Rotary Int’l confers ‘Environment Champion Award’ to Marinduque-based professor

Protecting and making a good change for the environment is one of Evangeline Buella-Mandia’s core values in life. Vangie as fondly called by friends and family is an associate professor and dean of the College of Environmental Studies at Marinduque State College. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Marinduque North. She received her doctorate in environmental science from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna.

Every year, Rotary International recognizes six people as People of Action for their leadership and influence. As the only Filipino in the world to be named one of Rotary International’s six People of Action Champions of Impact for 2024, Mandia’s rich works and teachings on the environment and the beneficial innovation it provides have been acknowledged. Mandia becomes the sixth exceptional Rotarian from Canada, Malaysia, Egypt, India, and Guatemala to join the group. These individuals have made noteworthy contributions to a range of causes, including women’s rights, mental health and wellness, the environment, and community development.

She expressed pride at receiving this award and stated she was fortunate to have found something she is passionate about, which inspires her to take free chances.

“When I was informed of this nomination, the first thing that I thought of was the people in the community and the Peoples Organizations (PO’s) where I was involved for many years. I’m lucky to have found something I am passionate about, and this niche drives me to be more inspired and motivated and to give hope and opportunities for a more sustainable way of life. Thus, protect and manage nature’s gift for the next generation to come. I am thrilled to be one of six individuals honored as a Rotary People of Action: Champions of Impact. This is amazing news, and I’m very humbled,” she said.

In the province of Marinduque, Dr. Mandia’s award-winning project aimed to restore mangroves and advance aqua-silviculture. The project intends to bring about long-lasting good change by addressing the socioeconomic and environmental issues that the local communities confront.

Her magnificent project, mangrove restoration aquasilviculture, tries to address the problems by creating a net-enclosed, mangrove-friendly way of raising fish in a mangrove reforested area without chopping down a single tree. Through this, it benefits the environment and economy and includes better water quality, more marine habitat, less coastal erosion, and more chances for local communities to make a living. The long-term advantages of the project were enjoyed by the nearby farmers and fishers, other community members and the surrounding ecology at Barangays Ino-Capayang and Sitio Ubog-Ubog in Nangka II, town of Mogpog. She assisted these people in seeing more employment opportunities and generating high incomes from aquasilviculture techniques.

“Rotary defines impact as positive, long-term change that strengthens individuals, communities, and systems, “We are honoring these six Rotary members for helping people to thrive and for building the capacity of communities to lead and further develop these life-changing initiatives in the future,” said Rotary International President Gordon McInally.

All over the world, Rotarians are evaluating the needs of the communities they serve on a local level, collaborating with partners, governments, and experts to bring about a lot of long-lasting changes that promote the well-being of individuals and communities. Through developing peace, combating illness, offering clean water and sanitary facilities, assisting with education, rescuing women and children, boosting local economies, and safeguarding the environment, they enhance lives and effect long-lasting change in communities all over the world.

This coming May 25-29, Mandia will participate in fitting ceremonies among the other honorees at this year’s Rotary International conference, which will take place in Singapore. Each will provide a presentation on how they work with partners and communities to bring about significant and long-lasting change. —

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