Ashton Biological Preserve

Volunteers on the Water

Ashton volunteers pride themselves on working hard for wildlife and conservation. That being said, when the day’s chores are done, it’s time for some fun!

We got these photos of our wonderful volunteers spending some time on the water during a recent warmer winter day. Looks beautiful out there!

Ashton 2020 calendars for sale!

We are happy to announce that our friends at I Ride 4 Wildlife are now taking orders for Ashton Biological Preserve 2020 wall calendars! These calendars feature images from the Preserve to keep Ashton close year-round.

You can order them online on the I Ride 4 Wildlife website. Calendars are $15.00 each and proceeds go to support our conservation work.

Thank you, I Ride 4 Wildlife, and thank you also to all of our supporters. We couldn’t do it without you.

Must-read article

Be sure to check out this amazing article about rattlesnakes, researchers, and the ripple effects of education and outreach.

Read “The Town That Lives with Rattlesnakes” on Outside.

One More Generation

We love this–way to go, Carter and Olivia! Check it out!

Do you like our new look?

We’re so excited to finally reveal the fresh, new look for our website! Ashton is always growing and changing and now our website has an updated appearance and more information about the Preserve. We think the new look reflects who we are as an organization.

We’d like to give a special thank-you to Alyssa Jaisle, who helped design the new banner and color scheme for the Preserve. We love what you made for us–thank you, Alyssa!

We’ll continue to refine our site over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for even more changes!

Chase Pirtle speaks on venomous snakes

Ashton’s own Animal Care Specialist and Habitat Manager, Chase Pirtle, was recently interviewed for a video segment on WUFT, the local public access station. In the interview, Chase shares information about venomous snakes and what kinds of snakes you might see in our area.

Watch the whole segment here:

Ashton in the news (featuring Blue!)

We were thrilled to be profiled recently in a recent news article by our local public news station, WUFT. The article featured information about our efforts to protect tortoises and even information about our resident gopher tortoise, Blue!

Want to read the whole article? Click here!

Ashton in the News

Ashton volunteers recently participated in the 1st Annual Flatwoods Fire and Nature Festival, held at the Austin Cary Memorial Forest north of Gainesville, Florida. We had a wonderful time meeting new friends and sharing our love of the natural world with all the visitors.

As part of our work at the Festival, we were featured in an article on! Check it out!


Come Work, Play, and Learn with Us

Do you want to volunteer with Ashton? We are always looking for motivated, passionate individuals to help with all the work we do at the Preserve.

We offer three-, six, and twelve-month internships with the Preserve, where you can gain experience conducting research, caring for captive animals, and managing conservation lands. Internships at the Preserve are a wonderful opportunity to get first-hand experience at an environmental nonprofit. After completing their time at Ashton, our interns have gone on to jobs around the world, including places like Hawaii and Dubai.

Ashton also offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups looking to make a difference in the world and engage in community service.

To learn more about volunteer and internship work, please click here, or contact us for additional information.


Visual Guide to Tadpoles of the Eastern United States

ABPRI is proud to host the Visual Guide to Tadpoles of the Eastern United States. This special guest post by Matthew Ratcliffe describes the history of the Guide and his purpose in developing it.

As a herpetology hobbyist, I’ve always wanted a comprehensive guide to identifying anuran tadpoles, which are notoriously difficult to determine down to the species level. I found that most online references only had one or two photos per species. Given the variability of tadpoles, this was not enough to remove some of the confusion surrounding their identification. While professional literature takes great lengths to explain the differences in tadpoles by species, most people do not have access to such books nor are they willing to pay the modest sum to acquire them. As a result, I was determined to create my own guide to tadpoles, using photos of tadpoles I had definitively identified as belonged to a particular species. My network of amateur and professional herpetologists voluntarily contribute their photos as well, and the project was launched on the Field Herp Forum ( in fall 2015.


Back then, the visual guide was a single post on the forum with species and their respective picture(s) listed vertically one after the other with marginally discernible breaks between each species. This was not a visually appealing format and made finding a particular species an exercise in scrolling through dozens of photos. Being largely clueless to webpage design, I put out a call for suggestions on how to migrate the guide to a more visually appealing format. That’s where my friend Noah stepped in, and he connected me with Lauren and the Ashton Biological Preserve website. Thanks to their gracious support, I am very pleased to announce that the latest and greatest iteration of this guide is now live! You’ll notice that each species has its own page, and the name of the original contributor of each photo appears when you scroll over each photo.

I hope that you find this guide useful towards improving your tadpole identification skills. If you would like to contribute high-quality photos to the guide, please contact me at You can also send contributions to

Thank you, and enjoy the guide!

Matt Ratcliffe