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Professional Background

Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam, India. This park holds two-thirds of the world's one-horned rhinoceroses.

Meeting with a few Sikhs in Bomdilla, India.

Paying it forward as a Wetland Steward in one of our nation’s most diverse neighborhoods, Rainier Beach in Seattle. The Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands  (RBUFW) is a program of the

 Seattle Tilth and Seattle’s largest urban farm.

Ashley Raquel Townes (ART), is described as "a person who never meets a stranger". She has traveled to 50+ countries on 6 continents, working, learning and researching the dynamics of culturally-specific contexts, local environmental issues, and traditional knowledge systems. Over the 12 years of travel and professional development experiences, her passion for international affairs led her to become an ethnographer, environmental practitioner, and videographer. ART has learned to take a multidimensional approach to get to the root cause of global problems. She works to solve these complex problems by holding open-dialogue sessions with affected populations, dissecting and analyzing authentic data, and investigating the on-the-ground issues. She creates in-field culturally centric informational materials, research projects, infographics, real-world curriculums and short-documentaries for diverse communities. Ashley enjoys wearing many hats and cross-sector collaborating with diverse partners to improve and enhance existing programs and projects

that focus on sustainable development. Her areas of work experience and knowledge span across a variety of disciplines in both the social and natural science realm such as: 


  • Fisheries sciences

  • Aquatic science

  • Sustainable development 

  • Environmental justice

  • International education

  • Natural resource management

  • Restoration ecology

  • Cultural ecology

  • Policy advocacy


Ashley is a Tufts University graduate with a dual B.A. in International studies and Japanese and obtained her M.A. in both Sustainable Development and International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute. She has worked as a Linguistic Data Analyst at the Linguistic Data Consortium that is hosted by both the University of Pennsylvania and United States Department of Defense, a Recycle Specialist at Cascadia Consulting Group, a Survey Fisheries Biologist at NOAA Fisheries and Environmental Technician at King County-Water and Land Resources Department.  

She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences.

Cheesing for the camera with my co-worker Rafa. Rafa is from a Kichwa community, an indigenous ethnic group, and lives and works in Ecuador's Amazon basin rainforest. We both work together on ecological restoration projects with the Huasquila Reforestation Program (HRP). The HRP is responding fiercely to the deforestation epidemic by planting diverse trees and native agricultural crops throughout Napo Province. 


NOAA Bottom Trawl Survey

Putting a rockfish's otoliths in a vile.

Holding a Pacific Sleeper Shark . It was a bycatch and was put back in the ocean immediately after being caught.

Inputing fish data on a back deck computer

Holding a Giant grenadier

Measuring a grenadier on an electric scale


King County

Collecting macroinvertebrates in a creek.

Preparing to put a sample in a sample bottle.

Taking field notes in Mount-Baker National Park

Putting in a temperature logger and securing it to an in-stream boulder

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