The DeSoto and Boyer Chute national wildlife refuges are planning an open house Friday to honor employee Steve Van Riper, who is retiring after more than 39 years.
The open house is from 2 to 4 p.m. at the DeSoto visitor center. The public is invited.
Van Riper started his career at Aransas and Matagorda Island national wildlife refuges on the Texas coast in 1978. He also worked at the Tishomingo, the Cabeza Prieta and the Laguna Atascosa refuges before starting at DeSoto and Boyer Chute about 22 years ago.
“Highlights during my career include working with endangered whooping cranes and hunting wild hogs along the coast of Texas, chasing endangered antelope and desert bighorn sheep by helicopter in Arizona, radio collaring endangered ocelots in southern Texas, working along the coast in Mexico with the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle program and finally witnessing the migration of snow geese right here at DeSoto,” Van Riper said. “The opportunity to travel in my work to remote locations in Alaska, several locations in Mexico, details in Washington, D.C., Boston, California, the Florida Keys and Gulf oil spill cleanup in Louisiana has made for a career to remember.”
Van Riper said he will miss the people he has worked with the most. He plans to remain in the area to enjoy his home in the Loess Hills and time with family.
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