environmental education professionals in Japan to receive training in the development, methods, and management of Japanese nature schools. He had spent a year in China on a Fulbright grant to assess government-mandated environmental education programs.

“Observing the training process onsite at several Japanese nature schools will assist in my work on the effectiveness of Chinese environmental education efforts,” Efird said. “Japanese nature schools may also serve as key agents for community revitalization, an issue that may become pressing for certain Chinese rural areas that, like similar areas in Japan, face depopulation and economic crisis due to rapid urbanization.”

Efird, who received his PhD in Socio-cultural Anthropology from the University of Washington, joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2004.  Fluent in Japanese and Chinese, he focuses his research and scholarship on environmental education practices in the United States and Asia.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 6 master's degrees and 42 major and 37 minor undergraduate degrees, including degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies.