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I’m a bit overwhelmed in tackling this post. That’s a sign it’s worth diving into. I’m unsure where it’s going exactly, that goes with my commitment to freewrites for awhile before proper and planned blog posts. Because I still don’t know exactly what this place wants to be, nor how this will fit into my still evolving career / life purpose (which I hope can marry into one some day).

However, and with all that said, I’m finding the need to hone in again. I’ve been learning, reading, etc about conservation and I admire the language to say the least. I need to immerse further, begin to adopt it myself.

The language, the phrases, the keywords I see sophisticatedly used in my research are now more so being plucked from articles and used to further my search engine searches when I’m ready to dive deeper down the rabbit hole.

It can get overwhelming quick. It can feel that the more I seek to learn deeper about one concept, the larger it becomes and the more branches I discover – carrying me on to something else.

It all sits comfortably under the umbrella of conservation, though as I do my best to both learn and be at the ready to work on a solution, the more I find fog.

Conservation, climate change, natural habitat loss, biodiversity loss, deforestation, fragmentation, degradation, just the US, worldwide, one species, or subspecies, or an entire ecosystem, etc.

It’s hard to choose one to ‘master’ (or, let’s say, to learn the most about). And what can I do to really help? In the biggest way I can muster (meaning more than simply me in my personal life – but being public about it to cause a ripple effect), utilizing my strengths and capabilities to their fullest – what is best for me to do?

Perhaps its easier to first tackle what I shouldn’t do. Either based on what I’m not as good at as other known things, or I am not as drawn to (which matters in a long game plan as this!). It also must offer a glimmer of a guiding light. Feeling the unknown of this website is already throwing my poor mind for a loop. I’d like to grasp an idea of a concrete solution to offer the world at some point here.

So, if doing a little of everything is known to get me nowhere, what can I shed? What isn’t my fight to take? What battle do I step back from?

Legislation is an easy one. Fighting government agencies isn’t direct enough for me. Its big impact, or has the potential to be with enough fight in the middle, but it proposes issues. Like, not spending a life with the wildlife I seek to protect and empower. And instead, its a life of people, arguments, indoors. Not my place, not my fight.

Being a writer, an author, to simply and only spread awareness isn’t right either. I need to do more than blog. This is close enough to mention other ways folks create awareness – I don’t see myself protesting in groups with signs. For the same reason as the above.

This already shows me that I don’t want a life of only indirectly helping wildlife. A recent epiphany from this post.

I keep thinking about Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, first seeing their work in Born to Be Wild. I remember thinking that was the ultimate dream come true: to not wait for others to help, to make bigger long-term change, but to spend my time/energy on who needed the help today. Caring for orphaned wildlife was a thought that never crossed my mind. What had, instead, was the wrong done when poachers would kill adult elephants for the husks. But there this organization was, to help the babies left alone because of those awful acts. That is a problem needing addressing – right now. A very real problem, but not the obvious one.

And it’s the concept, this pivot of my mind (perhaps because I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t thought as compassionately as I thought I did), that has never left me since. There’s a pull to help in this way. A very direct manner.

However, the answer for me strangely is not the simple and quick one that comes to mind next. It is not that I ought to open an animal rescue or what may be considered quite similar. That isn’t quite right for me.

Again, I want to help directly (so that’s in the thick of the details), but I want big impact (is that simply the need of added awareness, storytelling and sharing knowledge as I learn?). Could it be an animal sanctuary + a well developed blog? Would that feel like the right path for now?

Not quite. I need to tackle both helping as well as fighting and preventing the bad at the same time.

Animal sanctuary, blog and design studio to do what we must – but better? Its still the closest I’ve latched onto. But is it too much?

I won’t neglect the ideal of directing helping nature and animals. That’s too close to my heart. How? I don’t know. I realize I must start small, its the only way to actually grow. I shouldn’t try to leap. So, I ought to do my best here on the land and share my findings as things improve. Direct helping and added awareness.

Larger impact occurs through further teaching, immersing in the right community and then perhaps offering my people an alternative way to do something (or more things) in life to further help. It doesn’t need to be me simply sharing what I do, but how others can do it too.

If I do craft a proper design studio, I need to ensure it remains highly focused towards whats essential: conservation efforts. Or else I’ll succumb to busy work. Learn more about how its evolving on the about page.

I want to be singular. Focused, an expertise in a niche. And I don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start over. I want to use what I know, find confidence in what I’m good at and utilize it for good.

That’s what all of this is about. I want to make moves strategically, intelligently. I don’t want to waste time. Though, I’m learning now that some of that means I must experiment. Because I’ll only know if I’m on the right path if I take steps. And I’ll only learn more of what is right for me if I do the same. Finding the right path means I need to make inevitable pivots.

And that, I need to continue reminding myself, means I need to keep thinking – keep pushing – keep documenting – my progress. So, for anyone reading now or in the future, thanks. It’s a vulnerable time as I do my best to work through my weaknesses, roadblocks, and inevitably am forced to carry the baggage of what I wish I could leave behind for this journey.. But there’s no more time to waste. And I need to do better to chase the dream as I finally start to see it form. Its scary to put my inner thoughts out there, contradictions and making a big deal of the little things and all, but it’s the way I must push forward. It’s my way.

Here’s to baby steps. And furthering the thought.


With a BFA in Interior Architecture with 10+ years of experience, working with large architecture firms and as Head of Design within design/build companies, Ashley now narrows her focus towards alternative dwellings, adaptive reuse, natural buildings and a study of materials with a hyper-sustainable lifestyle. This is all to ensure homes are in balance with our natural surroundings and to further the fight against habitat loss for wildlife, because one home no longer needs to be sacrificed for another. She asks us all to, ‘Adopt the Alternative.’

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