About Ashton

From the Manager

Chase Pirtle

When I first discovered Ashton Biological Preserve in 2013, I knew that I’d found a truly special place.

Despite the hole left by Ray’s absence, I could see the Ashtons’ dedication to researching, protecting, and caring for tortoises as well as the natural world wherever I looked. I saw that this place had the potential to become a truly extraordinary force for conservation here in Florida and across the Southeast, and I was determined to give it my all to make that happen.

When I look back now, I can’t believe the change that has occurred.

With help from interns, volunteers, friends, and family who donate their time and resources to the Preserve, Ashton is growing in amazing ways and continues to progress into the future. We’ve made major improvements to the housing area for on-site interns and the research lab. We’ve renovated the enclosures for our resident tortoises and are again working to breed and conserve critically endangered tortoise species. We’ve installed gardens on-site so that we can grow our own produce and are taking a number of other steps to decrease our impact on the local environment, such as creating a bike loan program on the preserve to reduce road mortality of species and lower our carbon emissions, & changing outdoor lights to red light bulbs to reduce our interference to the local wildlife. Our outreach and networking events are thriving, and we are reaching more people than ever with our message of conservation.

It’s truly amazing to think of all the progress the Preserve has made, and I am so thankful to all of the incredible people who have come together to make the Preserve functional again. We have seen an outpouring of support from the community and couldn’t do it without them. Our volunteers are extraordinary, and I am incredibly grateful to call these people coworkers and friends, and with continued support from our amazing donors and sponsors, we’ll continue to progress into the future.

With thanks for all of your support and our best wishes,

Chase Pirtle

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