Paul Banta joined the Southwest Charter staff team in fall 2010. Since childhood, Paul longed for open and wild spaces to explore. Ten years ago, he answered Oregon’s call. He spent the better part of three years living outdoors mentoring at-risk youth as he taught them life skills, and survival skills in the high desert. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada was a time of reflection and rite of passage. Afterward, Paul decided to devote his life to education. Since then, he has earned his M. Ed. from PSU, spent years volunteering for the Friends of Tryon Creek, and worked as a State Park Naturalist and Interpreter. In the past, he substituted in various small charter schools around Portland, and further fostered his passion for ethnobotany and animal tracking.