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CoalitionWILD is creating lasting youth leadership for the planet.



Young people are more connected, more ambitious, and more impatient than ever before. Armed with a desire to not only want a better future for the planet, but to be a part of the effort it will take to create that future, youth are searching for opportunities to be actively engaged in designing the solutions they seek and using their voice. But taking that first step into leadership is difficult and often isolating and intimidating work. 


Through working with youth on issues they are passionate about and providing the supportive space for taking risks and attempting new ideas, CoalitionWILD is ensuring that we are not just providing the tools needed to create action, but are imparting in these young leaders the belief that they know how to use those tools best.



To connect and equip young leaders to tackle the planet’s greatest conservation and climate change challenges.


A world where younger generations are respected, valued, and supported to be active agents and leaders in creating a better future for the planet.


CoalitionWILD was born in 2013 at the 10th World Wilderness Congress from the recognition that youth leadership in conservation is an untapped potential for positive change.  The initiative was originally designed as a volunteer movement to connect rising leaders passionate about the planet but we quickly realized that to create meaningful change, young people needed to be equipped with skills and knowledge, and empowered to utilize their voice and believe in their value.


Since then, CoalitionWILD has equipped, connected, and empowered thousands of young people.
CoalitionWILD’s evolution is driven by listening to the needs of the youth we work with, and shaped by the personal experiences of our youth-team, youth-board, and youth-partners – totaling 42 international volunteers.

Our Mentor

CoalitionWILD is proud to be an official project of the WILD Foundation (WILD), a 501(c)3 organization that has worked internationally to connect and protect people, wild life, and wild places for over 40 years. 

Nature Needs Half

Nature Needs Half is an international coalition of scientists, conservationists, nonprofits, and public officials working to protect 50% of the planet by 2050. CoalitionWILD supports the Nature Needs Half vision as a member of the coalition and publicly declares its support for a respectful relationship with nature by building momentum for change. Learn More. 


Crista Valentino

Crista Valentino

Co-Founder, Director

Crista co-founded CoalitionWILD in 2013 after an invitation from the WILD Foundation to address the lack of support and visibility available to younger generations in the environmental sector. She continues to lobby for a stronger integration of youth voices and empowerment in organizational and business decision making, and has achieved this through recently co-publishing an intergenerational leadership toolkit for conservation and leading multiple projects that accelerate and further initiatives around the world being led by young people for nature. Crista is the North American Focal Point for the World Commission on Protected Areas Young Professionals, was named Wyoming’s Top 40 under 40, and is on the Executive Committee for the 11th World Wilderness Congress.

Mariana Hill

Mariana Hill

Global Outreach Intern

Mariana’s life is a combination of passions for natural landscapes, wildlife, science and arts. She holds a BSc. in Marine Science, shortly a MSc. in Biological Oceanography and is about to start a PhD in Biogeochemical and Ecosystem Modeling. Her passion for the marine environment has take her to an intricate adventure around the world which has also been a journey of discovery of different cultures, ways of thinking, extreme sports, amazing landscapes and multiple sciences from mathematics and programming to ecology. Mariana believes that humankind has succeeded as the top predatory species in the planet. However, now our survival depends on succeeding as an intelligent species, capable of controlling our own luxes and greeds, even reproductive ones, for the well-being of our planet as a whole; and education is crucial for achieving this.

Steering Committee

Michael Afolami

Michael Afolami


Jon Reed

Jon Reed


Ceci Fischer

Ceci Fischer


Christel Scheske

Christel Scheske


Diana Garlytska

Diana Garlytska


Neeshad V. Shafi

Neeshad V. Shafi


Work With Us

Does our mission excite you? Then check out our list of open positions on our Work With Us page.

If you think you have a way to contribute that isn’t listed, then send us a message to sharing a bit about yourself and how you would like to contribute.

Contact Us

We want to hear from you.

We’re always recruiting emerging leaders, supporters, and collaborators who have a desire to be a part of a global connected community of young people creating a better future for all life.  Get in touch by filling out the form below.

CoalitionWILD HQ
717 Poplar Avenue
Boulder, CO 80304 USA


Young leaders are using their voices and passion to enact change for a better planet.

Join us and connect with them.