ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 02, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 40
Financial Times  

CEA, JKH launch work on Nature Field Centre at Rumassala

The Central Environment Authority (CEA) and John Keells Holdings have joined hands to establish Sri Lanka's first ever Nature Field Centre at Rumassala, in Galle.

Located approximately a few kilometres away from Galle, Rumassala is an ancient hillock that traces its roots to the epic, 'Ramayana'. The area is rich in biodiversity, with over 60 species of endemic birds, marine life, coral reefs and a number of rare medicinal plants. The Rs. 6.9 million Nature Field Centre will be constructed on a section of the 0.8 hectares of land managed by the CEA in this area. The facility, which will include an auditorium, library and canteen, will primarily target school children, and will be operated by the regional staff of the CEA from Galle, according to a JKH statement.

The foundation stone for the Nature Field Centre was recently laid by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Patali Champika Ranawake in the presence of Udaya Gammanpila, Chairman, CEA, Sumithra Gunasekera, Director, John Keells Holdings and several other VIPs.The building is the result of a MoU signed in January this year between the CEA and the JK Social Responsibility Foundation. Sponsored by the JKSRF, and designed by the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, this building pioneers the concept of 'green' buildings in Sri Lanka and is expected to be completed by May 2008.

Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Prof. Chitra Wedikkara said this project is a very special one, because it is the first project designed on 'green' strategies that the Department of Architecture has undertaken.

“We will be utilising low-embodied energy and sustainable materials in the design of the Nature Field Centre and will aim to obtain 'green' certification for the building," she said.

The Nature Field Centre will conduct half-day programmes for groups of 75-100 children to experience, observe and learn about biodiversity in the area, eco-friendly practices and co-existing in harmony with the environment. Audio-visual tools will also be used to educate visitors about global warming and the detrimental effects of green house gases.


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