Staff Spotlight, Ernest Bannister
Park Ranger, Ernest Bannister
Ernest grew up with a love for being outdoors and of being around wildlife from early childhood. He can remember his Granddad taking him fishing and how much he loved just sitting by their spot, looking up at the tree canopy and relaxing without caring if they caught a fish or not.
Ernest’s early career was spent clearing land, building roads, parking lots and subdivisions and regretting demolishing the beautiful wild lands around him. He used to think about how, at some point, we will run out of this beautiful nature and then we will have made a big mistake, one that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Ernest’s concerns and care for the environment are what led him to eventually get a job as a park ranger with the Florida Park Service.
Here, Ernest has pride in helping keep the “wild Florida” healthy and safe for future generations to enjoy. He is particularly proud of being a part of the park’s fire team - having the fire lines ready to do prescribed burning or contain any wildfires that may get started. Each new day brings a fresh chance to work on a different program or project, and Ernest is ready to take on any of them.
There are several areas in Yellow Bluff that are his favorite - he would be hard pressed to choose just one. He supposes that the best answer to this question is that his favorite place to be is simply in the park. Ernest especially enjoys seeing the wildlife and their tracks as well as watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset. The next time you visit Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park or Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, look for Ernest and he would be happy to share this special place with you.