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The Mission of the SLWCS Outdoor Environmental Education Program: To enable children to experience transformative education by living and learning together in closeness with the natural environment.

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A transformative education learning from Nature

The Outdoor Environmental Education Program (OEEP) of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society which has the approval of the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka was primarily developed to cater to school children.

The objective is through our Conservation Camps to increase environmental awareness among children by using various recreational activities like hiking, night safaris, trekking, boating and birding to expose them to observing insects, butterflies, mammals, reptiles, aquatic life and conduct research activities like elephant observations, electric fence and tank monitoring, camera and sand trapping, stakeholder analysis regarding human wildlife conflict issues and grasp the basics of preparing Geographic Information System (GIS) maps. The OEEP is totally structured to teach youngsters the value of ecosystems, biodiversity, wildlife conservation, sustainable development concepts and good stewardship through "hands on" and experiential learning.

Through the OEEP what the SLWCS aims is to give children a realistic picture of the conservation challenges in Sri Lanka and in the world. Any member of the public with the means can visit national parks where they can view wildlife. But apart from a privileged few such as researchers, university students and NGOs, only a very few would have the opportunity to get involved in wildlife research and conservation work. The OEEP is providing this opportunity to children to gain such experiences through “active involvement.”


Active involvement

The very first Outdoor Environmental Education Program was conducted in August 2007 to nine students between the ages of 13 to 19 from the Wildlife Society of the St. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.

The Master in Charge at the time Mr. A.E.N. Fernando and Assistant Master, Asanka Perera had this to say about the program: “This programme is indeed commendable. In fact, our society is one of the oldest—if not the oldest, societies in school. We organize field excursions during every school vacation. We have visited many National Parks (NPs) in Sri Lanka. Also, our students have willingly contributed to the betterment of these parks. We put up name boards, gifted trackers with shoes, jackets and the like, refurbished old visitor centres, conducted presentations for other schools, etc. However, we find this programme to be unique in many ways. Although we have visited several NPs, we have never hiked inside forests, haven’t observed birds, butterflies, insects so closely, we have never spent nights in tree huts. Also, we haven’t analysed environment issues so closely and never conducted stakeholder analysis. In this sense, we believe this programme is indeed worthwhile participating in. We are glad we did it.”


Students from the St. Thomas' College Wildlife Society (August 2007)


The most recent Outdoor Environmental Education Program was conducted from April 9th to the 14th for a group of six 10 to 13 year old kids consisting of four boys and two girls from the British School and Stafford International in Colombo, and St. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. We are happy to share one of the participants’ Anya de Saram-Larssen’s experiences participating in this program.

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Anya donating the money raised from the Bake Sale for the EleBus (May 2016)

My name is Anya de Saram-Larssen and I am a 13-year-old animal lover and nature enthusiast. This was my third visit to the Wasgamuwa area. I first got involved with the SLWCS through a bake sale I organized at my school three years ago to help fund the Elefriendly Bus. I am passionate about wildlife and I’m especially interested in learning more about marine biology. I also have an interest in technology, so would love to find ways of using technology in conservation.

I have learned a lot about human elephant conflict through my visits to Wasgamuwa and have shared what I know about this important issue on and, two citizen journalism websites. I look forward to making many more trips to Wasgamuwa in the future. Just imagining a world without free roaming elephants and other wild animals frightens me, and that fear is what motivates me to do what I can to help.

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Anya with Sashen and Vethiya recording field data

My week in Wasgamuwa
Anya de Saram-Larssen
April 9-14, 2018

I enjoyed the week-long conservation camp a lot. We got a good introduction to the various activities carried out by the SLWCS, for example, the different techniques used to limit human-elephant conflict, a very serious problem in the area. Some of the projects we learnt about were the bee fences, Project Orange Elephant, the Elefriendly bus and how drones might be used to keep people and elephants safe.

My favourite part had to be when we went into the lake in front of the Field House to learn about aquatic fauna and flora. We spotted lots of small fish and some cool aquatic plants. It was really fun getting wet. Syria and Akila from the SLWCS were excellent guides. The safari in the Wasgamuwa National Park was also a highlight of the camp. We saw so many animals I lost count…peacocks, deer, large herds of elephants and lots of species of birds. Playing games and sharing snacks with the village kids was also good fun.

This trip was an experience of a lifetime and I hope more kids get the chance to visit Wasgamuwa.

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Learning how to use a GPS from Chandima with the jolly green Elefriendly Bus in the background.

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Checking out the photos from a Camera Trap


Weeding orange plants

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Learning how drones can be used to resolve human elephant conflicts


Learning about aquatic fauna and flora with Syria and Akila

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A herd of elephants observing us at the Wasgamuwa National Park!

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Another herd with several babies


In the back: Kavith, Sashen, Kavitha, Kavan, Vethiya and Anya hanging out with friends from the Pussellaya village

Photo Credits:

Anya de Saram-Larssen
Ravi Corea/SLWCS

Big, rumbling thanks to our Corporate Partners for their kind support and to everyone who has donated and supported our wildlife conservation efforts!

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