In response to ongoing concerns about the lack of widespread donor interest in conserving amphibians, despite their status as the world’s most threatened vertebrate group, in 2017 Synchronicity Earth decided to establish the Amphibian Fund to bring much-needed new support to amphibian conservation. In June of that year, Dr George Rabb agreed with Adam Sweidan, Chair of Synchronicity Earth, to lend his name to the Amphibian Fund. At this time, of course, we had no idea that George would pass away just a few weeks later. As a result, much of the focus over the last year has been on raising support for the Amphibian Fund from George’s close friends and colleagues.

As part of our drive to build the new Fund, Synchronicity Earth is collaborating with the Chicago Zoological Society, of which George had been President for many years. On 16 September 2018, at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, the Amphibian Fund was presented to a very engaged audience of people who knew George Rabb very well.

The event was opened and closed by Dr Stuart Strahl, President of The Chicago Zoological Society, who made a strong call for support of the Fund. Dr Simon Stuart, Director of Strategic Conservation at Synchronicity Earth and Deputy Chair of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, then read out a very warm and supportive letter from Joseph Moran Jr., George’s nephew (who was unable to attend because of the travel disruption caused by Hurricane Florence). Adam Sweidan, Chair of Synchronicity Earth, gave a moving talk about his encounters with George in recent years, the impact these had on him and how they led to the establishment of the Amphibian Fund. Simon Stuart presented on the amphibian conservation crisis, focusing on why amphibians are so much more threatened than other groups of species, describing how the crisis is being addressed, and why George cared so passionately about it. Finally, Anne Baker, Executive Director of Amphibian Ark, spoke eloquently about George and his passion for amphibians, and why the Amphibian Fund is such a fitting tribute to him.

More information on the Amphibian Fund can be found here. At this stage we are still growing the Fund, and we aim to start giving grants by 2019 or 2020. Our hope is that the Amphibian Fund will provide a way for donors to invest long-term in amphibian conservation, and that it will become a major source of sustained funding to help amphibians globally – both saving amphibians and honouring George Rabb, a dedicated founder of global amphibian conservation.

If you would like more information about the Amphibian Fund, contact [email protected]

Photo © Dirk Ercken