Jay BantaJay Banta

My career with the Service began in 1978. Not long out of college at Humboldt State, I was hired as a seasonal bio tech for the steel shot studies that were kicking off at Tulelake NWR. I worked that position for almost 6 month and thought I had died and gone to heaven!

I followed that seasonal bio tech job at the then Benson Wetlands District in Minnesota (1979). It was quite a birding and cultural experience for a western boy who had never been further east than western Kansas. We built a lot of fence and got in a few square mile counts as well.

I followed that us with a return to the Klamath Basin complex for another winter bio tech position working on the hunt program and doing a lot of avian cholera clean up.

After that it was off to the wilds of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge for a summer seasonal maintenance aide job(1980). We developed a lot of springs that summer, build a fair amount of fence and I came to love the big refuge that so few ever really see.

It was back once again to Klamath Basin for one more winter seasonal bio tech position. I fondly remember doing coordinated bald eagle counts in the Basin when we would see collectively over 600 birds!

The following two summers (81-82) found me at a meeting with destiny when I worked as a bio tech at the incredible Fish Springs NWR. It was unlike any place I had ever spent time and I was captivated.

Following these appointments I spend nearly 7 years working in permanent positions as a NPS Park Ranger and as a Wildlife Biologist with the Department of the Army.

In 1989 my dream came true when I was selected to be the Assistant Manager in charge at the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. I arrived to almost no office, no staff, and wondered “What will I do here?” But after almost two wild years of doing LE on the Havasu Complex and working to restore habitat on the Bill Williams, I thought “How will I possibly get it all done?”

1n 1991, I experienced another career milestone when I was selected to be the Project Leader for the Fish Springs NWR. During the 9 years since I had left this most isolated duty station from my bio tech days, it had not been far from my mind. I returned to paradise and never left! I spent 19 years there before retiring from federal service in 2010.