By: Sierra Voss
The environmental problems facing us are vast and complex, and necessitate the attention of experienced leaders. Without opportunities to develop experience, the next generation will be less prepared than they would be otherwise to tackle the challenges they will surely face in the future. However, the truth is that there is hope. Every day incredible conservation projects are carried out by innovative and committed young change makers all over the world. From the United States to South Africa, young leaders are making their own opportunities to protect nature, wilderness and wildlife. Too often, however, these leaders work alone or in small communities, and are limited by a lack of support, resources, and visibility. Due to the lack of information and celebration of these amazing projects and young leaders, support networks that could empower and increase the impact of this work are not common.
I see this taking place on a daily basis in the city I live in. Boulder, Colorado is filled with young change makers all implementing new projects and ideas. Every time I meet someone new in Boulder, they tell me about some incredible project with which they are involved. However, I have found there is no online platform or regular networking event specifically geared to connect these visionaries with a broader support community. In such isolation, motivation and ideas are all too likely to stagnate. This also leads to a lack of collaboration of skills and connections of networks and people who can help support the work being done. Without the energy provided by networks, the potential for impact is stillborn in our community and around the world.
This conundrum has shaped my life’s work. My passion lies in connecting people and inspiring collaboration in order to protect wilderness and wildlife. It is no surprise that my internal compassion led me straight to the WILD Foundation. My work with WILD began when I was introduced to their CoalitionWILD program.
CoalitionWILD links and galvanizes the world’s young change makers to tackle our planet’s greatest conservation and sustainability challenges. This project drives forward sustained collective impact by offering the connections, opportunities and tools to do so.
In its first two years, CoalitionWILD has established an international network and movement of young visionaries sharing real-world solutions that address some of the biggest problems facing our planet. The project currently has over 5,500 members, 2,700 Facebook supporters, and 25 Ambassadors situated around the world.
My involvement with this program started when the WILD team asked me to create a local Boulder alliance that would serve as a gathering place for this community’s young conservation leaders. This alliance is the next phase of CoalitionWILD, and distills the momentum of an international movement into a local hub of activity that manifests movement goals and provides tangible support to ambassador projects.
We are currently building out this alliance, which will convert our local networks passion into local action and support. CoalitionWILD Alliances are local leadership councils. Our Alliance consists of 25 volunteer members who are young professionals ages 18-35.
The Boulder Alliance has two primary goals:
- Adopt and support a CoalitionWILD Ambassador project throughout the year
- Create a connected community of young conservation leaders in Boulder
The Boulder Alliance also will take part in the following activities:
- Host Alliance meetings every 4 weeks.
- Organize an annual community-wide publicity campaign and event that raises funds for the Alliance’s adopted project.
- Attend leadership building training
- Complete two community service activities per year.
- Discuss the needs of the community here in Boulder and implement whatever solution we find to help connect and empower the work being done.
This is CoalitionWILD’s very first pilot alliance. The goal is to create additional alliances around the world. These alliances bring together the time, skills and resources of a network of individuals all geared to support conservation leaders around the world. This collaborative impact empowers this next generation to step into leadership opportunities in order to ensure a wilder world and sustainable legacy.
Boulder Alliance Members Spotlight:
Profession: Software Developer
Why did you join the Boulder Alliance? “For me it’s really about sitting down in a room with individuals all from different backgrounds but with the same core values and ethic- learning skills from each other, which increases the impact of all of our work here in Boulder and abroad.”
Profession: Nutritional Therapist
Why did you join the Boulder Alliance? “I joined the alliance to be engaged in local community driven work, that connects me and those around me with the environment.”
These Alliances are philanthropic, community oriented, action focused and globally connected. Although, all the alliances will share common goals, values and core structure, they will adapt depending on their location and assessment of the greatest impact they can have on their community and the world.
Ways to get involved with CoalitionWILD:
- JOIN THE MOVEMENT: Sign up on CoalitionWILD’s website
- BECOME AN AMBASSADOR: Ambassadors help share CoalitionWILD with their network and act as a hub to spread information and increase impact. In return, they receive recognition on CoalitionWILD website, networking opportunities, exposure for their own work or goals, and feel good vibes. Apply to be an Ambassador on the CW website!
- START AN ALLIANCE: Alliances are regional groups of people under 35 years old who are focused on creating change – locally, globally, and within oneself. Each group is autonomous in decision making, allowing each Alliance to be unique. Alliances are involved with community service projects, take part in leadership and skill building, and adopt a CoalitionWILD project to support for one year. Contact Crista@coalitionwild.org to start your own Alliance!
- SUBMIT A PROJECT: Project leaders can submit their work CoalitionWILD website to be showcased. Benefits include global exposure, potential monetary support, access to opportunities (whether with or through CoalitionWILD) and becoming part of an international network.