As senior vice president of Cities and Community Engagement for the Children & Nature Network, Monica Lopez Magee helps city and community leaders develop programs, policies, and partnerships to provide children and families access to nature and its many health and academic benefits. She draws upon her Master’s in Public Leadership from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, undergraduate studies in environmental science, a decade leading and facilitating youth and family programs in New York City, and Austin and Houston, Texas, and her cultural heritage to create nature-based solutions that prioritize communities of color, transform public spaces, and foster love and stewardship of the natural world.
Her dedication to the outdoors carries into her personal life, where she serves on the Austin ISD (Independent School District) Community Bond Oversight Committee and enjoys paddling and volunteering with her family.
Monica is leading a partnership to support child and family service providers in understanding the role nature plays in children’s health and well-being. The work has expanded her awareness of the trauma that children, especially Black and Brown children, experience every day. Through this program of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, she seeks to further understand the effects of trauma and the intersection of nature and health; to be in fellowship with others, so she can better identify and advocate for nature-based solutions that can help individuals achieve the goals and dreams they have for themselves, their families, and their communities; and to understand how to link these solutions to social services and other systems to make lasting, deep impact.
Post-Institute: Transformative Action Plans
Monica’s work promotes play and interacting with nature, and the benefits of spending regular time outdoors. She works to support reimagining communities, specifically cities, to increase access to nature regularly. After participating in the CoHLI experience, she shifted her process from being on the ground to now supporting a team of leaders who can go into these communities. Her leadership role enables her to support the movement from a different angle.