Saturday, October 21, 2017

Contribute directly to our Forest Healing Project

You can now be a part of Polwaththa's Forest Healing Project (FHP).

The 5-hectare land in which our 12 Lodges stand is fully covered by a range of trees, some of which are unknown to even the locals.  “Polwaththa” in the local language means coconut estate which was so, until we allowed nature to take over, letting other endemic trees share the land, thus converting it to what is now called a “Kandyan Forest Garden”. 

We have now gone beyond our boundaries in promoting re-forestation by purchasing our neighbour's barren lands – so caused by the felling of trees for quick money, in a program called the “Forest Healing Project” where we re-introduce endangered plants and live in harmony with the forest – more information can be found in the previous post. Besides the benefits to the local community and the environment, this project helps to off-set the carbon foot-print of our visitors, especially of those taking long-haul flights, by planting new trees. So, feel good when you are staying with us, knowing that you are contributing in some way to becoming carbon-neutral - a burning issue that will soon determine the future of our planet. The partnership with a few like-minded Dutch individuals has given this project an international flavor and the scope to make a major contribution towards this cause. 

To support the Forest Healing Project we have constructed 2 lodges which can now be booked. This is an opportunity for you to get involved and directly contribute to this project. 

The Victoria View Cabana 

(starting from US$ 91,-): An even larger bedroom and balcony built from wood, commanding a breathtaking view of lake Victoria surrounded by majestic mountains. It also has a kitchen with refrigerator & electric kettle and the “cell” - a small bed-room below the cabana with the same great view – total 5 beds, 450 meters from the restaurant. When taking the somewhat long walk to and from the restaurant on this jungle-path, you will be accompanied by a “guard”. Alternatively, you could have authentic Sri Lankan meals at our affiliated village home 150 meters away or even have them brought to your room for a nominal extra charge. When taking this room, you will be directly contributing US$ 15,- per night to the Forest Healing Project.

The Corner Lodge

(starting from US$ 77,-) So called for the remoteness. Made from cement bricks and covered by clay with veranda – 2 beds, jungle view, 500 meters from the restaurant - guard provided for this walk, kitchenette - mini fridge and electric kettle. Option to have meals at our affiliated village home 100 meters away or be served by them in your room for a nominal extra charge. By staying here, you will be directly contributing US$ 10,- per night to the Forest Healing Project.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Polwaththa's Forest Healing Project

It has been 8 years since the Ellegala family (Sri Lankan/Dutch) started Polwaththa Eco-Lodges in their ancestral village near Kandy, Sri Lanka. The prime objectives of this venture was to protect the environment and uplift the livelihood of the villages which was achieved by hiring rooms to tourists. However, the surrounding lands were subject to deforestation by the owners of those lands for quick money which sadly continues even today. Although "buying" their trees to ensure the survival of the trees met with limited success, the only practical and permanent solution was to purchase their (now barren) lands for re-forestation. 

With a generous contribution - in both funds and expertise from Henk Kieft from the Netherlands, the Forest Healing Project (FHP) was launched in October 2016 with the purchase of 2 hectares (5.5 acres) of barren land close to Polwaththa Eco-Lodges. Within the first 3 months, almost 300 new plants were planted, consisting of large forest trees - some endemic, wild flowering trees, Arabica coffee and a range of fruit trees, complete with protective nets against damage from wild animals such as deer, porcupine, wild-boar and monkey. 

We can happily say that our efforts were worthwhile since almost all the new plants are doing well and we are well on our way to get the forest back. This investment, if restricted to re-forestation, has no return, and over a period of time, will be a drain on resources. In order to be self-sufficient, a few cabanas, fitting with the surroundings, are being built to generate an income to meet the expenses of maintaining the project. 

If this works to it's true potential, FHP could purchase more such lands to further expand on the re-forestation project, or in the least, make it viable. At a time that the whole world is conscious of Global Warming, this project provides an ideal opportunity for those tourists taking a long flight to Sri Lanka to off-set their Carbon Foot-print (at a least a part thereof), by planting a tree. 

If anyone is interested to participate in this project or would like to know more please feel free to contact us. 

We look forward to your participation.