The CommNS, located within our SoHE Centers of Excellence, hosted a delegation from Guadalajara as part of the year-long collaborative project “Connecting Landscapes.”
“Connecting Landscapes” hosted by our very own CommNS with key contributions from UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, the Earth Partnerships Program at the UW Arboretum, and the Global Health Institute, is a formalization and continuation of long-standing collegial relationships among UW and Jalisco faculty and students. This project will promote youth programming in Guadalajara as well as build a platform for long-term exchanges among colleagues, scholars, and learners in the states of Jalisco and Wisconsin, this project was described in more detail in a prior blog post.
The delegation consisted of three scholars from the Research Center for Environmental and Territorial Management at La Universidad de Guadalajara: Director Daniel González Romero, PhD, Maria Teresa Pérez Bourzac, PhD and Adriana I. Olivares González, PhD. They were joined by Héctor Eduardo Castanon Reyes, PhD, a key consultant on La Universidad de Guadalajara’s Museo de Ciencias Ambientales (the “Museo”).
Eduardo Santana-Castellón, PhD of La Universidad de Guadalajara and a UW-Madison alum, helped to plan the delegation visit of his key colleagues. Dr. Santana-Castellón is a primary champion of the Museo and has brought the opportunity for long-time UW-colleagues to engage with colleagues in Guadalajara around the Museo planning and related projects through the Connecting Landscapes project. Dr. Santana-Castellón identified, based on his many years of working in and visiting Madison, key Wisconsin experiences and potential partners, which helped structure the visit for his colleagues.
While here, our colleagues from Guadalajara visited locations in Madison and Milwaukee that connect nature, youth engagement, sustainability, and human design — with the goal of inspiring some of the work that will be done surrounding the Museo project, which is intended to connect urban youth in Guadalajara to principles of sustainability, and action through civic engagement. Project team meetings were held in SoHE’s Nancy Nicholas Hall, which has received LEED Gold status; visits were also made to the Nelson Institute as well as with the UW Sustainability Office. Maria Moreno of the UW Arboretum’s Earth Partnership Program, led a visit through outdoor environments and exhibits at the UW Aboretum and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. They experienced the innovative community spaces and learned about the impactful programming of Milwaukee’s Urban Design Center and the nature-inspired and urban-center-rejuvenating designs of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Throughout the visit, our colleagues from Guadalajara engaged in discussions and presented their experiences and work on livable cities and principles of community engagement, “the right to the city”, and implications of access to basic or natural resources in an urban context. The Connecting Landscapes Project team, which includes not only our Mexican colleagues but also UW-Madison faculty from SoHE, the Nelson Institute, the Global Health Institute, and LACIS, as well as Centers of Excellence and Arboretum staff, conducted project planning for the “Connecting Landscapes” project and worked through community planning and the commons, community-engaged planning and educational philosophy.
Throughout our brief visit with these wonderful colleagues, we also shared great discussions, humor, and food and drink — deepening collegial and personal connections that will serve our current project and international collaboration for years to come.
The discussions conducted on this visit will continue as the Project Team collaborates through regular video conferencing over the coming year. In addition, a UW “Connecting Landscapes” delegation will make their own visit to Guadalajara in December to continue project work and learn from our Mexican colleagues, more scholars from their home institutions, and from community members in Jalisco who the Museo will serve.
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