"I am a Connector" session for Global Youth Summit

The virtual IUCN One Nature, One Future Global Youth Summit takes place April 5-16, 2021, and the Center for Large Landscape Conservation will host two sessions for young conservationists. The Summit is designed to strengthen connections between young leaders globally and add momentum to growing youth movements for nature and climate. Since the two-week event will be entirely virtual, and entirely free, there’s no reason not to register!

Youth* from around the world are invited to participate in youth-led thematic tracks such as People and Nature, Climate Change, and Marine and Freshwater, plus interactive workshops and networking events. Participants will contribute to an outcome document to be delivered to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress now scheduled for September 2021.

As part of this first-ever Global Youth Summit, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation is hosting “I am a Connector: Spanning Generations and Landscapes with Storytelling,” composed of two engaging, 2-hour sessions.

In the first session, on April 12, young storytellers from across the globe will share their experiences in the conservation field, highlighting successes as well as challenges and barriers they have overcome. A total of 15 young people from 13 countries will share their stories in this session, including:

Anthony Ochieng (Kenya) promotes wildlife conservation awareness and action through photography, film, and science. He believes in reaching people not in conservation careers or practice, to inspire them to take conservation action or become conservation philanthropists.

Iris Berger (Austria) is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, researching how to reconcile food production with biodiversity conservation. She is also a National Geographic Explorer and has led numerous scientific expeditions across the tropics.

Ibukunoluwa Balogun (Nigeria) is a graduate researcher of entomology focusing on conservation of insect pollinators. She also likes sharing scientific knowledge gained via research in simple ways by using her social media accounts.


Unlikely human connections can be the driving force for collaborative progress. These storytellers will speak to the power of connection and supportive networks in achieving conservation outcomes big and small, which will set the stage for the second session.

The session on April 13 will offer highly interactive activities to guide participants to explore the power of connectivity in conservation—social networks bring people together, and ecological connectivity supports life on Earth. Participants will learn about “radically human introductions” and present their own before building a network map in small groups of participants. The network map will highlight connections between seemingly unrelated participants, sparking potential opportunities for collaboration across geopolitical divides, and among different lived experiences. With participants primed to see the power of connections, facilitators from the Center will introduce the idea of forming a youth network dedicated to advancing ecological connectivity and getting participants involved.

Both exciting sessions are planned and hosted by two young staff members from the Center for Large Landscape Conservation: Conservation Associates Melissa Butynski and Gabriel Oppler. We hope you will join Melissa, Gabriel, and young people from around the world for this important event that offers the opportunity to help shape a healthier, more resilient, and more connected post-pandemic world.

*The Global Youth Summit defines “youth” as those aged 18 to 35. However, in order to allow for meaningful intergenerational collaboration and exchanges, people of all ages are welcome to participate.

Learn more and register