Rizal’s Masungi Geopark named finalist in WIN WIN Youth Award of Sweden

Rizal's Masungi Geopark
The Geopark project takes on a holistic approach – helping the environment by restoring it and maintaining their project while showing the beauty of nature by creating a geopark for tourists. Photo from Masungi Georeserve.

The Philippines’ Masungi Geopark Project, a geo-reserve conservation site in Baras, Rizal, has been selected as one of the top 5 finalists for the WIN WIN Gothenburg Youth Sustainability Award 2020.

Masungi Georeserve, led by Ann and Billie Dumaliangin, was selected from among 358 nominations from 80 countries that are vying for the international recognition given annually in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Masungi Geopark and the four other projects from Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the United States were announced on June 30, 2020, to be the WIN WIN Youth Award 2020 finalists. The award has been given out since the year 2000 to empower and reward young people who play an active role in the creation of a more sustainable future.

“We are deeply honored for this recognition of our youth-led restoration and rewilding efforts around Masungi. We dedicate this honor to our team members, collaborators, mentors, and to YOU, our community, for being our champions amid the challenges of our work,” the team shares in their Masungi Georeserve Facebook post.

Masungi Geopark and the other four finalists will be judged based on the criteria of impact, holistic approach, creativity, mobilization, innovation, scale, and awareness raised.

The winner will be announced on August 12, 2020, and will receive SEK 20.000 at the WIN WIN Award ceremony on October 22.

The Masungi Geopark Project team says that regardless of who wins, just reaching the top 5 finalists is already a win for them.

The theme for WIN WIN Youth Award 2020 is biodiversity, and Masungi Geopark is the perfect project to pitch. In the 1990s, the area of Masungi became bare due to deforestation and land-grabbing activities. This causes an inevitable ecological destruction chain in the biodiversity because of the habitat loss.

The Geopark project is the restoration and rewilding of Baras, Pinugay, Cuyambay, and Tandang Kutyo in Rizal by planting thousands of native trees, mitigating threats to forest growth, landscape-scale conservation, and geotourism to sustainably fund the operations.

The consistency of their efforts and significant impact on the environment has been granted a number of awards already, including achieving top 3 in the United Nations World Tourism Awards.

The Georeserve’s biodiversity is exemplified by the recent finding of one of the world’s tallest flowers standing at 8 feet within the park.

The Philippines is part of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries in the world, making sustainability even more important in preserving the rich multitudes of plant and animal species here.

Other sustainability projects from Filipinos are have been recognized including the Department of Tourism’s sustainable tourism action plan winning 1st place in KOPIST (South Korea) and Janice Lao being the first Asian to win Edie’s Sustainability Leader of the Year.

These initiatives impact the ecological health of the Philippines and set an example for Filipinos to start caring about being sustainable. After all, we only have one planet.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the Masungi Geopark Project team for placing in the top 5 finalists of the WIN WIN Youth Sustainability award and for their innovative approach to conserving biodiversity!

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Cuit is a senior high school student who has always turned to writing as her comfort and inspiration. Her goal in life is to leave the world a happier place than it was before, be it through sharing stories of the world's beauty or bringing light to topics that impact different areas of society.