- WNPS monthly lecture brings focus to Colombo’s wetlands
Colombo is a “city of wetlands”. They play a vital role in reducing the impact of flooding, in absorbing pollutants from the air, and in improving water quality. They provide habitat for a wide diversity of life, and support plants and animals that are found nowhere else. Despite the continuing loss and degradation, they still cover over 200 kilometres per square of the metropolis, and its suburbs. They are vital for the healthy wellbeing of the city’s residents. Significantly, wetlands benefit the urban poor from the livelihood they provide with their products, thus making a considerable contribution to the food security of the city.
Unfortunately, many of the wetland ecosystems in Sri Lanka are now threatened by human activity. It is imperative, therefore, that the general population is made aware of their importance and of the need to take appropriate action to conserve these valuable eco-systems.
To explain the importance of these intricately interconnected and balanced wonders of evolution, and the great importance that wetlands have on the future wellbeing of the citizens of this country, the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) is privileged to have the services of three esteemed academics whose combined knowledge covers every facet of this complex eco-system.
Prof. Siril Wijesundara is a research professor attached to the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy. Since 1980, he has been associated with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, and retired as the Director General of the Department of National Botanic Gardens in 2015. In 2006, Prof. Wijesundara was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka. He will make an introductory presentation explaining the numerous ecosystem services freely given to citizens by these amazing wetlands.
Prof. Sevvandi Jayakody is a general committee member of the WNPS, holds a BSc. (Hons.) Degree in Zoology from the University of Kelaniya, a Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the Wildlife Institute of India, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Aberdeen. She has conducted post-doctoral research at the SCIRO – Australia, the James Hutton Institute – Scotland, and at the IDRC – Canada. In 1997, she joined the Department of Wildlife Conservation as an Assistant Director and currently serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. Prof. Jayakody will speak on the “people component of wetlands”.
Prof. Sampath Seneviratne is also a general committee member of the WNPS and the current President of the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), and has made the conservation of Sri Lanka’s birds a mission in his life. A senior lecturer in zoology at the University of Colombo, he has a PhD in Evolutionary Ecology from Memorial University, Canada. In addition, Dr. Seneviratne is a member of the International Ornithological Union, Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), American Ornithologists Union (AOU), and the Oriental Bird Club (OBC). He will speak on “Wetlands connect us – it’s time for us to connect with wetlands”.
The monthly lecture of the WNPS is supported by Nations Trust Bank. The organisation is happy to recommence the physical lecture at the BMICH whilst continuing on both Zoom and Facebook live for the benefit of members who tune in from across the island and the world. Viewers can scan the QR code to access the Zoom link on the day of the lecture.
The lecture is open to both members and non-members. Entrance is free, and the organisation kindly requests attendees to follow all health and safety requirements at BMICH.
WNPS monthly lecture
Time: 6 p.m.
Date: 17 February 2022
Location: Jasmine Hall, BMICH and online via Zoom and Facebook