Mario Cipollone was born in Pescara, Italy, on the 18th March 1981. He has always been passionate about nature and has volunteered for environmental organizations since childhood. In 2008 Mario graduated with a degree in International Political Science. In 2012, after becoming increasingly concerned about the decline of the Marsican brown bear, Mario became the co-founder of Salviamo l’Orso (Let’s save the bear) with the aim of conserving the critically endangered brown bear subspecies, endemic of the Central Apennines.
His commitment to wildlife, the natural environment and to the conservation of the bear have gained Mario and his organizations several acknowledgments, publications and grants both at national and international levels.
Since 2018 Mario has been the team leader of Rewilding Apennines, where his main tasks include planning and managing actions for the rewilding of ecosystems and trophic chains. His environmental background and passion for wildlife perfectly reflects the philosophy and policies of Rewilding Europe. As a grassroots conservationist, Mario is aware that rewilding goals can only be achieved by a combination of engaging local communities in the conservation process, raising awareness about the value of biodiversity and natural heritage, and developing nature-based economies.
Born in Boiano (Campobasso, Molise) in 1983, Angela holds a major degree in Communication of nature science, a Master’s degree in Governance of natural protected areas and an international Ph.D. in Management and conservation issues in changing landscapes. During her university career, she gained important experience abroad, such as six months in Vermont (USA) to deepen her Ph.D. research about the management of rural landscape through the local community engagement.
Since 2011, she has been working with the team Rete DNA (Network of National Didactic for Environment) that belongs to CURSA – University Consortium for the Socioeconomic Research and Environment – to develop and implement projects of environmental education and heritage interpretation, training courses for adults and educative programs for children about Biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, especially in natural protected areas.
Fond of Nature since always and strong supporter of volunteering as an important social resource for environmental protection, Angela collaborates with Salviamo l’Orso about the conservation of the Marsican bear. Since 2018, she leads the communications of Rewilding Apennines as the Communications Officer of this organization that is working with Rewilding Europe to make Italy a wilder place, with much more space for wild ecosystems, wildlife and natural processes. In bringing back the variety of life, the aim is exploring new ways for people to enjoy and earn a fair living through the nature connection.
Fabrizio was born in 1982 in Avezzano, in Abruzzo, the main town of Marsica area, situated between the Sirente Velino Regional Park and the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. He got a PhD in Industrial Chemical at the University of Bologna and he has always been frequenting the mountain under different perspectives.
Fabrizio is a “coornata” guide of the Sirente Velino Regional Park and an environmental hiking guide of Abruzzo. Since 2016 he accompanies tourists and nature lovers to discover the natural beauties of the Central Apennines. Fond of wildlife and nature photography from years, he is committed as volunteer in actions of environmental protection and, with Salviamo l’Orso, for the conservation of the Marsican brown bear.
Since 2019 Fabrizio is the Field Officer of Rewilding Apennines, carrying out field activities for rewilding environment and nature conservation, wildlife monitoring and enhancing the coexistence between humans and large carnivores.
Valerio Reale holds a degree in Gastronomic Sciences from the University of Pollenzo and a Master’s degree in Food Security and Human Development at the Faculty of Economics of Roma 3.
In 2009 he began travelling across both developed and developing countries to study different food production paradigms.
In 2015, he moved to Ethiopia to analyse the effect of conventional farming practices on the Karrayu-Oromo communities and the camel milk production chain.
Since 2016 he has been back to Europe and worked in the UK in the food and organic farming industry.
Valerio is a great fan of agroecology and rewilding as a concrete alternative to conventional food and farming practices. From 2020, he is the Enterprise Officer of Rewilding Apennines with the aim of develop a nature-based network of enterprises that can benefit from the rewilding activities in the Central Apennines.
His main passions are people and food.
Vulture Field Officer
Nicolò was born at Tivoli in 1988. In 2016 he graduated with a MSc in Biodiversity and Management of Ecosystems at the University of Rome 3 with a thesis about two autochthonous snakes’ populations in the case of presence of the American bullfrog.
In 2017 he collaborated with the Bavarian Forest National Park to study the populations of Eurasian lynx and ungulates by using camera traps. In 2018 he worked with the Monti Simbruini Regional Park at the monitoring of Apennines wolf, Marsican brown bear and ungulates.
Since 2019 he has been working at the Monti Simbruini Regional Park as project manager of the Reptile Project of the Park, by monitoring the reptile species of the territory and by carrying out dissemination initiatives in order to sensitize local communities about their ecological importance.
Fond of nature and photography, Nicolò has been working as environmental guide since years. He strongly believes that educating the general public to the natural processes is fundamental to guarantee the future coexistence between man and nature and the biodiversity conservation.
Born on 17 May 1994, in the city of Goettingen, Germany, Jan has always been passionate about biology and nature conservation issues. In 2019 he completed a bachelor’s degree in biodiversity and ecology – his thesis covered the predation of cattle by Persian leopards in northern Iran, with the aim of promoting greater coexistence with local farmers. He is now studying in the Master of International Nature Conservation programme at the universities of Goettingen and Lincoln, New Zealand.
Both during his studies and in his contributions to several conservation projects Jan-Niklas has gained extensive insight into human-wildlife conflict, hierarchical modelling and geographic information systems (GIS).
A former Rewilding Apennines and Salviamo l’Orso volunteer, Jan-Niklas currently works as a GIS analyst for Rewilding Apennines. He also assists in supervising the scientific projects of new volunteers and manages a Central Apennines wildcat monitoring project.
Pietrantonio Costrini was born in Avezzano (L’Aquila province) in 1977. He graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences and Biology and worked for three years at the Department of Vegetable Genetics at the University of Bologna. Here he achieved a master of science degree in Applied Vegetable Genetics.
From 2011 to 2014, Pietrantonio worked as a freelance consultant, collaborating with WWF Italy on the European project “Life Arctos”, working on the distribution and installation of wildlife damage-prevention measures, focusing on those caused by the Marsican brown bear.
Currently, he collaborates with Salviamo l’Orso NGO and he works as a Bear Ambassador for Rewilding Apennines. Pietrantonio’s knowledge for bear conservation and wildlife-human conflict resolution means he is able to work towards the coexistence of local communities and wildlife in the Central Apennines.
Pietrantonio has always been fond of the natural world and believes that only through proactive engagement is it possible for future generations to inherit a healthier planet; a planet with balanced and well-managed ecological processes and reduced human consumerism.
Rewilding Apennines Chairman
Antonio Carrara was born in 1961 in Pettorano sul Gizio – where he lives -, in the province of L’Aquila. Having completed a degree in sociology in 1988, he was soon employed by the Italian Ministry of Work, then by the Province of L’Aquila and the Abruzzo Region at the Employment Centre of Castel di Sangro, where he currently works.
Retaining strong links with his birthplace, Antonio helped to establish some local organisations aimed at promoting the traditions and culture of Pettorano sul Gizio and the Peligna Valley. The wild nature of the Central Apennines has also had a strong influence on Antonio and, during the happy season of the parks’ establishment in the Country, he was among those promoting APE (Apennine Park of Europe) and the establishment of the Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Nature Regional Reserve in 1996.
Antonio’s commitment to the community has been demonstrated many times in his role as city councillor and city assessor of Pettorano sul Gizio, Chair of the Peligna Mountain Community, and member of the Park Communities of the Majella National Park and the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. He was chairman of the latter between 2014 and 2019.
Antonio’s tireless passion for nature and for his community saw him elected Chairman of Rewilding Apennines and Mayor of Pettorano sul Gizio in 2020.
Rewilding Apennines Vice Chairman
Bruno D’Amicis, who was born in Rome in 1979, works and lives in the shadows of the mountains of Abruzzo, but often travels abroad for his projects. He holds a master’s degree in biology and has been a professional photojournalist since 2004, with a strong interest in conservation and biodiversity.
Bruno’s work has been published worldwide – he won first prize at the World Press Photo 2014 Awards and was also Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His images have featured in publications such as National Geographic, GEO and BBC Wildlife. Bruno regularly works with Protected Areas and NGOs, as well as TV companies in Italy and abroad, and is often invited to speaker at prestigious European events.
An honorary member of the AFNI (Italian Nature Photographers’ Association), Bruno is mainly involved with multimedia photography projects, disclosure and conservation in various countries of the world, and in his beloved Apennines. Among those are the projects “L’Altro Versante”, completely dedicated to the mountainous landscapes of Italy, and “Forest Beat”, focused on the ancient Apennine beech forests. Bruno is also author of six books, among which the acclaimed “Time for Wolves” brings together the best of his work on the Apennine wolf.
Rewilding Apennines General Secretary
Annette Mertens is of German origin but grew up in Italy, where she graduated in zoology at the Sapienza University of Rome. Her passion for wolves and bears then took her to Romania, where she worked in the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project from 1998 to 2002.
Back in Italy Annette then oversaw the submission of her first LIFE Project proposal. The proposal was accepted for funding by the European Commission and Annette successfully coordinated until its conclusion. She has since written and coordinated several other LIFE projects, both on her own initiative and at the request of other parties. For four years she also worked as an expert in the LIFE Nature and Biodiversity proposal selection process.
Annette is now working as an independent consultant for different Italian national parks, public authorities and foundations, and is still writing project proposals and coordinating them when they are selected for funding.
Annette started working for Rewilding Europe in early 2014, when she was contracted to assist in the production and submission of three LIFE proposals. She has now become part of the Rewilding Europe team as LIFE Project Coordinator.
As a Rewilding Apennines General Secretary, Annette brings with her an excellent knowledge of the Central Apennines and has a well-developed contact network involving people and organisations active in the area.
Rewilding Apennines board member
With a degree in nature science and a PhD in biodiversity conservation, Piero is a Research Group Leader of the Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation group at IIASA, the International Institute of Applied System Analysis in Austria.
His research spans many aspects of applied ecology and conservation, including conservation and restoration planning, multi-criteria decision analysis in conservation, and understanding and predicting species responses to human activities and direct drivers of change, such as land-use change and climate.
Outside academia, Piero has been active at the science-policy interface, as President of the European Section of the Society for Conservation Biology between 2014 and 2016, and as Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment for Europe and Central Asia.
Piero has been a passionate conservationist since he was young and has volunteered with several conservation NGOs. He has supported bear conservation in Abruzzo since 2015 and was Rewilding Apennines’ first president between 2019 and 2020.
Rewilding Apennines board member
Donato is a Senior Advisor of STS Capital, a global M&A advisory firm, and a Managing Director of STS Agility, a division of STS Capital focused on restructuring and turnaround mandates. He is also a partner at Pacemakers, a strategy advisory firm that helps clients identify and engage with fintech partners.
Until 2019, Donato was Country Manager, Italy for Link Financial Group, a leading European investor and servicer of performing, semi-performing and non-performing auto loans, residential mortgages, consumer loans, corporate debt and trade receivables.
Before joining Link, Donato co-founded and led Specialty Finance Trust, a specialist investor and servicer of healthcare and public admin receivables.
Prior to that he spent 12 years at General Electric, holding CEO and board level positions for GE Capital and GE Plastics divisions, based in Europe and Asia. He joined GE in 1992 as Business Development and M&A manager for GE Capital Europe. Before joining GE, Donato spent three years at Procter & Gamble Italy as Financial Analyst.
Donato is a non-executive board member of Harvard Business Review Italia. He has also been a member of YPO Int’l since 2003, where he serves as the incumbent Chairman of YPO Gold Italy and as board member of the Executive Committee of YPO Global Financial Services Network.
Donato is a member of the Virtual Advisory Board, a network of global non-executive directors and senior advisors. He is also a mentor at the Techstars and YPO A+ start-up acceleration programmes and holds an MBA and a MSc in chemical engineering.