Winners of the WED 2012 Competition go on tour with Professor Kotagama.
The winners of the WED 2012 Competition had the privilege of a rare opportunity to experience nature under the guidance of Professor Sarath Kotagama who is perhaps the most highly regarded Sri Lankan naturalist of our times.
The WED 2012 Competition, conducted under two categories, was organised by Dilmah Conservation for the 2nd consecutive year, together with Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science (SLAAS), the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) and the Funday Times, to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) which is an annual event of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The aim of the WED 2012 Competition, was to initiate children to the idea of being conscious and conscious living, where they respect and appreciate nature as an essential part of their lives. This was in line with this year’s theme for World Environment Day – Green Economy: Does it include you?
They were given the opportunity to showcase their creative talent, computer literacy skills and thinking ability. Using their affinity with modern technology, the children were asked to either build a database using photography or, develop an interactive website guided and inspired by nature. The winners were selected by an expert panel of eminent judges.
The tour – which was the reward for the winning entries – organised by Dilmah Conservation together with Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science (SLAAS), the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) and the Funday Times, saw 7 of the winners and their parents embarking on the 25th August 2012 on a 3-day journey that took them from the mysterious and beautiful Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area to the famous Udawalawe National Park.
The treks led by Professor Kotagama, through the lush rainforest dripping with rain, were truly unique experiences, where everyone was charmed by the silence of the forest and learnt to identify various flora and fauna unique to the region. The group was greeted with bird calls and four blue magpies, iconic of Sinharaja, were up at dawn to greet the early-risers.
The safari through Udawalawe was full of thrills, where they got up-close with the elephants the park is famous for. The winners thoroughly enjoyed themselves, while Professor Kotagama shared his vast knowledge on wildlife and the territory with them. The next stop was the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, where orphaned elephant calves are cared for, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. The group was just in time for the 12 noon feed. The elephant calves were entertaining as they tried all the tricks in the book to get more than their share of the feed.
The last stopover point was Mankada – the MJF Foundation Centre for Art & Craft – where exquisite pottery items are made by hand. The winners were given a demonstration and they got the chance to create their own elephant figurines out of clay, inspired by what they saw earlier that day. Some of them discovered they were naturals at it, as they tried their hands at the pottery wheels, under the tutelage of the staff at Mankada.
It was an informative, interesting and a truly unforgettable experience for all the participants. Dilmah Conservation understands and supports the need to build a lasting bond between nature and children – the next generation of leaders and decision-makers, who would shape the course of the human actions affecting the overall environment. This tour was a manifestation of making that thought a reality.
Established in 2007 in accordance with the pledge made by Dilmah to make business a matter of human service, Dilmah Conservation is working towards the sustainable use of environment, in partnership with a host of global and local organisations. It is deeply committed to finding ways where man and nature can co-exist is harmony, so that our future generations too can benefit from these efforts and learn to care for the world we live in.
Shared on 20th September 2012