ULI Austin June Breakfast: Park Equity and the Austin Adopt-a-Park Program [IN-PERSON]


2023-06-21T07:30:00 - 2023-06-21T09:00:00

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    Austin Central Library 710 W Cesar Chavez ST Austin, TX 78701-3821 UNITED STATES


    Pricing Members Non-Members
    Private $55.00 $75.00
    Public/Academic/Nonprofit $45.00 $75.00
    Retired $55.00 N/A
    Student $20.00 $20.00
    Under Age 35 $45.00 $75.00
    Can't attend in-person? Register here to join us virtually!
    After registering online, Zoom details will be sent via email. 
    Austin is a city known for its parks, trails, and green space. It also has been a city historically divided along racial lines with lasting effects that exist today in housing, poverty, homelessness, health care, and education. East Austin, which was where Austinites of color principally had to live, has suffered from neglect and disinvestment, including its parks, compared to other parts of the city. Urban Land Institute (ULI) selected Austin as one of five cities to participate in its District Council Cohort for Park Equity program, which is designed to help communities advance equitable access to parks and open spaces.
    Co-managed by Austin Parks Foundation (APF) and City of Austin Parks and Recreation, the Adopt-A-Park program is one of several programs that encourage volunteers to work with the city to improve and help maintain pocket, neighborhood, school and district park included in Austin's large park system. The goal of the program is to build community pride and ownership around every local pack throughout Austin. ULI Austin assembled a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to analyze the City of Austin's Adopt-A-Park program and offer recommendations to improve the program and remove barriers to participation. Our panelists will provide insight on the program and delve into the TAP findings and recommendations.  
    Dr. Laura Cortez, CEO and Founder, Cortez Consulting
    Christine Chute Canul, Partnership Manager, City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department
    Monica Lopez Magee, Senior Vice President, Cities and Community Engagement, Children and Nature Network
    Barry Rivera, Senior Programs Manager, Austin Parks Foundation
    Erica Reyes, Lead Organizer, Go Austin Vamos Austin 

    REGISTERING MULTIPLE PEOPLE - If you are registering multiple people, call ULI Customer Service at 800-321-5011
    IN-PERSON REGISTRATION - Limited In-Person registration is available. Breakfast will be available during the program.
    VIRTUAL REGISTRATION - Zoom details will be provided after registration.
    OTHER QUESTIONS - If you have other questions about registering for this event, confirmation of registration, or canceling registration, contact ULI Customer Service at 800.321.5011 or [email protected]
    Cancellations, refund requests, or changes from in-person to virtual must be requested 48 hours prior to the event. Cancellations or changes requested on the day of the event will not be refunded.

    Event Sponsors

    Platinum Underwriter

     Gold Host    



    Monica Lopez Magee

    Senior Vice President, Children and Nature Network

    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 degree 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 urban settings, 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 Community Bond Oversight Committee and enjoys paddling and volunteering with her family.


    Laura Cortez

    CEO & Founder, Cortez Consulting

    Dr. Laura J. Cortez is the CEO and Founder of Cortez Consulting, a public engagement firm in Austin, Texas. Laura is from the Rio Grande Valley and came to Austin in 1999 as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Drake University, and later went on to earn her MBA from St. Edward’s University and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Laura spent fourteen years in higher education serving as a scholar-practitioner. In 2012, Laura served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where she served as the Director of Public Engagement. In this role, Dr. Cortez led one of the City’s most comprehensive public engagement projects known as the Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative. Laura credits this experience with changing her professional trajectory and after completing the project she launched her own firm, Cortez Consulting. Today, Laura is designing new ways to effectively engage the community, particularly those individuals who are traditionally left out of the public planning process. Cortez Consulting is involved with an array of projects across the City of Austin working to build positive relationships within the community. During her free time, Dr. Cortez is active in the local community. She is a graduate of Leadership Austin Essential Program and serves on the board of The New Philanthropists and Leadership Austin.


    Erica Reyes

    Lead Organizer, Go Austin Vamos Austin

    Erica Reyes is a proud Mexican American; born and raised in Austin, born to parents who had immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. She and her husband are raising 3 sons and a daughter to value their Mexican roots and to have compassion and understanding for the hardships of the immigrant experience as her husband most recently became a resident after 23 years living and working in the United States. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, Erica faced the barriers and challenges with her parents in their attempt to acclimate and create the best life in the United States. Language barriers, housing and employment issues empowered her to learn and help other members in her family and community with some of those same barriers she faced growing up. Her passion to help community members advocate for equitable access and rights is derived from countless obstacles she overcame as a young adult. Erica and her family were displaced from the neighborhood where she grew up and once dreamed that she would be able to raise her family. As they adapted to their new community and made friends with neighbors, Erica and her family take pride as park adopters in keeping their neighborhood park safe and accessible to the community.


    Christine Canul

    Partnership Manager, City of Austin Parks & Recreation Dept

    Christine joined the Austin Parks and Recreation Department in 2018 as the Department’s Partnership Manager. As Partnership Manager she oversees the PARD Community PARKnerships program, the umbrella program for the various ways in which community groups can choose to partner with the City of Austin. The Community PARKnership program encompasses the following initiatives: PARD PARKnerships (and Agreements), Adopt A Park, Parkland Stewardship, the Community Activated Park Project program, and the Cities Connecting Children to Nature Initiative. Christine serves as the primary liaison to all partners seeking to propose, plan, design and/or develop projects on parkland. Prior to joining the PARD Planning Division, Christine worked for 10 years as Senior Program Manager at Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide community development nonprofit. Christine was born and raised in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas and received her bachelor’s degree from UT Austin in Government and master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Planning at City University of New York- Hunter College. NYC was amazing, but Christine missed the natural open spaces and parks of Austin and moved back in 2008. She lives in north Austin with her husband and three kids and enjoys dragging her kids to every park within a 60-mile radius of her home.