The year of 2020 marked the second year of the Foundation, and we still needed more support to build a more solid foundation. In addition to continuing the digital archive of Chi Po-lin’s image works and the curatorial endeavors of the Chi Po-lin Museum, we also hoped to further promote environmental education through Chi’s works, which would not only pass Chi’s vision and viewpoint onto the next generation, but would also sow the seeds of environmental protection widely to nurture more future Chi Po-lin.
However, the pandemic has been an obstacle that has rendered external support difficult and this journey more challenging. During this period, we have striven to visit numerous corporations, and have eventually gained the recognition and support of Family Mart. In October 2020, the Chi Po-lin Foundation and Family Mart became partners of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and launched together “Family Mart x Chi Po-lin Foundation,” a five-year charity collaboration project. This collaboration enables the environmental education projects we have hoped to launch to take root among our future generations consistently and stably.
The charity fund raised from the spare donation project will be largely invested on children, a mutual understanding reached by the Foundation and Family Mart. The five-year charity collaboration project comprises four environmental education initiatives, among which “Chi Po-lin Museum．Environmental Education Base Camp” will subsidize the expenses of 10,000 students to visit the Chi Po-lin Museum, and “Future Chi Po-lin．Public Screening of Beyond Beauty – TAIWAN FROM ABOVE” will combine documentary film screenings and environmental talks in schools, which are free for all to attend. The two projects are currently ongoing.
As the sole aerial photography base in Taiwan, the Chi Po-lin Museum has been designed and crafted as a base of environmental education since its establishment. Our hope is to welcome all students and children, enabling them to see and know Taiwan, and foster a sense of identity and care for our homeland.
Until the end of April 2021, more than 2,400 students have completed or reserved to join the project of “Chi Po-lin Museum．Environmental Education Base Camp.” We have designed four thematic exploration programs for elementary, junior high, and high school students, as well as those more advanced in years. Whereas the basic program is suitable for all ages, the advanced program is designed for different age groups to deeply explore and discuss environmental issues, to unlock the black box of Chi Po-lin’s memory, and experience the digital archive.
Whenever there are children visitors, the Chi Po-lin Museum always becomes a heartwarming space. The Hsinchu Zhu Guang Junior High School has a tradition of naming classes after respectable figures. When the “Chi Po-lin Class” led by the class teacher, Chuang Yi-ping, visited the Chi Po-lin Museum, they personally donated the fund raised during the school’s charity fair to the Foundation. According to Chuang, “the teenagers in junior high school are in a stage, in which they long to explore. As a teacher, what I can do is to sow as many diverse seeds as possible, and patiently wait for them to germinate and grow strong. After all, no one can say for certain if the next Chi Po-lin would be in his or her class.”
What Chuang finds surprising is that “when these feisty kids listen to the guided tour, they have shown a kind of dialectic concentration. Because of the rambunctiously distracting Tamsui Old Street outside, I had thought that they might not be able to sit still. However, I am truly surprised by how they have been immersed in the beautiful landscape, and their sadness of finding the environment being damaged. Such straightforward and candid reaction touches me deeply, and makes me feel that we cannot waste even a second when it comes to education…I’m truly glad that I have taken them to the Chi Po-lin Museum, where the seeds of courage are planted in their hearts.”
“I want all 23 millions of people to see what I have seen!” This has been Chi Po-lin’s biggest wish when he filmed Beyond Beauty – TAIWAN FROM ABOVE. After these years, and with the support of Family Mart’s spare change donation, the Foundation can now continue Chi’s dream: to bring Chi’s documentary films into schools for free public screenings.
With “Future Chi Po-lin．Public Screening of Beyond Beauty – TAIWAN FROM ABOVE,” schools can not only apply to screen the documentary, Beyond Beauty, or the aerial short film Beyond Beauty Taiwan 2.0, but can also combine screenings with environmental talks, which invite Kuo Chao-wei, the secretary-general of the Taiwan Association for Marine Environmental Education (TAMEE), to be the speaker. Kuo specializes in using storytelling to communicate environmental issues. Before the screening, he would share children the life story of Chi Po-lin to bring them to a quiet and calm state of mind. If most of the children have seen Beyond Beauty, he would then provide commentaries on the locations and environmental issues in the images as the film goes along to offer a more memorable viewing perspective.
In the public screening at New Taipei Municipal Luzhou Junior High School, the colorful river polluted by industrial wastewater on the screen made the children gasp in surprise. After the screening, a teacher especially came on to greet Kuo. She learned the information about the public screening project during a walking tour, and immediately recommended the project to the school, which made them the first one to apply. This year, the quota of school public screenings is ninety-three sessions. On the first day of the application, eighty-two sessions were booked right away. As of now, all sessions were already booked.
“I have seen Beyond Beauty more than twenty times, but I was always emotional each time I watched it,” said Kuo. The last two scenes at the end of the film especially speak to him—the giant footprints in the rice paddies in Yuli, and the waving national flags on the summit of Yushan. After every screening session, Kuo always uses the last two scenes to convey a message to students: “No matter where you are, no matter you are part of a group or by yourself, as long as you can bring the best into what you do, you can create a positive influence on the world.”
From one person to a group of people, with the support of spare change donation from Family Mart, we have taken the first step in this journey of environmental education. It is our sincerest hope to be able to gather more resource and power in the Taiwan society to initiate more environmental education outreach program in schools.
Environmental education is the root to build a friendly relationship with our land and nature. The Chi Po-lin Foundation firmly believes that the hope of a sustainable future lies in working with the seedlings to nurture generations of power of change. We look forward to seeing you joining us and become part of this hopeful power of sustainability.