The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) was established in June 2009, making its debut at the Hampton Court Flower Show with its Bronze Medal winning ‘Dragon’s Garden’. ARC was created around the core of the Herpetological Conservation Trust (HCT), in response to the wider needs of herpetofauna conservation, providing the UK focus for all aspects of reptile and amphibian conservation. Thus, ARC looks more broadly than the traditional focus on nature reserve management and rare species action plans and advocacy that had been the main reason for HCT’s formation in 1989. The creation of ARC was more than a rebranding exercise – it was established following extensive discussions with other organisations who had expressed a desire to work with and support the aims of the new charity.

The Herpetological Conservation Trust

Although ARC itself is a relatively new charity, its pedigree and experience directly link to the 20-year history of the Herpetological Conservation Trust (HCT), and to the work undertaken through the British Herpetological Society’s Conservation Committee that was formed in 1969 and itself helped establish the HCT. Founded in 1989 by Vincent Weir and Ian Swingland, HCT was launched at the First World Congress of Herpetology in Canterbury, UK that year. From Keith Corbett as the Trust’s first employee overseeing the conservation of the UK’s rarest reptiles and amphibians, the HCT grew to employ around 20 members of staff by the time we established ARC.

Through the HCT we established ourselves as the leading national herpetological conservation body working on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, created an extensive network of nature reserves, coordinated monitoring programmes and volunteer networks and developed an effective role in advocacy both within the UK and, through our involvement with the European Herpetological Society, in Europe - all of which remain key activities for ARC today. Unlike ARC, HCT did not have a membership or Friends scheme.

Although the HCT has transferred its operations and staff to ARC, it remains a functioning charity and continues to be governed by a board of Trustees (Registered charity no. 1109031 and a Company limited by Guarantee (Registered in England) number 5389839). The HCT retains some assets which it manages for the benefit of herpetofauna conservation taken forward through ARC.

These pictures show work from volunteers from the 1970s! Some of those pictured here went on to become Trustees!