About The Botanical Ark

- Saving rainforests since the 1970s
- Home to The Botanical Ark Retreat

About The Botanical Ark

- Saving rainforests since the 1970s
- Home to The Botanical Ark Retreat

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Alan & Susan Carle biography

 

This page tells the story of how Alan and Susan met each other as children in New York State and ended up in Australia.

 

Alan

Alan CarleI spent the first 19 years of my life in the Catskill Mountains, near Woodstock, New York State. My band played ‘in Woodstock’ – not to be confused with ‘at Woodstock’. From the age of ten, I knew that Australia was my true home, and was determined to reach her shores early in my life. I’ve been here since 1970 and my youthful judgment goes unchallenged.

 

 

 

 

Susan

Susan Carle portrait, of The Botanical Ark RetreatI grew up in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York City in the norwegian children’s home. Every summer, a bus would take all of us children up to the Catskill Mountains. It was on one of these trips, when I was about ten-years-old, that I first met Alan.
As a teenager I remember Alan talking of going to Australia. When he left we kept in touch.
 

 

Alan

Alan CarleI arrived in Sydney, Australia, on a one-way ticket in 1970 with eighty cents in my pocket. I headed north to the Great Barrier Reef where I had dreams of building an underwater house. I studied marine biology at the Townsville campus of James Cook University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan

Susan Carle portrait, of The Botanical Ark RetreatI always had dreams of traveling the world. I attended Brooklyn College studying anthropology for a year. Deciding to have a break from school, in 1975 with a six month visa, I traveled to Australia to visit Alan. This was to begin a life of excitement and adventure and a new family.

 

 

 

 

 

Alan & Susan Carle

Alan and or Susan (1 of 5)Independently, we developed a deep appreciation of the natural beauty, wealth, and wonders of the planet.

It was plans by the Queensland Premier of the day, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, that led us on our present path. Bjelke-Petersen wanted to drill for oil on the Great Barrier Reef and chop down Queensland’s rainforests for woodchips. Alan left university to work full time for the Cape York Conservation Council in an effort to save these national icons.

Millions of people within Australia and around the world fought to protect the reef and rainforest. “Thankfully”, says Alan, “We won.” And today, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are world heritage listed areas and promoted as, “Where the rainforest meets the reef”, and is probably one of the main reasons why you are or will be visiting this beautiful region.

 

Further reading

You may also be interested in reading about how we found the land for The Botanical Ark, or about our plant collecting around the world, or how we are trying to help save the world’s rainforests, or our aspirations for The Botanical Ark, or some of our travel tales.

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