CELEBRATING THE EARTH DAY: THE VOICE OF THE NEXT GENERATION Our world needs transformational change, and it is time for us, those of the present generation to hold ourselves accountable for our role in the environmental crisis while also calling for bold, creative, and innovative solutions. This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day and this Webinar is designed to commemorate the occasion and to support the worldwide efforts to conserve and revitalize the environment of the blue planet that is our home. If we are to succeed, we must listen to the children who will link hands from around the world during this webinar and voice their concerns and ideas to preserve a pristine environment for their generation. This is the 17th of a series of virtual zoom panel discussions hosted by America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA (ASPAS); Member of Photographic Society of America (PSA) and The International Federation of Photography of Art in France (FIAP). The objective of the series is to showcase the beauty of world fauna and flora and promote environmental conservation in the context of nature photography and tourism, with a special focus on the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s natural habitat. Upcoming program will commemorate the World Earth Day 2021. At a previous ASPAS Webinar, Dr. Peter H. Sand, former Secretary-General of ICUN, stated, “Pandemics such as coronavirus are the result of humanity’s destruction of nature, the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade, as well as the devastation of forests and other wild places, are the driving force behind the increasing number of diseases leaping from wildlife to humans.” The ASPAS Webinars are intended to offer a platform to discuss a more balanced relationship with these ecosystems and the tools that can help us reach this objective, so that future generations can continue to enjoy and benefit from them sustainably and responsibly. Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 which gave voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet. Our planet is an amazing place, but it needs our help to thrive! That is why each year on April 22, more than a billion people celebrate Earth Day to protect the planet from pollution and deforestation and environment related issues. By taking part in activities like picking up litter and planting trees, we are making our world a happier, healthier place to live. In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, the world was consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or the press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, the world remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health. Since, the great challenge for the environmental community is to combat the cynicism of climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent policy makers, and a disinterested public. In the face of these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and established itself as a major movement for global action for the environment. Over the decades, it has brought hundreds of millions of people into the environmental movement, creating opportunities for civic engagement and volunteers in 193 countries. Earth Day engages more than 1 billion people every year and has become a major steppingstone along the pathway of engagement around the protection of the planet. Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day. As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does civil society mobilization, which is reaching a fever pitch across the globe today. Digital and social media are bringing these conversations, protests, strikes and mobilizations to a global audience, uniting a concerned citizenry as never before and mobilizing generations to join together to take on the greatest challenge that humankind has faced. It is quite apparent that the youth of our world should also be engaged in this vital conversation as an absolutely indispensable partner. Governments have recognized this for decades and many have introduced some level of climate and environmental education into their education systems. But the truth is that impact of climate and environmental education is in some cases week, cursory, and still in many countries non-existent. In the decades since the launch of the global environmental movement, it is estimated that more than 3 billion young people have graduated from high school having learned little or nothing about one of the greatest issues that will shape their lives and their livelihoods for decades to come. The time is now, indeed it is long overdue, for a massive environmental literacy campaign that can create a generation of citizens, workers and leaders who really understand why and how to stop climate change and environmental degradation, ensuring that every student around the world completes their formal education as an environmental and climate literate citizen. A citizen who is ready to take action and speak up for change and build knowledge and skills for the growing green sector of clean energy, efficient transportation, sustainable business and making themselves competitive for new jobs. The youth must also equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to build a better future and be stewards of this planet. They must learn that to sustain a functional society and economy, natural resources must be used wisely and efficiently while protecting the ecological systems to ensure clean air, clean water, and food security for all. But just as vitally, we need to equip future generations with the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to survive and indeed thrive in the decades to come. And that begins in school. Even world leaders recognized that pivotal role as far back as 30 years, when the countries that forged the original United Nations climate change treaty in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit enshrined climate education as an essential part of a national response to a global emergency. Educationists believe every school in the world must have compulsory, assessed climate and environmental education with a strong civic engagement component. They have also pointed out that the onus for developing environmental consciousness in youth could not be the sole responsibility of schools as the young people need the help of adult allies. There is a role for everyone, parents, relatives, and society to support youth voices and stand alongside them. It is in that spirit that the America Sri Lanka Photohtaphic Art Society Los Angeles, led by its president, Suriya Jayalath Perera, has organized this Webinar to bring together ten young people from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Sri Lanka to voice their concerns and present their ideas on the occasion of the Earth Day 2021. Youth from ages 6 to 18, will address the entire gamut of environmental issues from climate change to plastic pollution. It would be a truly ground-breaking event, and you can be a part of it by virtually joining them on Sunday April 18th, 2021. The webinar will be moderated by Medini Ratnayake. More Information: Join us live on Sunday April 18th,2021 https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/live Nandasiri (Nandi) Jasentuliyana, Former Deputy Director-General, United Nations COMMEMORATING WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 3 MARCH 2021 Date: Join us live on Sunday 28 Feb 2021 Go to: https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/live/ Time: USA PST 8am/Sri Lanka 9.30pm | UK 4.00pm. | Germany 5.00 PM. PANELISTS: Dr. Peter H. Sand, Mr. Rukshan Jayewardene, Ms. Mari Margil. Program: This is the 16th of a series of virtual zoom panel discussions hosted by America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA (ASPAS); Member of Photographic Society of America (PSA) and The International Federation of Photography of Art in France (FIAP). The objective of the series is to showcase the beauty of world fauna and flora and promote environmental conservation in the context of nature photography and tourism, with a special focus on the grandeur of global natural habitat. This program will commemorate the World Wildlife day 2021. PANELISTS: Dr. Peter Sand Dr. Peter H. Sand was the Secretary-General, of the Organization for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); previously he was Assistant Director-General and later, Acting Director-General, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Previously, he has held several senior positions in international organizations including the post of Senior Environmental Affairs Officer United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva; Legal Adviser for Environmental Affairs, World Bank, Washington D.C.; and Senior Legal Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. Currently, he is a Visiting Professor, University of Paris (Institute des Hautes Etudes Internationals); Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich; and Adjunct Professor, Durham, USA. Previously he has been an Associate Professor, McGill University, Montreal, Canada; and University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has published 145 research papers in international journals on the environment, wildlife, and conservation of fauna and flora. Mr. Rukshan Jayewardene has an M.Phil. in South Asian Archaeology from the University of Cambridge with 14 years of field experience in the Sri Lankan early historic period. For the past 25 years he has been a wildlife photographer, writer on wildlife related topics and a popularizer of Sri Lanka’s amazing biodiversity. He has intensively studied the Sri Lankan leopard in the wild and through that exposure been inspired to work for its long-term conservation. His involvement with five(non-profit) conservation/environmental NGO’s over a twenty-year period, with broadly common goals and like-minded individuals, has resulted in both success and failure. He continues to fight for avoidable, biodiversity loss, in order to conserve the common heritage of all Sri Lankans. He sees the current decade, starting with 2020 being a deciding decade for the Sri Lankan leopards both in and outside legally Protected Areas, together with a host of other animals on land that are co-dependent. Ms. Mari Margil Mari Margil serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights and program manager for CDER’s International Center for the Rights of Nature. Margil previously served as the Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Margil is widely viewed as one of the leading global voices for the recognition of legally enforceable rights of ecosystems and nature. In her role with CDER, Margil works with national, state, and local governments, tribal nations, and indigenous communities in Australia, Sweden, the Philippines, Nepal, and elsewhere, to advance legal and policy frameworks regarding Rights of Nature. She has served as the primary drafter of a “Himalayas Bill of Rights” (Nepal) and other groundbreaking legislation. Her writing has been featured in The Guardian, YES! Magazine, Earth Island Journal, Democracy Journal, World Policy Journal, In These Times, and Common Dreams. Margil received her Master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and is a co-author of The Bottom Line or Public Health (Oxford University Press 2010) and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press 2011). She was a co-host of Democracy Matters, a syndicated public affairs radio show broadcast from KYRS in Spokane, Washington. Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Subject Your Message In Recognition of contribution to protect the Nature by The Nature Conservancy of America COMMEMORATING WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 3 MARCH 2021 The America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society of Los Angeles( ASPAS )and its President Suriya Jayalath Perera are honored by the Nature Conservancy of America for its continuing work in the conservation of wildlife and the preservation of the environment in the context of photography and tourism in Sri Lanka. A certificate of commendation was awarded to ASPAS and its president by the Nature Conservancy of America in recognition of its work including the recent series of WEBINARS exploring the beauty and richness of wildlife and marine life of Sri Lanka by highly acclaimed national and international academics and experts; the educational nature walks conducted for children; and its signature event, the annual photographic exhibition held at UCLA where Sri Lankan photographers display their award-winning nature photography. ASPAS is gratified and encouraged by the award to continue it’s work. Evolution Of National Parks and Conservation of Natural Resources Join us live on: https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbMi2_BFeFoDemZWusyF8Sw Evolution of National Parks and Conservation of Natural Resources This is the Fifteenth of a series of WEBINARs hosted by the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society (ASPAS) in Los Angeles, California USA, a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), and International Federation of Photography Art (FIAP) based in France. The objective of the series is to promote environmental conservation in the context of nature photography and eco-tourism www.usacaaspas.com Date:Saturday, November 14th, 2020 Time:7.00am to 8.00am Local Time in Los Angeles 8 .30pm to 9.30pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Panelist: MR. RANJAN MARASINGHE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION in Sri Lanka Mr. Marasinghe holds a M.P.A., University of Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka; M.S. (Forestry and Environmental Management), University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka; M.B.A. University of Peradeniya; Postgraduate Diploma Wildlife Management, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India; LL.B. Open University of Sri Lanka; and the Postgraduate Diploma in Governance, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. He is a Lecturer on wildlife management at the NATIONAL WILDLIFE TRAINING AND RESEARCH CENTER, in SRI LANKA; He has also been a Visiting Lecturer in Wildlife Management at several universities including at the DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES UNIVERSITY OF COLOMBO. He is the author of “Estimating Recreational Value of Yala National Park”; Co-author of “Institutional Structure and Office Procedure, Handbook for wildlife officers (in Sinhala); and “Wildlife Crime Investigation and Court Procedure, Hand book for wildlife officers” (in Sinhala); and the Editor of WILDLANKA INTERNATIONAL. He is the National Focal Point for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; National Focal Point for South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network; National Focal Point for South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network; and the Authorized officer of the Management Authority of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) in Sri Lanka. He has been a consultant to UNCTAD; and A Member of the Sri Lanka Delegation to several international conferences on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Vanishing Biodiversity And Untapped Potential Of Our Natural Resources You Can Join Live https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ Vanishing Biodiversity and Untapped Potential of our Natural Resources The biggest issues facing the global community today are closely tied to the loss of biodiversity. Biodiversity is the ecological life support providing oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many other ecosystem services. During this WEBINAR, our experts will explain these issues and show us why every one of us should work together to halt the biodiversity crisis. This is the Fourteenth of a series of WEBINARs hosted by the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society (ASPAS) in Los Angeles, California USA, a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), and International Federation of Photography Art (FIAP) based in France. The objective of the series is to promote environmental conservation in the context of nature photography and eco-tourism www.usacaaspas.com Date: Saturday, October 03rd 2020 Time: 7.30am to 8.30am UK 3.30pm Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Panelists: Dr Sevvandi Jayakody PhD Dr Gothamie Weerakoon Dr Sevvandi Jayakody PhD Assistant Director, Department of Wildlife Conservation since 1997 and lecturer, Wayamba University. BSc (Hons.) in Zoology, University of Kelaniya, Post Graduate Diploma in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the Wildlife Institute of India. PhD in Zoology, University of Aberdeen, U.K. Post-doctoral research at SCIRO, Australia, James Hutton Institute, Scotland and IDRC, Canada. She is Coordinator for CITES CoP18, Chairperson of National Mangrove Expert Committee, Member of the Commonwealth Blue Carbon Initiative, a Member of the National Environmental Council and a Director of Environmental Foundation Limited. Research interests include coastal ecosystem management, policy and impacts of human disturbance on ecosystem processes and functions. Dr Gothamie Weerakoon Senior Curator of Lichens and Slime Moulds, Algae, Fungi and Plants Division, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London, U.K. As the Senior Curator of British General and Historical Herbaria is to manage and develop one of the world’s largest lichen collections, lichenicolous fungi and slime moulds with 450,000 specimens and making the collections available for both scientific and historical research. She carried out extensive field work in South and South East Asia observing lichens in their native habitats and identified more than 75 new lichen species, mostly in Graphidaceae from the Old-World tropics. Her research interests are focused on the taxonomy and ecology of tropical lichens, bioindication and conservation of lichenised fungi in endangered habitats. Southern California and International Photo Organizations You Can Join Live https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ This is the 13th in the series of WEBINARS hosted by the America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA. It is intended to introduce the participants to the services available to them through the Southern California and International Photo Organizations. Southern California and International Photo Organizations and Photography/Camera Clubs: * Southern California Council of Camera Clubs (S4C) * Photographic Society of America (PSA) * PSA Southern California Chapter * International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) * Photographic Alliance of America (PAA) Date: Saturday ,19th September 2020 Time: 7.30am to 8.30am PDT time Panellist: Joanne Stolte, Hon PSA, MPSA, EFIAP, ESFIAP Joanne Stolte has earned the photography distinctions MPSA and EFIAP. She was General Chair of the S4C International Exhibition from 2001 to 2017. She is a respected international judge: the Welsh, the Great British Small Print Circuit, Fotoferia, PSA China (Beijing & Takesi), Polish, the Holland Circuit, Gia Dinh (Vietnam), AC-FOTO German Mega Circuit,Maitland (Australia), and Varadinum (Romania). Joanne served on the PSA Board of Directors as Membership Vice President from 2005 to 2010 and as Information Systems Vice President from 2010 to 2011. Joanne is Chair of the Southern California Chapter of PSA and the PSA Journal PID News Editor. She Chaired the PSA Nominating and International Understanding Through Photography (IUTP) Award Committees. She is a trained PSA Portfolio Assessor and has served on the PSA Portfolio Committee since its beginning. She is developing the PSA Portfolio Online Course and instructor training. For her exceptional service to PSA she received the President’s Award in 2009, was elected Honorary Member (HonPSA) in 2018, received the PSA Volunteer Award in 2019, and the PSA Teaching Award in 2020. Joanne is President of the Photographic Alliance of America (PAA, the national photography organization for the USA) which is an Operational Member of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP). She is the FIAP Liaison Officer for the USA and has been awarded the ESFIAP for Excellence of Service to FIAP. Joanne is also the PSA International Partnership Emissary. WONDERS OF BIRD WORLD You Can Join Live https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/Wonders https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFuguxfT3bI Wonders of Bird World from Wildlife Conservation and Photographic perspectives. This is the 12th panel of discussion program is hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA to promote and showcase the incredibly rich biodiversity of the pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, to the world. www.usacaaspas.com Date:Saturday ,5th September 2020 Time: 7.30am to 8.30am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Panellists: VIDYA JOTHI EMERITUS PROFESSOR SARATH WIMALABANDARA KOTAGAMA Dr; SAMPATH S. SENEVIRATNE Mr; BENNY ISAAC JACOBS- SCHWARTZ VIDYA JOTHI EMERITUS PROFESSOR SARATH WIMALABANDARA KOTAGAMA Graduated in Marine Ecology from University of Colombo and holds a PhD in Ornithology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He was an academic since 1974, at the University of Colombo and the Open University of Sri Lanka. First Sri Lankan Professor in Environment at University of Colombo from 1997. He has carried out research on Rainforest Bird Flocks for over 30 years at Sinharaja World Heritage rainforest. He is the author of 25 books and over 100 other publications on environment, mammals, amphibians and birds in English and Sinhala. He was the Director of Wildlife Conservation from 1989 to 1992. He is the founder member of four Environment related NGOs and assisted in the establishment of the Coast Conservation Department and the Central Environmental Authority in Sri Lanka. He has been the chairman of the Environment Council, and member of the North Western Environmental Authority Board and the Biodiversity Experts Committee. He is the author of the National Wildlife Policy, Recipient of several national awards including the highest award Vidya Jothi for science contribution (2017); President’s Lifetime ‘Haritha Abiman’ Award for Environment (2016); and international awards, ‘Nature Interpreter’, Nagoya Prefecture, Japan; Distinguish Achievement Award, USA SAMPATH S. SENEVIRATNE Sampath Seneviratne has a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Ecology froim the Memorial University in Canada. He is a Senior Lecturer in Zoology, Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences, University of Colombo. He is also the President of the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Ecological Association. He is a Consultant Biologist (Evolution | Conservation Genetics | Ornithology). He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Pacific Wildlife Research Centre in Canada, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, Canada and a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, in Canada. He has been carrying out research at the Avian Evolution Node Laboratory, Sri Lanka on Sri Lankan endemic birds using phylogenetic sister pairs, and has been credited with the discovery of four new species to science including a bird, a tree snake and two parasites. Mr; BENNY ISAAC JACOBS- SCHWARTZ A California native, Benny’s innate love for nature was evident at a very young age and eventually fell in love with birds during a college study abroad program in Costa Rica in 2011. Since graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2013, Benny has passionately pursued work as an avian field biologist, international bird guide, land steward, and wildlife photographer working in a wide variety of locations including Central America, Yosemite, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, and most recently to coastal Alaska. A selection of his photos can be seen in his self-published, A Field Guide to Birds of UC Santa Cruz. Benny (or BIJS as many calls him) established the BIRDS by BIJS (pronounced bee-jus), initially begun in response to many requests for urban birding outings, the business has now grown to encompass; a nature inspired clothing line, bird photography and wildlife documentaries and of course local and international bird watching excursions. Based in Los Angeles, BUS offers unique and compelling experiences founded in natural history interpretation, local partnerships, low-impact tourism, conservation, with top-notch accommodations. He hopes his love of the natural world will inspire others to conserve and preserve the open spaces around them! BIG CATS You Can Join Live https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce_d2qOIWfo from Wildlife Conservation and Photographic perspectives. This is the 11th panel of discussion program is hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA to promote and showcase the incredibly rich biodiversity of the pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, to the world. www.usacaaspas.com Date:Saturday ,22nd September 2020 Time: 7.30am to 8.30am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Panellists: ENOKA KUDAVIDANAGE Head of Department & Senior Lecturer Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Department of Natural Resources Sabaragamuwa University Sri Lanka Dr Enoka Kudavidanage graduated from the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo with a BSc honours degree in Zoology and MSc in Environmental Sciences. Enoka’s earliest professional experience is as a freelance environmental journalist, where she interacted with conservation professionals, scientists, grassroots level activists and local communities acquiring a broader outlook to the biodiversity conservation goals. She joined Sabaragamuwa University in 2001 as a junior lecturer in Biodiversity. The university at that time located in a rural area, allowed her to work, with communities severely affected by poverty, natural resource limitations, socio-economic issues and human animal conflicts, and with decision makers struggling to conserve protected areas with the limited available resources amidst the pressure from the community. She completed her PhD in Conservation Biology at the Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore during 2006-2011 as a NUS scholar, under the supervision of Prof. Edward Webb and (late) Prof. Navjot Sodhi. While at NUS, she worked as a teaching assistant and was also active as a RMBR volunteer (Toddy cat). Her PhD research completed in 2011 was conducted in the lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka on the impact of land use change on the biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Through the same research she revised and validated dung beetle fauna of Sri Lanka as a suitable indicator taxon to monitor land use change in Sri Lanka. Currently, she is the Head of the Department & Senior lecturer in Ecology and Conservation Biology at the Department of Natural Resources, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka where she contributes to producing professionals in natural resource management. She works with various governmental and non-governmental organizations research institutes, scientific bodies and NGOs to bridge the gap between the scientists, decision makers and the community. She has several publications in her chosen area of studies. She is a task force member of the Biodiversity unit, National REDD + program of Sri Lanka and the University representative of the academic task force for the Minister of Sustainable development and Wildlife. While focusing on strengthening the existing protected area management, she is much interested in conservation beyond protected areas, where it is necessary to strike a balance between sustainable use of land by the community and maintaining healthy ecosystem processes. Her most recent research includes a study on wildlife crimes, a population assessment and conservation of montane leopards and a status assessment of the National park system.She is also the Founder of Topical Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) and Secretary of the Asia Pacific Chapter of the Association for Topical Biology & Conservation (ATBC) BEHAVIOR OF ASIAN ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA You Can Join Live :https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ Behavior of Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka. Panel Discussion on Wildlife Richness of Sri Lanka from Wildlife Conservation and Photographic perspectives. This program is hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA to promote and showcase the incredibly rich biodiversity of the pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, to the world. www.usacaaspas.com Date:Saturday ,8th August 2020 Time: 7.30am to 8.30am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Panelist: Prithiviraj Fernando, MBBS, MSc, PhD Dr. Fernando qualified as a medical doctor but decided not to practice medicine but to pursue a career in conservation biology. Subsequently he obtained a MSc and PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Oregon, USA. The title of his PhD thesis was ‘Genetics Ecology and Conservation of the Asian Elephant’. He pioneered genetic analysis of Asian elephants using their dung and initiated radio tracking of elephants in Sri Lanka. Upon completion of his PhD in 1999, he joined Columbia University New York, where he continued research on Asian elephants. During this time, he conducted a range-wide genetic evaluation of Asian elephants and established that the elephants in Borneo were not feral but a distinct subspecies. He also worked on the critically endangered Javan rhino and the African rhinos. In 2004, he decided to return to Sri Lanka and set up the Centre for Conservation and Research of which he is the Chairman. The focus of CCR has been on conducting research and conversion of findings to policy and management to better mitigate the human-elephant conflict and conserve elephants. He has conducted studies on elephants and provided advice on elephant management and human-elephant conflict mitigation for governments and conservation agencies in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia. In addition to publishing widely in scientific journals, he has conducted a review of human-elephant conflict mitigation methods in South Asia with WWF and is a member of Asian Elephant Specialist Group working group on producing guidelines for human-elephant conflict mitigation. He is currently authoring a guide to human-elephant conflict mitigation for the World Bank, for distribution in Asia and Africa. He has been a research associate of the Smithsonian Institution, USA since 2005 and a member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN since 2000. He has supervised graduate students from Sri Lanka, India, USA and Japan. He currently serves on Doctoral students’ advisory committees in the University of Colombo and National Institute of Advanced Studies, India. He has received the Presidential award for scientific excellence in Sri Lanka and the Whitley award from HRH Princess Anne. LESSON FROM NATURE This is the Ninth online panel discussion hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles, a member of the PSA – Photographic Society of America and FIAP – International Federation of Photographic Art. The objective of today’s panel is to share the expertise of prominent travel photographers whose outstanding work has been widely recognized. You can join Live https:/www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSz-P9EqnZk Date: Saturday 25th July 2020 Time:7.30am to 8.30am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Invited Panelists: PRASAD HAPUARACHCHI SANJAYA WARNASURIYA Mr.Sanjaya Warnasuriya At the age of five, his father took his camera and placed it around his neck and with a smile said “now you look like a photographer”. From that moment on, Sanjaya fell in love with photography and observing nature through a lens. His love and passion for the media has taken him to many parts of the world to observe and document animal behavior in their habitats as well as interactions with humans. As a self taught photographer he has a keen interest in learning and sharing creative ideas with fellow photographers. A business developer by profession, Sanjaya holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Mr.Prasad Hapuarachchi started his photographic journey when he was a school boy in 1989. He is a self-taught photographer and has mastered in Macro Photography apart from wildlife and nature. Prasad is a senior lecturer in National Association of Photographers and CameraLK Academy. He conducts many wildlife and nature photography workshops all over Sri Lanka organizing by Universities and photographic associations. And an active panel member in many photographic competitions helding in Sri Lanka. Prasad served the country as the Chairman of Tourist Board Western Province since 2016 to 2019. Currently he is the Country representative to Asian Wildlife photographers Club. By Profession he is a businessman and working as the Managing Director for two companies in Sri Lanka. Wildlife and nature photography is Prasad’s passion. He actively and voluntary working on Nature conservation projects and Wildlife conservation projects in Sri Lanka. WONDER OF SRI LANKA'S MARINE ENVIRONMENT Date: 18th July 2020 Time: 7.30am to 9.00am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9.30pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Join us Live at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV77SjK9lUM Join us Live at:https:/www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ This is the Eighth of a series of WEBINARs hosted by the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society (ASPAS) in Los Angeles, California USA, a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), and International Federation of Photography Art (FIAP) based in France. The objective of the series is to promote environmental conservation in the context of nature photography and eco-tourism PANELISTS: Dr. Christopher Charles is a professor of oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He received his B.A. in palaeontology from the University of California, Berkeley and his M.A. and Ph.D. in geology from Columbia University. He was a NASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and serves as editor-in-chief of the AGU journal Palaeoceanography. He has served as an advisor for the National Science Foundation Earth Systems History Program. His research focuses on the geological record of recent climate change, and in the mechanisms of climate variability, forced and unforced. Along with former and current students in his group, he is helping to build a detailed record of the El Niño phenomenon extending through the last few millennia using fossil corals. This work has taken him to coral reefs throughout the tropical oceans, including Sri Lanka, where he developed a keen interest in the controls on sea level variability and coral reef vitality. Dr. M. F. M. Fairoz is Dean, Faculty of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Ocean University of Sri Lanka. He is received his B.Sc. and M.Phil. from the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences Technology, University of Ruhuna. He has a PhD from the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, Japan. He has followed courses on Coral Health Assessments at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), Hawaii, and in Microbial Oceanography at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). In 2015 received a Global fellowship from Duke University Marine Laboratory in the United States and completed a summer course on Marine Conservation and Policy with Prof. Larry Crowder. He has carried out extensive research on the coral population of Sri Lanka and Sseko Island in Okinawa, Japan; and he is presently carrying out pioneering research with Prof. Forest Rohmer on coral microbial ecology for the first time in the South Asian Region. Dr. Nishan Perera is a marine biologist with an interest in coral reef ecology, fisheries, and marine protected area management. He is a co-founder of Blue Resources Trust, a Sri Lankan marine research and conservation organization, where he is conducting field research on coral reefs and reef-based fisheries. Nishan is also an underwater photographer and his work has been featured in Sri Lankan and international publications. He is also the co-founder and owner of Island Scuba. He has previously worked as the Senior Program Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and has a MSc degree from the Eckerd College in Florida U.S.A. Ms. Nesha Dushani (Moderator) is a lecturer in the Department of Fisheries and Marine Sciences at the Ocean University in Sri Lanka. She has a BSc (Hons) Degree from the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences of the University of Ruhuna, and a MSc from Tromso University in Norway. PEOPLE IN TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY This program is hosted by ASPAS – America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles to share the knowledge of photographers worldwide on this week’s theme: “People in TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY” , www.usacaaspas.com America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles is a member of PSA – Photographic Society of America and FIAP – International Federation of Photographic Art. This is the Seventh online panel discussion hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society. PANELISTS: Bandu Gunaratne Rahula Perera and Suda Shanmugaraja Date:Saturday 11th July 2020 7.30am to 8.30am Local Time in Los Angeles 8pm to 9pm Local Time in Sri Lanka Join Live:Go to: https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ Join Live:Go to:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS6RqvP_jks Bandu Gunaratne is a senior Photo Artist of Sri Lanka who is a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society, the British Professional Photographers Associates, and an Excellence of the FIAP. He is a Life Member of the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka and the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka. He is the Sri Lanka representative of Global Photographic Union and the Country Leader for Sri Lanka of Crossing Bridges Photographic Community. He started his Creative Art Photography career in early eighties in the era of analog photography and has won numerous national and International awards. He has served as a member of the Jury at twenty International Photographic Salons patronage by PSA & FIAP and has participated in Photography related events in 15 countries. He was a member of State Advisory Board for Photography. He has served as the Director of Exhibitions of the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka, and as Secretary of the Institute of Sri Lankan Photographers. He has also served as an Executive Committee member of Photographic Society of Sri Lanka. Presently Mr. Gunaratne is serving as a visiting lecturer of Photography at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, and as a lecturer at the Sri Lanka College of Journalists, as well as the National Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka. Rahula Perera has over three decades of experience working in academic, private and development sectors as an ecologist, and as a nature-based tourism product developer. He has a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. He also has a postgraduate diploma in biodiversity, tourism and environment management and a certificate in Wildlife Conservation and Management. Rahula Perera has over three decades of experience working in academic, private and development sectors as an ecologist, and as a nature-based tourism product developer. He has a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. He also has a postgraduate diploma in biodiversity, tourism and environment management. Mr. Perera is a visiting lecturer at several universities in the fields of ecology, wildlife management and photography. He has been a member and a past president of the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka affiliated to Birdlife International and the Federation of Environmental Organizations. He had been the Director of Education of the Photographic Art Society of Sri Lanka and in that capacity, he has trained many photographers in Sri Lanka. He has worked with several international organizations as a consultant. He is a certified Eco guide from Ecotourism Australia and an accredited Savannah Guide. Presently he is the Director, Planning and Interpretation at Aarunya Vacations, a boutique travel company, which promotes customized, small group tours to Sri Lanka’s wildlife and cultural sites and on photography. Suda Shanmugaraja has been a documentary filmmaker and commercial photographer for over 25 years. He has produced multimedia content for a range of clients from Fortune-500 companies to international development agencies including UNDP, UN Habitat, UNICEF and ILO. His photographs have appeared in news media including the Sunday Times and Al-Jazeera, and his travel photography has been commissioned by Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. Mr. Shanmugaraja is a specialist and consultant in the fields of Broadcast-IT and Audio-Visual Technologies. He is a long-time educator and a resource person for many organizations, and has lectured at multiple universities including the Kotelawela Defense University. SRI LANKAN LEOPARD PANELISTS: Rukshan Jayewardene and Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne Date:Saturday 4 July 2020 Time:Sri Lanka 8.00pm | UK 3.30pm. | USA PDT 7.30am Join Live:Go to: https://www.facebook.com/aspaslausa/ Join Live:Go to:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwPyNZ2-9IA&t=241s This program is the 6th virtual zoom panel discussion hosted by America Sri Lankan Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles California, USA Member of Photographic Society of America (PSA) and The International Federation of Photography of Art in France(FIAP) to showcase the beauty of Sri Lanka’s fauna and flora. This week’s program will feature the Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), a subspecies native to Sri Lanka, classified as an endangered species by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (ICUN). Mr. Rukshan Jayewardene has an MPhil in South Asian Archaeology from the University of Cambridge with 14 years of field experience in the Sri Lankan early historic period. For the past 25 years he has been a wildlife photographer, writer on wildlife related topics and a popularizer of Sri Lanka’s amazing biodiversity. He has intensively studied the Sri Lankan leopard in the wild and through that exposure been inspired to work for its long term conservation. His involvement with five( non-profit) conservation/environmental NGO’s over a twenty year period, with broadly common goals and like minded individuals, has resulted in both success and failure. He continues to fight for avoidable, biodiversity loss, in order to conserve the common heritage of all Sri Lankans. He sees the current decade, starting with 2020 being a deciding decade for the Sri Lankan leopards both in and outside legally Protected Areas, together with a host of other animals on land that are co-dependent. Mr. Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne is amongst a handful of field naturalists in the world who have written and photographed field guides spanning terrestrial mammals, marine mammals, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers, and trees. He is a passionate naturalist who through 15 books and numerous articles has drawn attention to the richness of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. In the words of British author and television presenter on wildlife, Bill Oddie, no single individual has done so much to raise the profile of a country’s wildlife scene. He is on the council of the London Natural History Society and He is on the council of the London Natural History Society and is the Chair of the London Bird Club. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AROUND THE WORLD Founder President and CEO Suriya Jayalath Perera is the founder President and CEO of the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society Los Angeles (ASPAS). Suriya is a member of PSA and life member FIAP. He is a former project officer at the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka. Suriya’s first Wildlife Photographic Exhibition was held in Sri Lanka at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery in 2005. Though he migrated to the USA in 2007 for better prospects.Though he moved to a large metropolis, Suriya could not resist his love of nature and took the initiative to form the “America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society Los Angeles”. Suriya’s recent publication “Kingdom of Ruhuna” a folklore based historical account. from the past to present of the Yala National Park, based on his two and a half year research project for his MA at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka. He was a Student at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). In 2020, a certificate of commendation was presented to Suriya Perera by the prestigious conservation agency “The Nature Conservancy of America” in recognition of his tremendous contribution towards nature conservation through various programs organized by the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society Los Angeles. Suriya Perera – President and CEO of the America Sri Lanka Photographic Art Society in Los Angeles was the first ever Sri Lankan to hold a nature photographic exhibition in the USA.