Born in 1973 with indigenous ancestry, Sara Ines Lara grew up in a small village in the Andes of Colombia. Throughout her childhood, Sara’s guiding light and inspiration was her mother, a woman loved and respected in the local communities for her involvement with marginalized women. Sadly, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 37 and died several years later. Following this tragedy, Sara was subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse from her father.
Sara found in nature indescribable healing to her wounds and used it as a therapeutic tool to recover from childhood trauma. In 2003, following her passion for nature and wildlife conservation, she became Executive Director of Fundación ProAves, a leading conservation organization in Colombia. Under her leadership, the organization established and managed 17 nature reserves to save endangered species. 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 to communities neighboring ProAves’ nature reserves, where local women learned about the importance of safeguarding their natural environments. With this knowledge, they were motivated to develop projects that reduced deforestation, such as producing eco-friendly artisan products and reducing their usage of wood-fueled stoves.
Sara continued to develop the Women for Conservation program as Vice President of International Programs at American Bird Conservancy and then at Permian Global. Sara’s principal interests include empowering women, preventing species extinction, safeguarding tropical habitats, and alleviating poverty. It is her life mission to protect the natural world so that we all may have the opportunity to heal through nature. Sara has been recognized as One in a Hundred Great Latin American Women by Billiken Magazine.