Jan Hamber knew from an early age she wanted to be a naturalist. In addition to being an avid bird watcher since the 1950s, she began volunteer work at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in 1959 and was subsequently hired as an employee in 1969, the same year she helped clean birds after a catastrophic oil spill.
In the 70s she found her life's work: protecting and saving the condor. At first she was working with noted naturalist Dick Smith, who needed help tracking condors. And then what started as a volunteer effort turned into a life long passion and Jan has been credited with playing an active role in saving the species. Where there were 27 condors there are now 230 flying free in the wild and a total of 410 known individuals.
Hamber's dream was to be an outdoor naturalist and she still works at the museum as a condor archivist. In her own words "My goal has always been to save the species" and for that we honor her as a hero who has dedicated her time over the past 40 years to help ensure the survival of the condor.
Do you know someone drawn to nature and doing good deeds? Nominate them for next week's AmericanTown's Hero.