A ‘natureful’ New Year

EFL’s 2011 calendar gives a timely message on protecting Sri Lanka’s heritage and biodiversity..
This is the time of year when everyone is on the hunt for a good calendar that they will be happy to have around for the next 12 months. Its pages will be turned monthly allowing 12 new images to catch owner’s eyes. So a calendar is indeed a creative way to reach the public and the Environmental Foundation Ltd. (EFL) has used their 2011 calendar to pass a timely message of the need to protect Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and biodiversity.The EFL calendar contains beautiful images – Kudrimalai in Wilpattu, Sinharaja, Horton Plains, Kumana, starfish in Kalpitiya and underwater images of the ocean off Colombo among them. “A photograph is worth a thousand words” seems justified when turning the pages of this calendar. Each page highlights an environmental issue while educating the general public on it.

The first page of January features the breathtaking scenery of Kudrimalai Point, Wilpattu photographed from its beach. The text introduces this famed spot. “Situated in Wilpattu, this historic spot is now under threat from ad hoc development, including roads that are splitting the park apart and with human settlements encroaching on its fringes”. It is indeed an effective way to communicate the message of the need to protect Wilpattu which has been plagued for nearly three decades by security issues, and now with the dawn of peace, is facing its greatest threat.

“We had handpicked this Kudrimalai picture for our calendar,” said Venuri de Silva, Head of Communications and Fundraising Manager of Environmental Foundation Ltd. (EFL). The team had seen this photo through the Facebook Group set up to save Wilpattu and photographer Ifham Raji willingly contributed it for the calendar.

EFL used a photograph of Kudrimalai Point for their 2010 calendar too. Last year it was a view taken from the sea by Vimukthi Weeratunga showing the beautiful coastal forest together with the red sands of Kudrimalai. “As per the news we’ve got, this scene is no more as the coastal areas near Kudrimalai too has been axed for the so-called Wilpattu road expansion,” said Venuri. So threats indicated in the text are not to be taken lightly.

The other photographs too are exceptional images. Starfish on the beach in Kalpitiya were captured in an image by Deshan Tennekoon on the little island of Vellai off Battalagunduwa. These starfish are still not rare, but the message is a reminder that they could be threatened. “Development, if carried out ignoring established environmental safeguards, will destroy delicate ecosystems and with it, Kalpitiya’s major tourist potential within years.”

This is the third consecutive year that EFL has printed a calendar to highlight Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity. Funds raised through the sale of the calendar will support EFL’s conservation battle through lawsuits they are currently mounting. For more inquiries call on 011- 7396702 or email your orders to efl@sltnet.lk.

publishd on SundayTimes on 02.01.2011

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