Staff Spotlight, Ben Bandor
Park Services Specialist, Ben Bandor
Ben, a first-generation Floridian was born in Orlando, FL, and grew up in Gotha, FL. His parents moved to Florida from North East Indiana several years before he was born. Growing up he has always loved the outdoors, with his parents and sister he remembers canoeing the Wekiva River, tobogganing in the snow up north, and visiting zoos and historical sites in different states.
Ben chose to pursue a job with the Florida Park Service because he loves being outdoors and believes in the concept of conserving natural areas to protect wildlife and for people to enjoy. What he likes the most about being outdoors is being barefoot and feeling the many outdoor textures on his feet as well as climbing trees.
Ben's journey in the Florida Park Service started as a weekend cleanup OPS, but now he is a resource management-oriented Park Services Specialist. Ben is a boss, a burn boss that is- at the Wekiva River Basin State Parks. He spends a lot of his time on tractors prepping fire lines within the basin. They conduct an average of 25-30 burns a year in the basin of various sizes and complexities.
Every once in awhile he also gives resource management based programs for visitor groups of all ages. Over the past few years, he has been working to become a better wildland fire class instructor. S-130, S-190, Florida Fuels and Weather, and Southern Area Engine Academy are some of the wildland fire trainings that he enjoys instructing.
It’s easy for Ben to get up and go to work every day because he has always liked his jobs with the Florida Park Service and over the years, has developed a true passion for Prescribed Fire. Leading the Wekiva River Basin Burn Program is an inspiration in and of itself.
Central Florida is his home so he believes destiny brought him to Wekiwa Springs State Park. Lastly, what he enjoys the most about his job is being out in the natural areas, seeing and being a part of the change. Ben states, "Fire changes landscapes, and I see more Sherman Fox Squirrels and Bobwhite Quail than ever before and it's rewarding to be a part of that".