Winner avatar
2005 Continuation Funding
2003 Continuation Funding
2002 Runner-up
Kanchana Weerakoon Sri Lanka Terrestrial
Spot Billed Pelican, Sri Lanka

Conservation of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Spot Billed Pelican in Sri Lanka

The Colombo City area is home to just one declared bird sanctuary, the Bellanwill-Attidiya Marsh. Despite its protected status, much domestic and industrial garbage is dumped here, especially polythene. The project will seek to improve the availability of recycling facilities, and assist the municipal council in educating people about composting, reusing and recycling. The team will also monitor the marsh to identify changes in pollution levels and biodiversity.

The Peak Wilderness Sanctuary combines an area of extremely high biodiversity with one of the holiest places in Sri Lanka. Each year nearly 2 million pilgrims come to Adam’s Peak, which inevitably results in a problem of waste disposal, with much non-biodegradable material such as polythene being brought into the area.

The team intends to mount an education programme aimed at the pilgrims, stressing the importance of the area in terms of biodiversity as well as its religious significance, and monitor the impact of this campaign on rubbish levels. In November 2002, the second phase of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary Conservation Programme (PWSCP) was launched, following which Kanchana has managed to gain the support of a government project (Upper watershed management).


In addition to her initial Rufford Small Grant, Kanchana received a runners-up prize in the 2002 Whitley Awards to continue her work, and Continuation Funding in 2003.


March 2011

10 years on from the establishment of ECO-V, Kanchana has co-founded another organization called Journeys for Climate Justice. JCJ is a Melbourne based incorporated organization that seeks to establish partnerships between people in Australia (and other developed countries) and the Asia Pacific region to tackle climate change. JCJ, and its first project, was launched on 2 March 2011 by Victoria’s Governor David de Kretser.

This first project will build awareness and action on climate change across Sri Lanka and the focus will be a 12 day river journey involving 20 newly trained youths working with communities along the Kelani River. This journey will attract national media attention. The Kelani Nadee Yatra initiative will be organised by ECO-V. ECO-V will train the youth ambassadors, with diverse backgrounds from across Sri Lanka, in climate change and other environmental issues. Along the way the youths and ECO-V professionals will work with local communities to empower them to take action and raise awareness of climate change, undertake local environmental surveys and propose possible initiatives. ECO-V will also provide continued support for two years after the river journey for the youth in applying their new skills and experience in their home communities.