In the late 1980’s C.W.Nicol sat on a panel for the Japanese Minister of the Environment. There were many problems and ideas for solutions. Only Nicol brought up the problem of the serious lack of trained national park rangers. There are 41 national parks, 58 quasi national parks and 314 prefectural parks in Japan but at the time there were only 120 park rangers. Most of these rangers had no real field training; they took up their positions straight from university. Usually there was only a single ranger assigned to a national park, and that only for two, maybe three years. In contrast, when Nicol established the Simien Mountain National park in Ethiopia he had under his command 20 armed rangers and an assistant warden who graduated from the College of African Wildlife Management in Mweka, in Tanzania.
C.W.Nicol began buying tracts of abused and neglected woodland in the early 1980’s in northern Nagano prefecture, Japan, which is his home. From 1986 he hired a local forester, Mr. Matsuki Nobukiyo, to help him with the clearing out of diseased or badly damaged trees, to thin out the dense scrub, and to bring light to the forest floor.
Together they not only thinned out trees and shrubs they also planted species that had been exterminated by poor management, species such as beech, horse chestnut and various others, all important trees for wildlife.
In 2002 Nicol donated this woodland to create a trust. Since then the woodland and its activities have expanded. Now the woodland trust itself has 34 hectares, but also manages 27 hectares of adjacent national forest.
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As Kokoro’s first appearance at the Blackpool Gin Festival, we were more than excited to be back in our hometown. Based within the beautiful setting of the Tower Ballroom, we instantly knew it would be a festival to remember. We were situated on the balcony above the ballroom so we had great views of the ballroom itself and of course the stage for the band.
Recently we had the pleasure of hosting a Kokoro dinner at Nippon Kitchen in Glasgow where we told tales of the forest, ate some excellent Japanese food paired with three of our favourite Kokoro cocktails. We started the night with the Kokoro perfect serve, G&T with a twist of lemon and a big sliver of fresh ginger. Sansho berries are at the heart of Kokoro Gin, and when they’re fresh like we use in our distillation, they are wonderfully aromatic and with loads of citrus flavour with a gentle warming spice…