Our Activities for year 2022
World Soil Day program
The World Soil Day as declared by the UN General Assembly, is held annually on 5th December to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate the sustainable management of soil resources. In line with the theme of The World Soil Day 2022; “Soils: Where food begins”, the Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka, being the main professional association working with soil science in Sri Lanka, has organized a series of remarkable and engaging activities to demonstrate the importance of soils and popularize soil science among school children and the general public. The society organized the World Soil Day Celebrations on 5th December 2023 at the main auditorium of the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and it was attended by over 100 participants including school children. Mrs. H.M.J. Illankoon Menike, Director General of Agriculture, Prof. Sarath Kodituwakku, the Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Prof. Mahinda Dematawewa, the Director of Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Mrs. N.D. Wickramarachchi, the Director (Land Resources), Ministry of Environment, Mr. K.A.I. D. Silva, National Project Manager (Healthy Landscape Project), Ministry of Environment and several other government officials, representatives from the private sector and academia participated as distinguished invitees.
On this occasion, the following events were hosted as the world soil day celebration activities:
• Grand finale of the Central Province Inter-School Quiz Competition under the theme “Soil for Life”
• Exhibition of the winning photographs of the all-Island photography competition under the theme “Healthy Soil – Healthy Life”
• Exhibition of the drawings submitted to the all-Island arts competition held under the theme “Protect Soils, Where Food Begins” and drawings by the Kindergraten students
• Award ceremony for the winners of photo contest, drawing competition and the quiz program
• Launching of the special publication on “Soils of the Northern Region of Sri Lanka” edited by Prof. R.B. Mapa
• Guest Lecture on “Soil for Nutrition” by Prof. Warshi Dandeniya of Department of Soil Science, University of Peradeniya
The activities conducted are already displayed in the FAO world soil day event calendar of 2022 (https://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/worldwide-events/en/). We greatly acknowledge the sponsorships received from the Healthy Landscape Project of the Ministry of Environment, CIC Agribusiness Pvt. Ltd., Lankem Ceylon PLC, AgStar Pvt. Ltd., and KOPIA Project.
An aptitude test for screening for the quiz competition was held on 17th October and schools in the Central Province participated in that. The number of schools qualified for the first round from Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya districts were 21, 10 and 9 respectively. The first round of oral quiz program was held on 23rd November, 2022 at the University of Peradeniya. The Semi-final and Final round of Quiz were held on 5th December, 2022 at University of Peradeniya. Dr. D.N. Vidana Gamage coordinated the activity with his team comprising of Dr. Pavani Dissanayake, Dr. Chammi Attanayake and Ms. Manori Karunarathne.An aptitude test for screening for the quiz competition was held on 17th October and schools in the Central Province participated in that. The number of schools qualified for the first round from Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya districts were 21, 10 and 9 respectively. The first round of oral quiz program was held on 23rd November, 2022 at the University of Peradeniya. The Semi-final and Final round of Quiz were held on 5th December, 2022 at University of Peradeniya. Dr. D.N. Vidana Gamage coordinated the activity with his team comprising of Dr. Pavani Dissanayake, Dr. Chammi Attanayake and Ms. Manori Karunarathne.
The submissions received under open category and school category were 51 and 19, respectively. The photographs were evaluated by a panel of qualified photographers comprised of Dr. Ajith Gunawardena of Central Environmental Authority, Prof. Venura Herath of University of Peradeniya, Mr. Mendis Wickramasinghe of Wild Life Support, and Mr. Isuru de Zoysa, an architect and a wild life expert. The shortlisted ten photographs were displayed in the society Facebook page and the most popular photograph was selected based on votes. The activity was coordinated by Ms. E. Weerawardhana with the support of Prof. W.S. Dandeniya.
The submissions received under primary school children (age 5-10) and secondary school children (age 11-14) categories were 203 and 92, respectively. The total number of schools participated was 61. The drawings were evaluated at the first round by Prof. W.A.U. Vitharana and Prof. R.M.C.P. Rajapaksha of University of Peradeniya and Dr. B.L.W.K. Balasooriya of Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. The shortlisted drawings were evaluated by Prof. W.M.P. Sudarshana Bandara of the Department of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya. The shortlisted ten drawings from each category were displayed in the society Facebook page and the most popular drawing was selected based on votes. The activity was coordinated by Dr. B.L.W.K. Balasooriya with the support of Prof. W.S. Dandeniya.
50th Annual session and Annual general meeting
The 50th Annual sessions and Annual general meeting of the Soil Science Society was held on 5th March 2021 at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya with the participation of members through on-line and executive members on-ground. The customary Joachim Memorial Lecture was delivered by Prof. Udaya Vitharana, Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya. The lecture entitled “Soil Survey and Mapping in Sri Lanka, Past and Future Trends” was an eye-opener for fellow scientist about the present status of soil information availability in Sri Lanka and future prospects in the development of spatial soil information inventories.