Pat Ashton

Patricia is the manager of ABPRI. Her primary focus is research on gopher tortoises, their commensals, and their habitat. She specializes in writing management plans and educational curriculum. Additionally, Pat works on plant surveys, habitat monitoring, and habitat management. She also designs 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 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 the death of her husband Ray, 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 began his animal career at a young age volunteering at the Moonridge Animal Park in Big Bear California.

Since then, Chase 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 and Habitat Manager at ABPRI.

Maggie Curtis

Working at the Smithsonian National Zoo Membership Office gave Maggie a glimpse into the world of animals beyond domestic pets. Realizing she could turn her fascination with animals into a career, Maggie completed the A.Sc. program at Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo. She received her B.S. in animal ecology from Iowa State University.

Maggie spent six months in South Africa learning game reserve management and wildlife rehabilitation. There, she used radio telemetry to track lions and cheetahs. She also worked in Thailand for a year and a half, focusing on elephant forest reintroduction, sea turtle conservation, and rainforest biodiversity.

Maggie is the Field Research Manager at Ashton Biological Preserve. In addition to supervising ongoing Ashton research programs, Maggie is studying black vulture socialization and cognition.

 

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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.