Irene Vilar

Associate Director of Programs

Irene Vilar is a Guggenheim Award author, social justice advocate, motivational coach, and activist combining over two decades of Non Profit, Cultural Brokerage, and Creative and Outdoor Economies experience. She is the Puerto Rican founder of the Colorado based environmental nonprofit Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501c3, advancing healthy communities in the face of climate change through environmental and cultural stewardship that can best bridge the outdoor and creative inclusion gaps and serve the most underserved. She has launched numerous education-driven initiatives including the publishing house Mandel Vilar Press, dedicated to advancing diversity in the book industry; the annual Americas Latino Eco Festival, dedicated to growing an inclusive conservation workspace; and Promotores Verdes (winner of the 2018 CAEE Innovative Program Award & 2020 SHIFT Award), powering a culture of recreation, conservation, and public health anchored in nature experiences and a sustainable outdoors economy.

Vilar is the recipient of the City of Denver Office of Sustainability Community Builder 2016 Love This Place Award as well as the 2017 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture Imagine 2020. She is currently chair on the steering committee at the Green Leadership Trust and is a former member of the founding advisory council of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation. Vilar also served four years in the advisory council of the City of Denver Office of Sustainability. Since the publishing of her first book in 1996, she has given numerous academic lectures and workshops on advancing eco-cultura, the social cohesive fabric that fosters a culture of bottoms up civic engagement with the creative and outdoor economies. Vilar’s books have been translated into six languages and won the 2000 Mind Book of the Year Award, the 2010 IPPY Gold Medal for Best Memoir/Autobiography, and the 12th Latino Book Award for Best Women’s Issues.

Vilar, the proud mother of two Colorado-born Latina teenage daughters, is a sailor who has crossed the Gulf Stream current fifty-two times and an avid long-distance hiker in love with Colorado fourteeners.

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