Conservation Grant Guidelines

AArk has offered grants since 2009 and in the past these have been predominantly seed grants, for newly created ex situ programs, for species that have been assessed as in need of urgent ex situ rescue.

In 2018 our grants program was expanded, to include a wider range of programs types that are eligible for funding, as well as some new guidelines and requirements for grant recipients. Download the complete guidelines here.

Our grants are intended to support conservation projects for amphibian species that cannot currently be saved in the wild, with a focus on ex situ actions, and in partnership with appropriate field activities. Preference will be given to projects for species which have been assessed as in need of ex situ rescue or research work, either as a recommendation from a Conservation Needs Assessment (www.conservationneeds.org) or a similar, national assessment process.

Guidelines and requirements

All applications must reflect AArk values. Please pay careful attention to the grant guidelines, and address all of the appropriate items.

Start-up grants

Start-up grants provide initial funding to help newly-launched projects get started at the very beginning of their life, to help them attract larger and/or long-term funding for the duration of the program. One-time grants of up to US$5,000 are available. Recipients are able to apply for second and third year extension grants.

All applicants are required to submit a brief Project Outline, prior to submitting a full application. Your Project Outline should in English, less than 400 words in length, and should contain information under the following headings: Species, Organization, Project Manager, Previous amphibian husbandry experience, Goals, Proposed outcomes, Other funding sources (both requested and received) and the status of a Species Action or Recovery Plan for the species (including authors of the plan). ). Project Outlines for start-up grants from institutions with limited amphibian expertise must include a copy of the report from the Institutional Program Implementation Tool (www.amphibianark.org/program-implementation-tool/) for the species at your institution. The Project Outline should address any shortfalls highlighted within the tool.

Project Outlines will be reviewed and successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full application. Full applications will not be accepted without a Project Outline having been submitted and approved by the review committee.

All grant applications must include the following items. Projects which do not include the requested details and attachments are unlikely to receive funding. Please complete the application checklist to ensure your application is complete.

  1. Project title.
  2. Names, institutional affiliations, and email addresses of project leaders.
  3. Total funding amount requested from Amphibian Ark in US$.
  4. Executive summary (300 words or less), including brief background, experience with ex situ amphibian husbandry, threats and current or proposed mitigation actions, methods, goals and anticipated outcomes, with emphasis on actions utilizing AArk funds. Please stress the conservation significance of the work, including the specific conservation need of all species involved (e.g., AArk priority, IUCN threatened or DD, national priority, etc.) and how the work will help address the threats to the species.
  5. Budget with distinction between funds requested from AArk and those from other sources, with the latter specified as ‘requested’ or ‘received’ and from where. Clearly identify the role of AArk funding as a proportion of overall project cost. All costs should be in USD$. Budget should be less than one page. See sample below.
  6. Timeline of work and intended dissemination of results over the proposed lifetime of the project (i.e., beyond the granting period). See sample below.
  7. Scientific citations are not necessary but limited to half page if included.
  8. We require two types of supporting letter:
  1. All applicants – whether applying as individuals or as employees representing their organizations – must include at least one (preferably two) letter of endorsement from someone at an unrelated organization. That person should be a recognized leader in the field or at least from an internationally known organization.
  2. Employees representing their organizations must also submit a letter of institutional support from their employer. This letter is to verify that the employer (1) is aware that the applicant is proposing the project and (2) will provide the necessary resources, time and space to complete the proposed work for the duration of the project. Please address these points, with details of how this will be achieved. One such letter is required for each project leader on the application who has a different employer. See sample in Grant Guidelines.

Essential components

  • The applicant should either be managing both the ex situ and the in situ conservation actions or details of current or proposed in situ actions should be referenced.
  • Introduction, identifying the main conservation problem, the proposed corrective actions, the anticipated outcomes, and how these relate to the AArk values.
  • Methodology. If a completed species action plan is not attached, include a succinct description of the proposed work with enough technical detail for evaluation by experienced reviewers. This section must include information about:
    • recommendations arising from a Conservation Needs Assessment (or other national assessment)
    • any previous in situ or ex situ conservation or research activities with the target species, either by the applicant(s) or by others.
  • Working with amphibian species that need to be rescued. Proposals must relate to rescuing species whose threats cannot be mitigated in nature in time to prevent their extinction and which therefore require urgent ex situ intervention to persist. This status should be determined by relevant field experts, e.g., the IUCN/SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) field experts through AArk Conservation Needs Assessment Workshops, or similar national processes. Contact AArk staff (grants@amphibianark.org) if an assessment has not yet been completed. The IUCN Red List can also be used to verify the threatened status. While we appreciate efforts to keep regionally threatened but globally stable species common, our limited funds are restricted to projects involving species that need help at a global level.
  • Working with species within their native range country. Unless capacity absolutely cannot be built in the range country in time to prevent imminent extinction, the AArk will not fund projects that remove animals from their range country. In addition, every effort should be made to enable national biologists to lead the program.
  • The project must include an ex situ component. While we highly value in situ conservation, research, assessment, and education, our funds are extremely limited and so we must insist that all proposals include an ex situ Note that in situ conservation, research, assessment, and education can be included as valuable components of any good proposal that otherwise focuses on rescuing species ex situ. Check the Species Recommended for Ex Situ Rescue report at http://conservationneeds.org/SpeciesRecommendRescue.aspx for a list of priority species in your country.
  • Amphibian husbandry experience. The application should include details of past amphibian husbandry experience, either with the target species, or other amphibians. Please identify which amphibian species you have worked with.
  • Field work. As long as your proposal details the ex situ components that are already in place, up to 20% of the funds applied for can be used to support the acquisition of founder animals, however priority will go to proposals in which 100% of the funds are directed to the ex situ facility. Ideally, our support of your ex situ component will help you secure funds for these other components as we tend not to fund components for which other funding could be found. For projects that do not relate to ex situ rescues, consider contacting the Amphibian Survival Alliance (www.amphibians.org/contact/).
  • Linking with in situ partners – all ex situ conservation programs should be planned in conjunction with appropriate actions in the field to mitigate threats, rehabilitate suitable habitat for reintroductions or translocations, and protect the habitat into the future. Include information about in situ partnerships, collaborators and conservation actions being planned or underway.
  • A draft or completed Species Action Plan for the species, or other planning document which includes reference to the project, specific objectives and timelines for meeting those objectives must be included. The plan should have been developed by a team of all relevant stakeholders, including those working with the species and/or it’s habitat in the wild. Inadequate planning is one of the biggest causes for the failure of amphibian conservation programs, and we expect to see appropriate planning in place prior to a program being implemented. The action plan should include information about major threats to the species, how threats will be mitigated, partnerships with relevant stakeholders, biosecurity, habitat protection, plans for reintroduction of animals back to the wild, post-release monitoring and program exit strategy. A Species Action Plan template is available on the AArk web site, as are existing species-specific action plans for reference. Information about species management groups is available on the AArk web site.
  • If your proposed program is to work with an analog species prior to working with a related but more threatened species, your proposal should be for the threatened species, and include details about the selected analog.
  • Ensuring institution is properly prepared. All start-up grant applications must include a complete copy of the Program Implementation Tool (www.amphibianark.org/program-implementation-tool/) for the target species. The application should address any shortfalls highlighted within the tool.
  • Adhering to recommended biosecurity standards. Regardless of where the rescue population is held, measures must be taken to isolate it from allopatric (non-overlapping) species that might be in the collection as well as from the original threat (e.g., chytrid), except where a valid scientific argument can be made to the contrary. Please refer to our recommended biosecurity standards and include details of your biosecurity plan.

Application checklist

Project Outline

Report from Program Implementation Tool for institutions with limited amphibian expertise

Project Outline accepted

Introduction

Methods

Species identified for rescue by CNA

Application is for ex situ program

Project is in species’ range country

Major threats and in situ mitigation efforts identified

Biosecurity protocol included

Budget

Timeline

Action plan in draft or final form attached, in situ partners identified if appropriate

Institutional Implementation form attached

Previous amphibian husbandry expertise outlined

Letter of endorsement from someone at an unrelated organization

Letter of institutional support from employer, if representing an organization


Program extension grants

Additional funds are available to provide continued support for projects for high priority species that a) have met their stated objectives for previous years, and b) can demonstrate that additional supplemental funds have been secured since the program began. It is expected that husbandry guidelines and a species action plan have been completed. Second-year grants of up to US$4,000 and third-year grants of up to US$3,000 are available.

A Project Outline does not need to be submitted prior to submitting your full application.

  • Applicants need not submit a full grant proposal – please include a short summary of progress during the past year, with a clear statement of how objectives from your previous grant application have been met, any updates to the species action plan, and letters of support from additional funders indicating the level of funding obtained during the past 12 months. To receive a third year of funding applicants should follow the same procedure as for the second extension.
  • Outline methodology, including a succinct description of the proposed work with enough technical detail for evaluation by experienced reviewers.
  • Total funding amount requested from Amphibian Ark in US$.
  • Budget with distinction between funds requested from AArk and those from other sources, with the latter specified as ‘requested’ or ‘received’ and from where. Clearly identify the role of AArk funding as a proportion of overall project cost. All costs should be in US$. Budget should be less than one page. See sample below.
  • It is expected that husbandry guidelines and a species action plan have been completed, and these should be included with your application.
  • Include a letter of support from a recognized leader in the field who has visited the project within the past six months (AArk staff may be able to help arrange this – please contact us for advice, if needed).

Application checklist

Introduction

Summary of progress during the previous 1-2 years

Statement of how objectives from previous years have been met

Methods

Budget

Timeline

Letter of support from a recognized leader in the field who has visited the project within the past six months

Any updates to the species action plan

A copy of the husbandry guidelines

Letters of support from additional funders indicating level of funding obtained in last 12 months


Workshop attendance

Partial funding to assist attendance at ex situ amphibian conservation-related workshops, especially those which focus on amphibian husbandry, planning and reintroduction. Applicants must have already secured partial funding to attend the workshop. You must already be actively involved in an amphibian conservation project or have well-developed plans and funding in place to implement a new program Grants of up to US$750 are available.

A Project Outline does not need to be submitted prior to submitting your full application.

  • Include the name, dates and location of the workshop.
  • Outline the funding received or committed to date to attend the workshop.
  • Include a summary of the amphibian conservation project you are currently working with, including the species, progress to date, and future plans for the project.
  • Describe the benefit of attending the workshop, and how the knowledge gained will be used.

Mentorship grants

Support for organizations which have previously received an AArk seed or start-up grant, to bring in a designated outside expert to assist with an aspect of their amphibian conservation efforts (e.g. veterinary training, environmental control etc.). Grants up to US$1,500 are available.

All applicants are required to submit a brief Project Outline, prior to submitting a full application. Your Project Outline should in English, less than 400 words in length, and should contain information under the following headings: Species, Organization, Project Manager, Previous amphibian husbandry experience, Goals, Proposed outcomes, Other funding sources (both requested and received) and the status of a Species Action or Recovery Plan for the species (including authors of the plan). Project Outlines will be reviewed and successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full application. Full applications will not be accepted without a Project Outline having been submitted and approved by the review committee.

  • Include the name(s) of the proposed mentor(s), the institution(s) they are from, the expertise they will bring to your project and the length of time of their visit. If you need help to find a suitable mentor please contact grants@amphibianark.org.
  • Outline the support provided to the mentor by the host institution (e.g. provision of accommodation, food, supporting travel costs etc.).
  • Methodology, including a succinct description of the proposed work with enough technical detail for evaluation by experienced reviewers.
  • Information about the species being managed, and whether it is native to the country the program is based in.

Emergency grants

Limited funding is available for past recipients of AArk grants throughout the year for emergency situations such as unanticipated major equipment failure in existing ex situ programs. These grants are also available for the emergency rescue of wild populations facing imminent threat of extinction. Please download the Emergency Grants Guidelines or contact grants@amphibianark.org at any time to discuss an emergency grant.


Example budget
Budget category Item/amount

(Examples)

Requested from AArk Other sources/status
Field study field vehicle rental, fuel, $60/day, 10 days

0

$600 received from ASG

food: 5 people $20/day, 10 days 0 $1000 received from ASG
lodging: 5 people, $50/day, 2 days 0 $500 received from ASG
local guide $30/day, 10 days 0 $300 received from ASG
PI salary for 14 days 0 $3000 pledged from employer
10 data loggers, $50/each 0 $500 requested from RWPZ
$5/Bd swab, $20/test, 20 samples 0 $500 requested from ARAV
Ex situ facility retrofit existing building 0 $5000 in house
1st year keeper salary 0 $6000 requested from WCS
keeper to husbandry workshop 0 $2500 requested from AZA
Air conditioner $250 0
Generator $1000 0
Water supply filtering system $500 0
Foot baths/solutions, $50 $50 0
Disposable gloves, $100 $100 0
supplies for live food culture $600 0
Field collection field vehicle rental, fuel, $60/day, 10 days $600 0
food: 5 people $20/day, 10 days $1000 0
lodging: 5 people, $50/day, 2 days $500 0
local guide $20/day, 10 days $200 0
PI salary for 14 days 0

$3000 pledged from employer

Education graphics for display 0 $500 requested from DWCT
  presentations at local schools 0 $1000 requested from DWCT
Threat mitigation reforestation project 0 $5000 requested from CI
  fish removal 0 $5000 requested from ASG
  trail management

0

$5000 requested from CI
Total   $4,800 $39,400
Percentage   11%

89%

Example timeline
Activity Jul-Sep 2022 Oct-Dec 2022 Jan-Mar 2023 Apr-Jun 2023 Jun – Dec 2023 Jan-Dec 2024
fieldwork X X
development of action plan X
construct ex situ facility X X X
field collection X X
education X X
reintroduction X
post-release monitoring X X

Format Guidelines

  • Ideally, proposals should be submitted in English or Spanish, but it can be submitted in any language.
  • The body of the proposal (including content points 1-6 above) must not exceed three pages, excluding budget (≤1 page) and literature cited (≤½ page). Proposals longer than five pages in body length will not be reviewed.
  • All materials should be submitted together, as .doc or .pdf files attached to a single e-mail. File titles should include the name of the grant’s principal researcher. The two supporting letters should be sent as separate files.
  • Only e-mailed proposals will be accepted. Submit proposals to: Kevin Johnson, Taxon Officer grants@amphibianark.org. All correspondence should have “AArk Conservation Grant Proposal/principal researcher’s name” in the subject line.

Application submissions
Ideally, grants should be submitted at least one week before the deadline, so they can be reviewed, and returned for alterations if needed. Grants submitted on the due date cannot be modified and will be accepted as is. Applications and inquiries should be directed to grants@amphibianark.org.

Need some help?
AArk staff are available if you need assistance in formulating your proposal. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Each year several proposals have been rejected due to issues that could have been prevented with a little extra guidance! We also have several past seed grant recipients who are willing to act as mentors, to help with your application – please let us know if you would like us to put you in contact with one of them. Email us at grants@amphibianark.org.

Important dates

  • Program Outline deadline: 15 April 2022
  • Applicants notified about review of Project Outlines: 29 April 2022
  • Grant application deadline: 20 May 2022
  • Grant decision/notification date: 3 June 2022
  • Successful applicants must provide bank account details, signed MOU and 3-4 photos of species and/or facilities by: 17 June 2022
  • Grant payment date: 30 June 2022
  • Initial progress report and species action plan provided by 1 January 2023
  • Final progress report, species action plan and husbandry guidelines due 30 June 2023