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I love poetry and caring, and the thoughtfulness of kind words. I love waking up each day knowing that the subtle magic of life stretches before me.

Working for wildlife

and wild places

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Among my offerings, I curate awareness displays and exhibitions, as well as projects that focus on conceptual artworks within a broader environmental narrative.

Having taken a course in creative design in London in the early 90s, I now create my own materials, and this writing / design / photography combination forms the basis of my work.

Through my work as a nature writer and visual storyteller, I share stories to help deepen our awareness and understanding of the beautiful living world and our ever-changing place in it, so that we can reimagine a way of being that is gentler and more considerate of nature.

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart..

JANE AUSTEN

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With our publisher Pippa Parker (centre) from Penguin Random House, at the launch of our latest field guide

Review - http://www.learntodivetoday.co.za/blog/category/dive-travel/south-africa/knysna/

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Snapshots over the years...

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With Dr Ian Player at the Wilderness Leadership School in Cape Town

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With Archbishop Emeritus Tutu at the launch of our Sacred Ocean Campaign

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With Dr Goodall, discussing speaking out for wildlife who do not have a voice

A lifelong interest in wildlife and wild places has been the foundation of my professional life. Since 2003, I have run the Oceans of Africa programme and the Wild Neighbours initiative. Project milestones have included our global Sacred Ocean Campaign with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, speaking out for whales and the sanctity of their ocean habitats; Windows on the Oceans with the Two Oceans Aquarium, supported by Jonathan Oppenheimer; and Mapungubwe Revisited in partnership with WWF-SA in support of their rhino conservation work.

My Reconnecting with Nature displays, with their compelling narratives and imagery, were installed in the nine National Botanical Gardens of South Africa, where they offer visitors a chance to deepen their experience while adventuring outdoors in nature.

Since my childhood, I have been deeply interested in wilderness and the spiritual dimensions of a true wilderness experience. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Vance G. Martin of the The WILD Foundation in the US, creating the Wilderness Visionaries display, which was launched at the WILD9 World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico. I also had the privilege of working with Dr Ian Player, who founded the wilderness movement in southern Africa, and I was so grateful when he wrote the foreword to my book Connecting with Wilderness.

Words, poems, and writing about nature are my life passions. Over the years, I have written articles for various publications, including Africa Geographic and Cape etc, and my journal, Cape Envirolink, sponsored by The Table Mountain Fund, shared important news and information about greening issues in the city. Our book Watching Whales and Dolphins, published by Penguin Random House, is filled with Noel's scientific illustrations and anecdotal observations of cetaceans from his many years working for whales and the protection of marine environments.

I have known the Ashton’s for many years and have always admired their intimate knowledge of the region, their passion for its wonderful whales and dolphins, and their remarkable efforts to drum up urgently needed support for conservation efforts to look after them.

MARK CARWARDINE, BBC PRESENTER

As a child, I grew up amongst the beautiful fynbos mountains of the Cape and  have always lived on the urban edge, where nature has been my lifelong inspiration. In recent years, I have been drawn back to England and now swallow between Cape Town and the Cotswolds.

Having grown up in a home where my parents have a great love for classical music, I too fill my life with music and the soft touch of poems and written words. Listening to Maria João Pires playing Mozart, Irina Lankova playing Schubert’s Impromptu, or Daniel Barenboim’s soulful interpretation of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and working with Irish composer John Field’s Nocturnes playing quietly in the background are, for me, one of life’s true pleasures.

My path has taken me on journeys to Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the Kalahari desert and long trips into the Cederberg mountains to study ancient rock art sites. These experiences deepened my understanding of intuitive connections to the land, and this awareness is carried with me whenever I venture into wild landscapes.

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I learned to walk in the footsteps of the custodians of the first stories, the San peoples who also followed these sandy tracks across the landscapes of time, and in the silence I listened for their whisper in the grasses, and sought their way of connecting to the infinity of now...

Noel Ashton

SOCIAL MEDIA

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Peace is a practice   
  not a hope

Over time, and having worked within many nature awareness initiatives, I have learned that it is through our emotional bonding with the land that we develop an ethos of care and compassion for the natural world, at a time when so much of all that is wild and free is being lost, perhaps forever.

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This is their land too...

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