Uncovering Resources - Community Development at the UEC Intensive

Written by Megan Andrews-Sharer
    Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Uncovering Resources - Community Development at the UEC Intensive

Tatiana Vélez

Medellín, Colombia

Professional Background: Economic Development

Tatiana Vélez attended the Urban Ecology Center Intensive with the goal of learning how she might enhance the impact of her current organization. Her vision was (and is) to create and then replicate a center for community environmental education programs through strategic collaborative partnerships.

With a background in economic development, Ms. Vélez has a deep understanding of gaps in her country. She uses creative entrepreneurship to identify a business model to address the deep disparity between cities and rural lands, the ongoing loss of historic farming culture, and prevalent environmental degradation.

After winning a prestigious business award, Ms. Vélez connected with the Urban Ecology Center through a community organizer now living in Colorado. Ms. Vélez believed that her business model was replicable, and drew parallels to the Urban Ecology Center’s model that replicates a community-based solution. Velez also saw a need to identify additional partnerships and support for her project in order to replicate it with success. 

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Tatiana Vélez and attendees from Israel and Missouri get to know each other opening night of the Intensive.

The Urban Ecology Center Intensive was a space to discover new ideas, ponder, and strategize about partnership and support. Despite coming from a community that associates wild, green nature with danger of drug cartels, the Intensive gave her the tools, lessons-learned, mental models, and rich co-learning to move her project forward. 

Ms. Vélez was incredibly inspired by the intelligent and passionate group present at the Intensive workshop. Her direct takeaway was to map what Medellín currently has in terms of resources and green space. She plans to use the strategies of finding abundance learned at the Intensive to engage talent and fundraise for growth to increase impact.

Tatiana Velez shot

Tatiana Vélez presents her learnings from the 2018 Intensive

This winter she wrote the Urban Ecology Center. “A lot has gone on. I moved in the valley and found a suitable place to start a center. I am going to start working in city hall, and there I will have access to heat maps (data maps) to start mapping and connecting the dots.” The Urban Ecology Center community is excited to hear more from Tatiana Vélez as she continues to work partnership strategies and build resources. We know well that this process takes time, but, when done with intention, it can result in an excellent product.

Megan Andrews-Sharer

Megan Andrews-Sharer

Megan began at the Urban Ecology Center around the time Executive Director Ken Leinbach began writing his book, Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities, and the World.

Throughout Ken’s writing sabbatical, book publishing, formation of the Institute with speaking and consulting projects, 4-day Intensive, and now focus workshops, Megan has helped Ken create and coordinate the project. Megan has a background in community-based program development and membership management at small non-profits and a degree in History and Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

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