Sobaraksha, an initiative led by the Wildlife and Animal Welfare Sub-Avenue of the Rotaract Club of University of Kelaniya, is a remarkable conservation project dedicated to the preservation of natural ecosystems, encompassing both flora and fauna. With a touch of scientific finesse and a sustainable spirit, this project transcends the ordinary, unlocking the gateway to a realm where trees whisper secrets and wildlife paints the canvas of life. Sobaraksha was a project that leveraged the club’s university-based advantage to access valuable resources and expertise. Embrace the magic of Sobaraksha, where passion meets purpose and nature’s wonders come alive.
Through a collaboration with the esteemed partners of the Department of Zoological Gardens and the Department of Forestry, Sri Lanka, Sobaraksha achieved a momentous feat. With unwavering dedication, Sobaraksha orchestrated a tree planting and monitoring program, sowing the seeds of a greener future. The collective efforts of this initiative culminated in the successful planting of 1000 trees, a testament to the power of unity and conservation. Together, we are nurturing the very essence of nature, breathing life into the landscapes that hold the key to our planet’s flourishing beauty. The Zoological Garden in Kahapola, Piliyandala was the selected location to initiate and implement the initiative on the 20th of March 2023. The tree planting and monitoring initiative commenced through the valuable partnership between the Department of Zoological Gardens which played a pivotal role in choosing the location, selecting appropriate plants, and conducting post-monitoring activities and the Department of Forestry Sri Lanka which provided the plants needed for the plantation program. The University of Kelaniya played a significant role by providing invaluable resources and expertise. The university’s extensive capabilities allowed for a scientific approach to be adopted, ensuring that the project was well-planned and executed.
At the heart of the project’s mission was the noble objective of combating deforestation by nurturing a thriving forest cover. This visionary endeavor not only aimed to restore vital green spaces but also sought to create a bountiful source of sustenance for the cherished animals residing within the Zoological Garden. Through careful planting and diligent efforts, the project aimed to strike a harmonious balance between conservation and providing a flourishing habitat for our beloved animal companions. To secure the long-term viability of the planted trees, a rigorous and comprehensive monitoring protocol was meticulously established. This included measuring the soil quality parameters including soil pH, Salinity, Cation Exchange Capacity, soil organic matter content and monitoring the soil quality through frequent testing, thereby ensuring optimal growth conditions and the project’s overall sustainability. An analysis was conducted to measure the Carbon Sequestration amount for the 1000 trees, taking height and circumference measurements of 50 samples onsite and predicting the growth of the planted trees for a time period of 10 years.
The Wildlife and Animal Welfare Sub-Avenue of the Rotaract Club, with the support of university resources, conducted regular monitoring activities. The staff of the Zoological Garden is providing the necessary care and protection for the planted trees, further reinforcing the commitment to sustainable practices. The success of the project can be attributed to the synergistic collaboration of various stakeholders, including dedicated Rotaract Club members, the esteemed Department of Zoological Gardens, the esteemed Department of Forestry, passionate volunteers, and the supportive local community. Together, their collective efforts played a pivotal role in achieving the project’s goals and fostering a positive impact on the environment. Through its inclusive approach, Sobaraksha effectively generated a lasting impact, encompassing both environmental conservation and community engagement. The collaborative efforts of various stakeholders led to tangible outcomes that will endure over time, ensuring a legacy of environmental preservation and meaningful community involvement.
In addition to their efforts, the organizing committee utilized the expansive reach of social media to disseminate a series of informative flyers aimed at educating the public about the significance of wetlands. By employing visually captivating designs and concise yet compelling content, these flyers served as powerful tools to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for these unique ecosystems.
Sobaraksha serves as a shining model for conservation projects, showcasing the seamless integration of scientific methodologies, expert knowledge, and the vast resources of universities. Sobaraksha tapped into a wellspring of resources and expertise, nurturing a legacy of conservation that will flourish for generations to come.