I love being outside. The earth is a gnarly place and I enjoy spending time in it. I grew up in a neighborhood that bordered the Eno River so I spent my time after school and on the weekends walking the trails, playing in the water, and searching for wildlife.
When I was inside, I watched animal planet, discovery channel and of course Steve Irwin.
I was only 8 years old when he died and didn't really comprehend what happened. When I look back at the accident, it overwhelms me with sadness that this incredibly generous person who loved the wild - died while completing his work.
For a long time, I could not figure out what I was meant to do. It seemed that everyone around me was either really smart, or athletic, or popular, or had some sort of talent that set them apart. Sure, I had fun facts about myself, but I felt like I hadn't found what made me - me.
I must've just been overlooking what my whole life had been themed around, I mean I spent my time walking on Eno River trails, going to summer camp, working at the Sea Turtle Hospital, watching animal planet, hugging trees, doubling science courses each semester, and researching marine life.
It wasn't until I took my AP Environmental Science class in high school that I realized I wanted to teach children about this.
When I was 15, I went to Sea Turtle Camp. It was on the coast of North Carolina, centered in Topsail where I worked with injured and sick sea turtles by feeding them, cleaning them and learning about turtle veterinary medicine processes and then educated tourists on the importance of the hospital. I loved doing this program because it really got me out in the field.
I could read all day on how the earth and it's natural resources. This planet is incredible and something we need to save.
Now where does this tie back into Steve?
Steve Irwin loved the wild. He wasn't afraid of it.
A big part of environmental science is the unknown. This field is extremely out of the office and in the field. It requires wearing khaki with pride and learning how to get dirty. Many parents these days contribute to the increase in child use of technology and indoor activities due to fear of danger.
They couldn't be more blind.
Danger exists within the technology we spend our time invested in. Our eyes, brains and physical bodies are constantly sitting and being dragged into a world of commercial materials. Spending time on the internet makes us more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
While I may sound like a hypocrite as I sit here writing online hoping that you will stroll upon my article and take the time to read it, and I too spend good amounts of time on the internet, I also make sure that any chance I get I go outside and spend time outdoors. It is what is important to me, and helps people gain awareness and appreciation. Spending time outside does, in fact, increase intelligence and overall happiness!
One of Steve's best quotes was:" We Don't Own the planet, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife."
He had no fears about wildlife or the unknown that the earth is. He wasn't afraid, he was appreciative.
Not to mention he was one of the coolest people around. He was from the land down under and wrangled crocodiles for a living. And when we say "crocodile hunter" we don't mean he killed, he never killed. He rescued them, which required some wrangling and some rescuing, but he never intentionally hurt the animals.
He was always excited and treated each wildlife member with respect. And for that, I respect him.
Although he is no longer with us, his family and children live on for him with the Australia Zoo bigger than ever and with the new show: "Crikey! It's the Irwin's"! ( really great show, highly recommend)
Much love Steve, maybe someday we will meet!
RIP Steve Irwin.