en board

board members
trusted guidance for a rare approach

Scott M. Amero, Chair

Rare not only celebrates the conservation results it achieves but it also celebrates the people and communities that make it happen and who are forever impacted and inspired.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2011

Hobby: Fly fishing

Other boards: Harbor Funds and Berkshire School

Rare observation: “The people and the culture make Rare Rare (and rare). The essence of Rare is the strong push to find solutions that work and scale them. Along the way, there is always a strong emphasis on collecting data, learning from it, and constantly improving the process and programs. Rare is a unique organization that uses education, pride, and tenacity to help both people and nature.”


Brett Jenks

Rare exemplifies the power of finding what works and taking it to scale. It’s what we call solutionology.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2000

Current position: CEO and President of Rare

First day at Rare: Brett went bird watching in Monteverde, Costa Rica, with a ravenous group of listers. “I think one of them stepped over me on a trail to get a look at a bellbird,” says Brett. “And my thought was, ‘These people are passionate about nature.’ I was hooked.”


Nancy Mackinnon, Vice Chair

I love Rare for its optimism, its spirit of celebration, and its ability to drill down and replicate what works.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2005

Interests: conservation, experiencing the outdoors; fly fishing and birding.

Other boards: The Nature Conservancy - Idaho Chapter; The Nature Conservancy - Argentina, Patagonia; Trout Unlimited

Rare observation: “Rare is transparent. It tries many things and isn't afraid to admit when something does not work. However, when something does work — when they find that “bright spot” that is changing how people live and work in their environment — they spread it far and wide. Inspired vision, remarkable leadership, and a fantastic team!”


Thomas A. Patterson, Treasurer

In an era of escalating environmental crises, Rare provides a solution that builds resilience in communities and the natural systems they depend on."

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Joined Rare’s board: 2015

Current Position: Partner, Madrone Capital

Rare observation: Rare’s work inspires behavior change where it matters most – in the local communities that depend on nearby ecosystems.  By cultivating a new mindset for stewardship, it becomes possible to protect biodiversity and improve human welfare.  This shift is essential if we are to achieve meaningful and durable change to the unnecessarily destructive practices we see in communities all around the world.



Steve Gaines, Secretary

Rare gets that it is far more effective to inspire behavior change than to demand it. That insight makes nearly any environmental solution possible.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2011

Current position: Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara

Other boards: COMPASS and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Rare fact: Steve can hold his breath for more than five minutes. He learned the secret from a magician.

Rare goal: “I want to see Rare take environmental solutions and scale them to a global level. This is the key to conservation success, and Rare is uniquely poised to succeed.”


Dorothy Batten

What makes me so excited about Rare is that instead of focusing on regulating and restricting others' activities, it strives to provide win-win programs for communities, programs that not only enhance sustainability and productivity, but also draw communities closer and enhance their knowledge of and pride in their natural environment."

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Joined Rare’s board: 2016

Current position: Founder, iThrive Games, a non-profit organization that fosters the adoption of positive psychology practices in video games for teenagers in order to increase social emotional learning and adolescent wellbeing.

Other boards: The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, The Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of VA, the Alumni Board of Trustees at UVA, The Women's Initiative (Charlottesville, VA)

Why conservation?: I grew up in a beautiful natural environment surrounded by woods, a large river, and the Atlantic Ocean. I often rescued injured birds and animals, and nature became my therapy and savior. I was very aware of how important clean water was for the health of all life, and wanted to help ensure that the most important natural habitats on earth could thrive. 

Rare factI can "hear" the low frequency vocalizations that elephants send through their feet and via underground seismic waves.


Paul John Butler

Rare is special because of the people: staff, Rare Fellows, partners and board members. Each and every one of them inspires me, encourages me and makes me proud of the work Rare does and the legacy we are leaving.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2013

Current position: Senior vice president, Rare

Rare fact: Paul serves as both a staff member and trustee. He has worked at Rare for 26 years beginning when there were just two staff, a total budget of less than $100,000 and an office smaller than the average kitchen. When originally asked to join Rare, Paul pledged to stay for at least ten years so long as it remained an innovative, creative and fun place to work. He says, “It has — and still is — a quarter of a century later.”


Avi S. Garbow

Addressing environmental challenges can often be perceived as a negative endeavor. Rare flips this inside out, approaching conservation by strengthening the relationships between people, place, and animals and creating positive and enduring solutions."

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Joined Rare's board: 2018

Current position: Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and former EPA General Counsel

Hobby or passion: I enjoy experiencing the beauty and bounty of nature.

Why Rare? I’m proud to be a board member at Rare because it serves as a true multiplier for voices around the environmental and conservation table, exemplifying the true spirit of partnership where it is needed the most.


Sarah Stein Greenberg

Many sectors have used design thinking and behavioral insights to advance their impact—whether that’s for social good or commercial success. Rare aims to pioneer a way to systematically apply these approaches to community-based conservation, a critical contribution to the environmental movement."

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Joined Rare's board: 2018

Current position: Executive Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University

Why Rare? Solving the world’s most pressing environmental challenges requires empathy, optimism, creativity, and a willingness to experiment with new approaches. In my experience, Rare's people embody those values.


Sven Lindblad

As Paul Butler realized in 1977 and clearly states now, ‘if people don’t see benefit, they’re not going to change behavior.’ Rare understands that if you are going to ask people to change behavior, they have to see value in that change and Rare has developed strategies for identifying and communicating these benefits.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2016

Current position: CEO Lindblad Expeditions

Interests: scuba diving and photography

Other boards: The Safina Center, NGS Int’l Council of Advisors, Pristine Seas

Rare fact: "I ultimately find certain animals more capable of smart and consistent decision-making than humans — in particular, elephants, that I had the privilege of observing during my college-age years rather than pursuing a more traditional education."


José Roberto Marinho

I am proud to be part of Rare because its work with local communities and national governments to help people and nature thrive is a smart, strategic, and thoughtful approach to conserving our environment. I am especially proud of the work we do in Brazil, my home country."

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Joined Rare’s board: 2016

Current position: President of the Roberto Marinho Foundation and Board Member of Grupo Globo

Other boards: Juntos pelo Desenvolvimento Sustentável – Comunitas (Together for Sustainable Development), Ethos Institute of Enterprises and Social Responsibility, Board of Curators of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), The Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council, Lincoln Center Latin America Advisory Board, Harvard Global Advisory Council, Reina Sofia School of Music International Circle

Why conservation?: I have been passionate about the environment most of my life. Starting at a young age I spent time with my family on the coast and exploring some of Brazil’s natural treasures. It is so important that we do all that we can to protect our natural resources, and I’ve devoted much of my adult life to doing that.

Rare fact: I have worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and a programming director of a radio station in Brazil.


David McCormick

I am proud to be part of Rare because it has a strong track record of success and also innovative plans for bridging the gap between private capital investors, development finance, and philanthropy."

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Joined Rare’s board: 2017

Current job: Co-CEO, Bridgewater Associates

Other boards: The Aspen Institute, USO, HSS

What makes Rare different? A few things. Rare addresses conservation and development challenges through market driven solutions to change behavior. The organization and its leadership also have an uncommonly strong drive to constantly improve the effectiveness of their work.


Vadim Nikitine

The evolution of Rare has been remarkable. While we are 20 times bigger now in terms of staff and budget than in 1996, we still retain the unique culture that attracted me to Rare in the first place. I love the spirit of Rare.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 1996

Current interests: investor in real estate and green tech companies

Other boards: Flamboyan Foundation, Sapientis, CCM Group

Rare observation: “The people make Rare special. From Brett to the most recent hire, from the board chair to our newest board member, there is a shared commitment to conservation and a shared passion for doing the right thing, respecting each other and our partners, and being innovative thinkers.” 


Amanda Paulson

Rare is unique in its focus on both people and nature — with solutions that benefit both. It’s willing to try innovative, unusual and creative tactics and gets incredibly successful results.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2014

Current position: Staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor

Other board: Jarrow Montessori

Why conservation? “I feel an immense wonder and awe at the diversity of life, ecosystems and landscapes we have on this planet and a sense of urgency about the need to protect it. While it can be discouraging to see how much nature we’ve already lost, I feel a deep responsibility to do whatever is possible to conserve what remains for future generations.”


Jan Portman

Rare is entrepreneurial. We strive for excellence in all we do. We are seriously science driven and we celebrate conservation success along the way.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2010

Current interests: Working landscapes, birdwatching, urban hike and bike trails

Other boards The Nature Conservancy of Montana; The Nature Conservancy of Ohio, honorary life trustee; Smith College, Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability (CEEDS)

Rare goal: “I want Rare to become a household name. I want all of us to have pride in the natural systems that support our lives. Valuing our natural resources, finding sustainable solutions to problems and harnessing the power of people’s pride to make changes for conservation. Rare offers us a bright path forward.”


Wendy Paulson, Chair Emerita

Rare has harnessed pride as a means to change behavior individually and collectively in a way that honors natural heritage.”

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Joined Rare’s board: 2003

Interests: Teaching city kids about birds

Other Boards: The Nature Conservancy - Illinois chapter; Openlands (Chicago); Field Museum Science Action Committee; BirdLife International/Audubon US Stewardship Council (chair); several conservation advisory boards; Bobolink Foundation (chairman)

Rare fact: "My husband and I danced in a conga line on a beach in Argentina with a human-sized red knot mascot in the lead."

Why conservation? “Because of the beauty and endless diversity of nature, the species and ecosystems that don’t have a voice.”


Ed Soule

Rare defies categorization. The organization is defined by its commitment to produce substantive conservation results and its grassroots approach that benefits people. Rare is also an educational institution with a growing list of Rare Fellows to prove it."

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Joined Rare’s board: 2005

Current position: Professor at Georgetown University

Rare pride: “The people of Rare make me proud, especially the values they bring to their work. I am in awe of Rare's staff members and their dedication to the success of every Pride campaign, and the Rare Fellow that leads it. “


honorary trustees

Kenneth Berlin, esq.
David O. Hill (founder)
Duncan McFarland
Robert S. Ridgley Ph.D.
Ruth Yeoh