Pat Ashton

Patricia currently manages and has a main office at ABPRI just outside of Archer, Florida. Recently, her primary focus has been research and management activities relative to the gopher tortoise, its commensals, and its habitat. She specializes in writing management plans, educational curriculum, and analyses of habitat monitoring. Pat carries out plant surveys and habitat monitoring and management. She also designs monitoring and statistical analysis, risk management, initial suitability assessments, and business plans for preserves.

Patricia has been actively involved in investigating the natural world since 1967 when she worked at Tropical Atlantic Biological Labs on Key Biscayne and explored the Everglades mapping rare plants. She has worked on projects throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean as well as in Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, Barbados, Spain, China, Western Canada and the eastern United States. Following her husband Ray’s death, she has continued to work in education, field research and writing.

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Chase Pirtle has been obsessed with the natural world for as long as he can remember. He started his animal career at a young age volunteering at the Moonridge Animal Park in Big Bear California.

Since then, he worked at a Wolf Sanctuary and received his Florida FWC venomous license, as well as his authorized gopher tortoise agent permit. Chase completed a two-year Animal Science program in New Jersey, attended a Forestry and Wildlife Ecology program in South Carolina, and graduated from the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo in Florida. He is now the Animal Care Specialist & Habitat Manager at ABPRI.

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Lauren Griffin is the Communications Manager of ABPRI. She is an environmental sociologist with a PhD from the University of Florida, where she studied environmental media and communications. She loves working on conservation projects in her adopted home state of Florida, and is particularly fond of wading birds and hognose snakes.