About us Who's who Patrons Patrons Chris Packham Chris Packham, renowned naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, became a patron of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in August 2013. Chris, who grew up in Southampton and still lives locally, got to know the amphibians and reptiles in the area at an early age. Close encounters as a child helped foster his lifelong enthusiasm for the species. Here’s what Chris has to say: We don’t have the richest range of reptiles and amphibians in the world but those that do grace our shores are some of the most exciting, enigmatic and attractive species that we have in the UK. They are often difficult to get to know, which makes them a challenge. Sadly most are under threat with declining populations, which means we need to work harder to protect them. Surprisingly their habits are still not fully known, which means more work must be done with increasing urgency. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation seeks to address these issues whilst bringing this fabulous guild of animals to wider public attention which is why I'm a very keen supporter and pleased to be a patron. That and the fact that grass snakes are one of my favourite animals on earth! ARC is thrilled that Chris has joined us as a patron and we look forward to working with him in the future to help conserve our native amphibians and reptiles. Iolo Williams Iolo Williams (best known recently for being an established presenter as part of the Springwatch/Autumwatch Team) agreed to become a Patron for ARC in Dec 2013. A former RSPB Officer, Iolo specialises in birds but is also passionate about wildlife conservation and supports a number of other charities such as Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife. He appears regularly on S4C and on the Radio and has made a number of programmes with the BBC. Here’s what Iolo has to say: I am delighted to be invited to be a patron of ARC. Through my media work, I have been aware for quite some time of the excellent work undertaken by ARC to protect and enhance our countryside for amphibians and reptiles, and to educate the public. Having grown up amongst grass snakes, slow worms, frogs, toads and newts in mid-Wales, I know how important it is to ensure that the next generation of conservationists appreciate the wildlife around them and that we make sure that the plants and animals are there for them to enjoy. Iolo is a leading advocate of wildlife in Wales and beyond! He will be a great ambassador for ARC’s work in Wales and in promoting “Welsh Dragons” at all levels. ARC is very excited about working with Iolo and together we hope to bring Amphibian and Reptile Conservation to the fore in Wales alongside our Welsh Officers Mark Barber and Peter Hill. Lucy Cooke Lucy Cooke is an award-winning television producer and presenter (BBC, Netflix, National Geographic, Discovery & PBS) best-selling author and National Geographic explorer with a Masters in Zoology from Oxford University. She became an ARC patron in October 2018. Here's what Lucy has to say: I love amphibians. I always have. They were the first vertebrates to make the giant leap from water to land and so, to me, they are the original explorers. Despite their inherently vulnerable amphibious nature, amphibians have since managed to colonise every continent (except Antarctica) through some truly ingenious adaptations: from secreting their own sunscreen to making their own anti-freeze. Their extraordinary diversity is a constant source of wonder to me. But as we all know, amphibians globally are under serious threat, with over 40% of all species in danger of extinction. A few years back I spent 6 months travelling around South America investigating the declines and writing a blog as the Amphibian Avenger to try and raise awareness about this under-reported crisis. But conservation starts at home and I am honoured that ARC have asked me to become a patron of their charity. The amphibians I first fell in love with were the ones I discovered as a kid in the ditches of Romney Marsh. ARC is doing an invaluable job making sure they will still be there for generations to come to enjoy. I look forward to working with ARC to campaign and raise awareness about our native reptiles and amphibians, which are such an awe-inspiring part of our UK ecosystems. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation is delighted to welcome Lucy as a patron and we are very much looking forward to working with her to raise awareness of the threats faced by our native herpetofauna and the habitats on which they depend.