Centre Name: Diyasaru Park
Name of organisation: Wetland Management Division, Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation
Overall aims of the centre
To provide nature based unique experiences for visitors.
To demonstrate wise use of Colombo wetlands and integration of green infrastructure for city development.
Description of the centre
Extending about 60 acres, Diyasaru Park (which is formerly known as Biodiversity Study park, Thalawathugoda) is located in an urbanized area in Colombo, Sri Lanka within close proximity to the parliament of the country. Park provides a dreamy opportunity for the visitors who need to get more close to the nature forgetting about the heavy traffic jam, busy noises and sweltering heat in the busy city around them.
Diyasaru park is being constructed in an urban wetland which consist of marshy areas, woody patches, artificially created lake and ponds. Being a wetland, the park serves home to many different animals and marshy plants, especially temporary resting place for migratory birds. Giving home to more than 80 species of wetland birds, over 40 butterfly species, many types of fishes, dragonflies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and many terrestrial and aquatic plant species, this park indicates high biodiversity value especially remarking the value of urban wildlife. The most interesting species found in this park are fishing cat (globally and nationally threatened), otter and the estuarine crocodile. The Purple-faced leaf monkey, a long-tailed arboreal languor endemic to Sri Lanka is also seen at Diyasaru Park.
Park contains a study center and an open study area which could be utilized for various educational purposes, board walks for walking through the wetland, butterfly garden, bird watching tower and bird hide for eye catching observations, ground water wells, a laboratory for soil and water quality testing, children’s’ pond, rush and reed pond, organic agricultural area with demonstrated composting operations, and boat rides. Since Park has opened from January 2017, more than 5000 visitors have visited to the park.
Main CEPA work areas
Diyasaru park is one of the key wetland centers in Colombo which delivers the message of importance of urban wetlands to the society. To achieve this objective, park organizes many kinds of programs to educate people about the importance of urban wetlands and biodiversity. Guided nature tours are arranged for students in different age groups ranging from kinder garten to university level. These guided tours include butterfly garden visit, bird watching, wetland plant and other animal observation, laboratory sessions for water quality and soil quality analysis, rush and reed studies, home garden visit etc. Many signage panels are installed at the park for self studies. Special programs are arranged for general public in different themes related to wetlands and biodiversity. To celebrate days such as World Wetland Day, World Environment Day and World Water Day, special programs are organized targeting different stakeholder groups. Park is also rented out to conduct workshops, seminars and many other nature based events. Many local universities are conducting research studies in Diyasaru Park. In addition currently Urban Fishing Cat Project and pilot project to check the feasibility of using oysters for inland aqua culture as well as a water purification technique are being carried out.
Top three successes
Asia Regional Partnership Bird Fair -2016 was conducted at the park on 20th November 2016. The event was organized by the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka together with Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation and NDB Bank. The event consisted ceremonial tree planting by Birdlife Global Council Members, “Save Wetlands for Better Tomorrow” kids art competition, “Wonderful World of Wetland Birds” guided nature walk, Outdoor public lecture, Exhibition Stalls of Asian partners and local partners. More than 500 of general public participated for this event.
To commemorate World Environment Day, 2017 Diyasaru Park organized “I’m with Nature” kids workshop. About 80 number of kids within the age of 7 to 13 years old participated with their parents. A guided nature walk was organized to make the kids more sensitive to the nature. Kids were taken around the wetland and get them involved in activities such as butterfly and dragonfly watch, wetland bird observation, boat rides, wetland plant studies.
Diyasaru Park together with Sri Lanka Water Partnership organized a stakeholder workshop for the all members in National Wetland Steering Committee and many other wetland specialists in the country. The theme of the workshop is “Future of Colombo Wetlands”. During the event it was discussed how Colombo wetlands should be managed and used wisely in order to gain multiple benefits to the country. More than 50 higher government officials, private sector stake holders members from various NGOs participated for this event.
Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat / building / maintaining structures
Working with disabled people; Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Chethika Gunasiri, Environmental Scientist
Address: Wetland Management Division, Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, No. 03, Sri Jayawardanapura Mw, Welikada, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka
Skype : chethika.gunasiri