We are mourning the loss of lab alumnus, Ashley Block (C’13). Ashley spent the summer with us as a Graduate Fellow. On September 12, Ashley was struck and killed while biking in Athens, GA, by an impaired driver.
Ashley graduated summa cum laude from Sewanee in 2013 with an honors degree in Ecology and Biodiversity. Ashley’s honors research with Dr. Evans focused on the effect of agricultural legacies on forest succession at the King Farm on the Domain. She received the Harry C. Yeatman award for her achievements in biology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. While at Sewanee, Ashley participated in numerous extracurricular activities. Her bright and caring personality and strong work ethic touched the Sewanee community.
After graduating, Ashley worked at Walt Disney World in conservation and management. Later, she worked as a scientist with the environmental consulting firm Aerostar SES. In 2015, she began graduate school at the University of Georgia in the Integrative Conservation and Anthropology (ICON) program. She planned to study land use decisions on genetically modified crops in Brazil.
Ashley returned to Sewanee this past summer to work in the lab as a Graduate Fellow. She resurveyed the King Farm vegetation plots and worked with Dr. Evans to develop a publication from her undergraduate honors thesis. As part of her ICON program, she also investigated the possibility of establishing a Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance by contacting botanists throughout the state. She served as an amazing mentor and role model to the summer interns working in the Herbarium.
Ashley will always hold a special place in our hearts. She was so full of energy and such joy to be around. We will never forget the impact she made on Sewanee and on all who knew her.