Stay up to date on events, be informed when applications open for our programs, and read about CoalitionWILD in the news.



Reflections from our outgoing Founder and Director

April 2022

In 2013, Crista Valentino launched CoalitionWILD at the 10th World Wilderness Congress. Over the last 9 years, she has led the organization to be an internationally recognized advocate for youth empowerment and an enabler for capacity building and mentorship for emerging young leaders globally. 
In April 2022, Crista passes the future of CoalitionWILD onto a new generation of leadership. In her final days with CoalitionWILD, she reflects on what motivated her from the beginning and what she believes indicates CoalitionWILD’s greatest success. 
CoalitionWILD launched in October 2013 at the 10th World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, Spain alongside founding steering committee members (L-R) Maria Feduchi, Jordi van Oort, Michael Grover, (Crista Valentino), Lincoln Meyer, Tomasz Wiercioch. 
CoalitionWILD became a credible and leading voice for youth leadership and empowerment, sharing the stories of change led by young people on global stages. CoalitionWILD has represented youth voices at major international and regional conferences and gatherings and continues to use our platform and reach to amplify the power of youth. 
In collaboration with global youth-led organizations including GYBN, Youth4Nature, Youth for Our Planet,  Conservation Optimism, IUCN WCPA Young Professionals, Conservamos por Naturaleza, and others, we have collectively intregrated the perspectives, demands, and representation of youth into traditionally exclusive spaces. 

CoalitionWILD Named Top Innovator by the World Economic Forum

October 2021 and UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s platform for sourcing and scaling solutions that protect people and planet, unveils its first winning cohort of youth innovators…including CoalitionWILD! Throughout 2022, Coalition will gain support to scale through capacity building workshops, visibility and mentoring opportunities, as well as connections to experts and potential investors.



This just in: You are already qualified to be a climate activist – The Green Fix

July 2021

IYou’re young. You’re desperate for more climate action and nobody seems to be doing anything. What can a youth activist do? Cass Hebron from The Green Fix spoke to Crista Valentino, CoalitionWILD’s Founder and Director, and Diana Garlytska, co-chair of the Steering Committee, to find out what keeps them going – and what we can do.


On Being A Force For Change | One Wild Life – Podcast

May 2021

In this episode of the One Wild Life Podcast, Crista Valentino and Abbie dive into what it takes to formulate a powerful global community on a mission to create lasting change.


Standing Together in Times of Crisis – Survey on the Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic

November 2020

Sharing our stories connects us to others deeply and meaningfully, creating a safe space for others to then share their stories in return.

The year 2020 challenged us, as individuals and as a global society. As we continue to move forward and navigate a new reality, we believe we can, and need to, remain connected despite the thousands of miles between us
In this short survey, the CoalitionWILD team invites you to share your experience navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic. What new conditions did you face? What fears do you have? Have you innovated in your work and found opportunity amidst the chaos?
We will craft your responses into stories to share with our network in an effort to bring the CoalitionWILD community together and foster support, generate reflection and discussion, and provide a global record of the unique challenges and realities faced by people around the world.
Let’s bring hope. Let’s inspire. Together, let’s utilize technology to remain connected in our hearts despite our distance.

Youth Engagement & Conservation – Podcast

November 2020

In this 54-minute inspired minds podcast, the moderators Sam Scinta and Rick Kyte discuss youth engagement and leadership with the CoalitionWILD Director, Crista Valentino. The discussion is brought full-circle by connecting youth empowerment to American civic virtue.


A new Generation of Conservation Leaders – Podcast

July 2020

This podcast by Rewilding Earth features Crista Valentino in a 37-minute interview by Jack Humphrey. Topics covered comprise engaging younger generations in conservation, and similarities and differences between old-guard wilderness and younger generation advocates.


How we save the Forest in the Trees

July 2020

Nature needs Half presentation for the Chatham House on emerging and radical ideas in the Forest Governance Panel. Presentations by WILD VP of Policy & Communications, Amy Lewis, and CoalitionWILD Program Director, Crista Valentino.


Youth, Changing your Mind, and steering the Titanic – Podcast

November 2019

The future belongs to the youth of the world. Would you agree? This 1.5h podcast interview with Crista Valentino talking about why are we marching for climate, where we expect serious answers to come from, and how come so many organisations have become obsolete. Listen to this podcast and think about – What’s the last thing you changed your mind about?


CoalitionWILD at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya, and featuring other success stories

December 2018

Written by our Director, Crista Valentino, this article starts with recounting her experiences at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya. The sanctuary is a vision become real of Katie and Jeremy, who opened the first community-owned and -operated elephant sanctuary in Africa, with all of its employees coming from the local Samburu community.
This globally connected community is also apparent by showcasing the work of Ambassador Kevin Lunzalu, whose project involved a trash clean-up in his community in Kenya, and Ambassador Augustin Dieuseul from Haiti, who volunteers in rural schools to teach school children about the importance of biodiversity and protecting the environment.
“There is no guidebook to doing this work. It’s trial and error most days. An elephant cut its leg and was bleeding badly. There was no way a vet could have made it here in time, even if we flew him in… so he walked me through how to stitch up the leg over the phone. We need to be self-sufficient out here.”
Katie Rowe
“My biggest challenge is convincing the authorities [in charge] that youth-led projects can play a very big role in conservation if given the space and support they deserve.”
Kevin Lunzalu

“I have been to several schools in rural areas… to discuss with the children about the future of biodiversity in Haiti. We taught the importance of preserving forests, and taking care of the planet… five schools asked us to help design school gardens.”
Augustin Dieuseul

CoalitionWILD Director visiting the Mara Elephant Project HQ

February 2018

Crista had the opportunity to visit the Mara Elephant Project HQ in Kenya and spent a day with Tracking Manager Wilson Sairowua. The projects engages in anti-poaching efforts and in reducing human-elephant conflicts, as in recent years, land use and development has increased, taking away migration paths and grazing areas for local elephant populations.  Using a “whole-system” approach to empower communities in managing their natural resources is essential to succeed.  
‘’Each of these colored lines represents a collared elephant. You can see how most of them stay in specific areas…but not all. Sometimes we have problem elephants that like to go into fields and ruin crops. Those are the ones we have to watch and attempt to deter before the communities and owners of the farms do it first.”
Wilson Sairowua

Tracking Manager, Mara Elephant Project

Finding People who believe in you and learning when not to hit send

February 2018

The Wild Voice Project recorded this 1.5h podcast, where the CoalitionWILD Director Crista Valentino shares lessons learned on the tactics of patience and listening, how to build a global network of peers who can support you, which are the right questions to ask when you start a new project, and she introduces the story of a young emerging leader making his way from India to Spain, ending up fighting the illegal wildlife trade.


Get WILD: Local nonprofit unites visionaries

November 2017

“Crista Valentino surveys the horizon on a crisp autumn morning, lifting the nearly-frozen lever on her free-range chickens’ cage. She scans the sky and mentally reviews her daily list of calls with international protégées – Valentino’s term for the folks she mentors – in her conservation initiative.”
This article explores the history of CoalitionWILD, and how the grassroots movement was launched by our Director, Crista Valentino, together with the WILD Foundation during the 10th World Wildlife Congress in 2013. It let’s us peek into Crista’s early beginnings, the path she took supporting conservation initiatives through different projects, and the core ideas of what CoalitionWILD is about.
Success stories are shared from South Africa, India, Haiti and CoalitionWILD’s next steps are revealed to propel global conservation leaders into the future.


‘’Conservation should be a shared goal that unites humanity. Young activists need a new lens and new voice in a very broken system. CW provides a platform that has never existed by situating them in international forums such as the World Wilderness Congress. It is creating a different way to look at what activism and conservation mean.”
D. Simon Jackson

Storyteller and Movement Builder

Generation Wild

August 2017

This article in the Earth Island Journal written by Ben Eagle and Matt Williams looks into the international youth nature movement that is on the rise worldwide. They assess the role of social media in breaking down isolation, which they don’t only associate with remote areas, but also with perceived “geeky” hobbies, such as birdwatching, which allows people to meet fellow like-minded peers, to share their passion and knowledge, and to be proud of what they are doing.
Ben and Matt continue by outlining the situation of species population decline in the UK, where they are based,and forge a bridge to WWF’s 2016 Living Planet Report, which found that between 1970 and 2012, species populations declined by an average of 58%. The history of environmental activism in the UK is explored and organizations listed, such as the UK Youth Climate Coalition, A Focus on Nature (AFON), the Magazine New Nature – entirely written by young people.
CoalitionWILD is cited as one of the movements spanning the globe. An interview with Crista Valentino, our Director, highlights the objectives of our organization as well as our achievements.


‘’I think young people have the ability to play the largest role of all, yet are vastly underutilized,” she says. “Besides all of the obvious answers that young people are the future and they will be inheriting the world after many of the current decision makers are gone, it is often forgotten that young people are also coming into situations fresh: not burned out, full of fiery passion, with new ideas and innovative ways of thinking, more connections around the world than ever before, and the knowledge and ability to implement a lot of these creative solutions.’’
Crista Valentino

Director, CoalitionWILD

Other listed initiatives worldwide are Youth for Wildlife Conservation, Emerging Leaders for Biodiversity in Canada, AcroTerra in Mexico, the South Asia Youth Environment Network (SAYEN), and the Green Africa Youth Organisation – many of these groups starting on local issues, becoming more and more global seeing the issues that we face and the connectedness that we require to solve them.

Launching the CoalitionWILD Mentorship Program

April 2017

Young people who have mentors are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions. After signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Department of Interior (DOI) last year, CoalitionWILD now launches its Mentorship Program to pair DOI staffers with CoalitionWILD rising conservation leaders.
The mentors are current staff within the DOI’s departments, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The 13 CoalitionWILD Protégés come from 8 different countries and have careers ranging from environmental NGO members, to a film maker, with a majority leading an initiative they have personally founded.
Pairs are asked to write down goals for the year that include personal and professional growth items. Learning enhancers, such as suggestions for tasks to complete together, conversation topics, and monthly focuses, are offered to support the relationship.

Secretary Jewell announces Partnership with CoalitionWILD

September 2016

As part of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a partnership with CoalitionWILD to prepare the next generation of young professionals working in conservation. The Memorandum of Understanding formalizes a relationship between the two entities collaborate and to provide mentorship, expertise, and advice to future generations. This will allow CoalitionWILD to connect seasoned experts with emerging young leaders to enter into a mutual exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience.


‘’Sharing the scientific knowledge and expertise of professionals throughout Interior with young leaders working in environmental careers reinforces our commitment to work together on a global scale toward shared goals for a healthier planet. This partnership is an example of how we can address the challenges ecosystems face around the world at this time of growth and climate change, actively engaging young people to carry this work forward.’’
Sally Jewell

Former US Secretary of the Interior

Launching the Wilder World Challenge

April 2013

CoalitionWILD has launched the Wilder World Challenge, with the objective to encourage young people under 30 to submit their ideas on how to create a wilder world, with projects ranging in scope from local to global. These projects will be evaluated based on potential impact, likelihood of success, creativity and innovation.
The ideas should be submitted on CoalitionWILD’s Facebook page until midnight July 01, 2013.


Other CoalitionWILD Features
Why “WHY” isn’t enough, WILD Foundation, November 2019
What does leadership look like to you?, WILD Foundation, December 2018
CoalitionWILD: Stories from young conservation leaders empowered to save the planet, WILD Foundation, October 2018
What’s more important than a leader?, WILD Foundation, December 2017
CoalitionWILD Success Story, NatureForAll, October 2017
A Reason to trust in the Future of our wild Earth, WILD Foundation, December 2016
2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, WILD Foundation, September 2016
Finding the sparks within, WILD Foundation, November 2015
CoalitionWILD offers new ways to inspire young people, IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication, May 2014
2020 Jackson WILD Virtual Summit, The Future is NOW Panel: Online
2020 Chatam House Emerging and Radical Ideas in Forest Governance Panel: Online
2020 Native American Education Conference: Online (Wyoming, USA)
2020 Smithsonian Institute Earth Optimism Summit: Online (Washington, DC)
2019 Global Youth Leaders Summit: Paris, France
2019 Latin America Parks Conference: Lima, Peru
2018 World Leaders Conservation Forum: Jeju, South Korea
2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress: Hawaii, USA
2016 Canadian Youth Summit: Banff, Canada
2015 Hope Decoded Residency and Summit: Banff, Canada
2015 North American Inspiring a New Generation Summit: West Virginia, USA
2014 World Parks Congress: Sydney, Australia
2013 World Wilderness Congress: Salamanca, Spain
And if you would like to see us live and in action…

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

Join us and connect with them.