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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — It’s not the typical American-in-Japan experience: On Saturday, base residents can help local Japanese residents release up to 200,000 tiny fish in the icy Oirase River.

The 10th Annual Baby Salmon Release helps maintain the northern Japan salmon population. Salmon fingerlings swimming in buckets are dropped about two miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean in Oirase Town, about six miles south of base. The fish come from a local hatchery near Lake Towada.

“It’s a great chance to get out in the community and experience Japan,” said Danielle Mitchell, Family Support Center community readiness technician.

The salmon release is the first of several eco-friendly events planned to celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and Japan’s Greenery Day on April 29. Family Support Center, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Environmental Flight, and Naval Air Facility Misawa’s environmental department are sponsors of the series.

A bus departs the Family Support Center for the salmon site at 8:45 a.m. Saturday. People may call DSN 226-4735 to reserve a seat or follow the bus. Americans will share a potluck meal with Oirase town residents and kindergarten students afterward. Don’t forget rubber boots, a change of clothes and a towel, Mitchell said.

Other events ...Other environmentally friendly community events planned for the spring include:

April 15: Misawa Fish Port Cleanup. Pick up trash and share lunch with local residents.

April 8-May 6: Artifacts display in Torii Building. Pottery shards, clay pieces and other antiquated materials unearthed in and around the base several years ago, including some from a 4,000-year-old village.

April 21-May 2: Earth Day/Green Day Picture Contest. Artwork will be displayed at the main base exchange. Entry materials will be available at the schools and the Family Support Center.

Also in May are the Oirase Gorge cleanup, base beach cleanup and rice planting.

Call the Family Support Center for more information, DSN 226-4735.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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