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Colombian conservationist Sara Inés Lara was recognized by the oldest children’s magazine in Latin America, Billiken, in a special publication that celebrates the magazine’s centennial and honors women of the continent.
Presented on November 21, 2019, before the Honorable Chamber of Deputies of the Nation of Argentina, the book is called 100 Grandes Mujeres Latinoamericanas (100 Great Latin American Women) with the 100th anniversary of Billiken magazine declared of cultural interest in the publication. The magazine collectively presents inspiring female leaders and role models spanning a wide period from the fourth century to the present, including athletes, artists, educators, leaders, politicians, and scientists from different Latin American countries to represent the diverse experiences, struggles, and achievements of the continent’s outstanding women.
Among the 100 great Latin American women featured in the book is a biography of Sara Inés Lara, giving great recognition to her life story as a conservationist and her quest to protect endangered species and their habitats. Her story is intended to inspire, encourage, and teach children of the present and future need to save our planet.
“It is a great honor to be featured in such an important book as a role model to children who are the future generation, and it is a privilege to be recognized among the great women leaders of our beautiful Latin America. I want to thank Billiken for allowing me to share my story and perhaps to inspire others. In particular, I hope that girls will see there is an opportunity to work in conservation and that their involvement can help us protect the natural world on which we all depend,” said Sara Lara, Executive Director of Women for Conservation.
Born in Popayan, Cauca, Lara has dedicated her life to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. In 2003, following her passion for nature and wildlife, she served for six years as Executive Director of Fundación ProAves, a leading conservation organization in Colombia. Under her leadership, the organization established and managed 17 nature reserves to save wildlife at risk of extinction. In 2004, Sara combined her love of nature with her drive to empower women and started the initiative Women for Conservation. This program quickly spread throughout Colombia to communities neighboring ProAves’ nature reserves, where local women gained awareness about the importance of safeguarding their natural environments. With this knowledge, they were motivated and empowered to develop their own conservation projects that protected habitat and reduced deforestation, such as producing eco-friendly artisan products and reducing their usage of wood-fueled stoves.
As Vice President of International Programs at American Bird Conservancy and later at Permian Global, Lara continued developing the Women for Conservation program. Her principal interests include empowering women, preventing species extinction, safeguarding tropical habitat, and alleviating poverty.
Billiken’s latest book, 100 Great Latin American Women, includes individuals with great accomplishments who dreamed big, many of them historically significant. These are female activists who fought for their ideals, among them great women such as Frida Kahlo, Policarpa Salavarrieta, Shakira, Sonia Sotomayor, Dolores Huerta, Celia Cruz, and Carolina Herrera.
Billiken is the longest-running children’s magazine in the world, no other has published so many editions (5,143) over such a long period of time. It was founded by Constancio Vigil in Buenos Aires on November 17, 1919, and circulated in many Latin American countries with a constant presence in Argentina. The publication has accompanied many generations of youth throughout their childhoods, becoming an educational reference at the continental level.
The publication was supported and co-authored by Dr. Lauren Rea, Senior Lecturer, Latin American Studies, University of Sheffield, England.