PERRYSVILLE — Brian Banbury of Perrysville, the Loudonville native who has worked with the Ohio Division of Wildlife for nearly three decades, has received a promotion, now serving as the executive administrator of information and education in the division.
The Division of Wildlife is part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Banbury, who started with the Division as Mohican State Park naturalist in 1993, said the enthusiasm of new Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine "to leave a legacy in natural areas during his tenure" got him excited. He wanted to be a part of that effort.
"I was very happy in my previous position, as a wildlife investigator across District 3 of the Division, which is most of northeast Ohio," Banbury said. "But when I heard and saw the work and plans of Mary Mertz, new director of ODNR; Steve Gray, the assistant director and former chief of the Division of Wildlife; and Kendra Wecker, new wildlife chief, I felt strongly that I wanted to be a part of that team, which I saw having the ability to accomplish some very important and good things."
Banbury ascended to his new position last September. In it, he leads four sections, each headed by a supervisor. These sections are:
— Graphics, the design and printing of all Division publications, including Wild Ohio magazine, public information releases and educational publications.
— Communications, which includes news releases, the writers for Wild Ohio, and all of the writing, editing and publication of information disseminated by the Division.
— Outdoor skills, which includes hunter and aquatic education programs, and operation of shooting ranges across the state. This section is in the process of developing, Banbury reported, "a new archery range across Ohio 3 from the Mohican Class A Campground that should be ready this summer. A naturalist will staff the range, and teach basic bow hunting skills to park visitors." Another program in this area is H2Ohio, a water quality initiative designed to curb phosphorous buildup in Lake Erie. "I believe this initiative will really do something about this serious problem," Banbury said.
— And customer engagement, which includes Division marketing, and conducting of birding programs.
In the position, Banbury said he works much in conjunction with DeWine, "who plans," he said, "being much involved, for instance, in the upcoming Fish Ohio Days, which are conducted in the Western Basin of Lake Erie, and in different inland locations.
"The governor also is very excited about the state taking control of nearly 38,000 acres of former American Electric Power (AEP) property in southeast Ohio, land which is a great fishing area and which will be utilized for special mentored hunts," he added.
"The governor also will participate in the major Bird Ohio event at Magee Marsh on Lake Erie, between Toledo and Port Clinton in May, an event that attracts thousands of birders from all over the world," he continued.
Banbury is a 1992 graduate of Loudonville High School, and attended Hocking College in Nelsonville, where he earned a degree in recreation and wildlife management.
He started with the Division after receiving that two-year degree, and worked as a naturalist at Mohican and nearby Malabar Farm State Park for six years.
Then, in 1998, he was appointed wildlife officer for Trumbull County, north of Youngstown, where he served for six years before becoming wildlife officer in his home Ashland County in 2004. He served in that post for seven years, and then was the District 3 wildlife investigator from 2011 to 2019.
Banbury and wife Amy, his high school sweetheart, live in Perrysville. They have two adult children, Hayden, who lives in Perrysville and works at Step2, and McKenna (Brice) Bradley, in Loudonville, who have given the Banburys their first grandchild, Eleanor, now a year old.