South Central Regional Center
Steven Bender was born in Emporia, Kansas, where he later received his degree in Biology and Secondary Education from Emporia State University. After graduation, Steve took a job teaching high school biology in central Texas. After three years of teaching, Steve went back to graduate school where he received a Masters of Biology from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University).
Toward the end of his graduate career Steve took a position with Plateau Integrated Land and Wildlife Management (Plateau); a management firm focused on helping private landowners with their wildlife management needs. By the end of his time at Plateau, Steve was president and chief operating officer of the firm.
Steve left Plateau in late 2003 to take a job with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) where he worked with TPWD staff and conservation partners to draft the Texas Wildlife Action Plan. This plan was the first non-game strategy for the State of Texas and was written in response to a requirement by Congress for such a plan so the State of Texas could continue to receive State Wildlife Grant funds. The State Wildlife Grant program is an allocation of funds to each state and territory specifically for funding traditional under-funded non-game species. In addition to working on the wildlife action plan, Steve became lead administrator for the implementation of that plan, coordinator of the State Wildlife Grant Program and the coordinator of the Landowner Incentive Program for TWPD.
Steve is now the regional representative for National Wildlife Federation's South Central Regional Center in Austin, Texas, where he will work with the Arkansas, Kansas, and Iowa affiliates.