Irene Vilar

Irene Vilar

Associate Director of Programs

Vilar is a social and environmental justice entrepreneur, motivational speaker, coach, writer, consultant, combining over two decades of Non-Profit, Cultural Brokerage, and Creative and Outdoor Economies experience. She is a DEI leadership and transformation expert, and Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501c3, growing healthy communities through cultural and environmental stewardship development, leveraging arts and culture for conservation gains. She has launched numerous education-driven initiatives advancing 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 a member of the advisory council of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry since the launch of the office in 2014 and belongs to the national board of the Green Leadership Trust. Vilar served four years in the advisory council of the City of Denver Office of Sustainability and has been an active public speaker for multicultural and environmental literacy.

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 authentic and bottoms up civic engagement with the creative and outdoor economies. An award-winning cultural worker, writer, and Guggenheim Award fellow, Vilar is a story finder as much as a storyteller, constantly feeling the call to help bring the best out of everyone as they work to grow into changemakers roles. Her 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. Her writings explore generational and national trauma and have been featured in numerous interdisciplinary doctoral dissertations, academic books, and higher academic course adoptions. As of 2019, her books have been cited in three hundred and twenty-nine dissertations and forty-two books.

Vilar’s work has been featured in the cover of The New York Times Arts section, The
Washington Post, Los Angeles Time, Forbes, Vogue, NBC News, ABC, Huff Post, Latina, and many more media outlets. And her nonprofit work has secured grants from the Hispanic Federation, the Annenberg Foundation, USDA, The Nature Conservancy, Milton A. & Charlotte R. Kamer Charitable Foundation, The Morning Star Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, The Oscar & Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation, among other national and international entities.

Vilar, the proud mother of two Colorado born Latina teenage daughters, is a Latina
in love with the Colorado Great Outdoors. She is a sailor who has crossed the Gulf Stream
current fifty-two times and an avid long-distance hiker in love with Colorado fourteeners looking forward to summit all of them by the age of fifty-five, and proud of the ten accomplished so far.

Born in the coastal town of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Vilar went to outdoor education boarding school in Orford, New Hampshire between the ages of 10 and 13 and to a catholic convent in Valencia, Spain until the age of 15 when she entered Syracuse University in upstate New York and later on Bennington College in Vermont. Vilar has been a resident of Boulder, Colorado since 2003.

Email Irene Vilar

Formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC)


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