The Trumpeter Swans lost a wonderful friend this year, the man who gave us the crucial foundation for the past 65 years of swan conservation and restoration efforts.
He was a personal friend and mentor for more than 36 years. He strongly supported our work here in Washington State. He was the first, and a charter member of NWSCA and encouraged us to keep up our efforts for swan conservation.
When Winston Banko was born in 1920, the last pairs of nesting Trumpeters in the lower 48 had recently been discovered in Yellowstone. By 1932, when Winston was already an avid naturalist, efforts to save the last known nesting Trumpeters were in their infancy. Winston took over management of Red Rock Lakes NWR in 1948 and spent years researching the Trumpeters and assembling all of the known historical and ecological information. His tireless work and devotion to swan conservation gave future generations the essential knowledge base for their restoration when his monograph was first published in 1960, The Trumpeter Swan. This book is still in wide circulation having been reprinted several times over the decades.
Right up to his unexpected death last week on March 16th, 2016, Win remained vitally interested in Trumpeter Swan conservation issues and loved to hear of the progress being made across the continent. He was so very happy to know that the swans were returning to so much of their historic range.