Nilesh Siriwardane (web content team)
Founded in 2008, by the TIC, Mrs. Nalinikrishna Udayakumaran, The WildLife Club is a prominent and popular club among middle school scholars. For 14 years, this club has been running under the guidance of Nalini teacher but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club became dormant. As activities kick started at the the beginning of 2023, hope and enthusiasm thrived among a new generation of animal enthusiasts.
The club field trip was a highly anticipated tour, and finally, the 19th of December dawned, by 5.30 a.m., we started our journey to Wilpattu National Park.
We were accompanied by Mrs Nalini Udayakumaran, Mrs Shanaz, Naufer, and Mr Upali. Our first stop was the Pulleiyar Kovilin Kandy, and the committee along with their teacher, with an offering, sought protection from the deities for the trip to go smoothly and to have a safe journey. After boarding the bus, we travelled towards our next stop: Munneshwaram Kovil. Once more, some members got off to pray and seek blessings. Munneshwaram Kovil, built during the Chola era, is one of the oldest religious monuments of the Hindus and I think it was a good experience to see this place.
Our 3rd destination was the Norochcholai power plant. We learnt how the plant operated and about its impact on the distribution of electricity within Sri Lanka. It was truly a mind-blowing sight, and everyone was inspired by the tireless efforts of its employees who work through life-threatening situations, just so the people of this country don’t have to suffer. At around 4.30 pm, we arrived at the Wildlife bungalow, which was a 2 storeyed building overlooking a ‘villu’. The students got an opportunity to watch animals in the swamp; inhabited by crocodiles, visited by grazing deer and countless peacocks. It was a very rare opportunity and every one of us felt grateful for amazing nature.
Our activities started by 4.30 a.m the next day and continued until 6.30 a.m. everyone was dressed and having breakfast. As promised, the safari jeeps came at 7.00, and we commenced the most awaited part of the journey.
As we travelled through dense jungle, the students got a once in a lifetime opportunity to see more than 2 leopards. They spotted deer, buffalo, crocodiles, endemic birds and reptiles. As the safari came to an end at 12.00 afternoon, we had our lunch next to the museum and departed by 1.00 pm.
On our way home, the students sang songs and had great fun. As much as this field trip was educational, it was an unforgettable tour that would stay with us for the rest of our lives.
This trip was a reflection of how hard the committee works to organise a tour of this nature.
This year being Nalini teacher’s last year at school, we felt gratitude for all the years of commitment she’d put through to teach us how important nature is. With all our hearts we wish Nalini teacher who will never be forgotten, a happy and peaceful retirement.