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Lanka Mangrove Museum reopens with Seacology backing

August 18, 2023

Thanks to the generosity of Seacology supporters, the Lanka Mangrove Museum is back on its feet after some challenging years during the pandemic and economic hardship in the country.

The first-of-its-kind museum was built as part of our five-year nationwide project to protect Sri Lanka’s mangroves, which concluded in 2020. The large facility, on the shore of Chilaw lagoon and surrounded by a dense mangrove forest, offers an immersive educational experience for local people about the importance of their country’s coastal wetlands. It quickly became one of Sri Lanka’s top destinations for school field trips, and was frequently visited by prominent government officials and international scientists studying mangrove ecology and conservation. Unfortunately, the pandemic and economic crisis that hit Sri Lanka last year kept the museum’s doors mostly closed for more than three years.

On Earth Day Seacology began raising funds to save and reopen the museum. Thanks to generous matching gifts from the Nu Skin Force For Good Foundation, our board of directors, philanthropists Denis and Diane Lyman, and others, we were able to secure more than $60,000 for the struggling institution. In Sri Lanka, this amount can be game-changing. It should allow the museum to remain open at full capacity for the next two years while the country’s economy continues to recover.

The museum’s leaders wasted no time putting the funding to use. They made repairs and created new educational programs and displays. A new website was launched to share information about mangroves and help prospective visitors plan their trips.

On July 26, World Mangrove Day, the museum officially reopened to an enthusiastic crowd. The dedicated staff, who have volunteered countless hours to maintain the museum through the crisis, welcomed dozens of students, local mangrove experts and others to the festive celebration.

“This World Mangrove Day celebration was an encouraging kickoff to make the public aware of the services offered by the museum,” said Seacology Field Representative Leela Batuwitage, who attended. “The museum will be able to continue its activities with more confidence, expanding its services locally and globally.”