Understanding Steve Irwin’s Legacy Of Conservation And Education

09.04.16 3 years ago 3 Comments

Ten years ago today, Steve Irwin died after being stung by a sting ray. If you’re here, chances are, you were a fan, and more than likely, you’re thinking, ‘ten years? Can it really have been that long ago?’ It doesn’t seem it. It doesn’t seem like an entire decade has gone by since the conservationist, zookeeper, television star, documentarian, and beloved family man last appeared live on our TVs — his beaming face radiating in the joy of shared discovery. There’s a reason it doesn’t seem that long. A reason that it seems like only yesterday.

When I first heard Steve Irwin had died I was at the YMCA. I was running on a treadmill, listening to music and I looked up at the bank of tv screens. One had the news on with a headline that read something like “Crocodile Hunter Killed by Stingray”. I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a mistake. I cried right there, on a treadmill in the middle of the Tacoma YMCA.

-Kay Cochran, Zoological Aide, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

People talk about remembering big events in history. Everyone who is old enough remembers where they were when JFK died. I remember exactly where I was when I learned Steve Irwin died.

– Nicole Rambo, Keeper, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Steve Irwin may have died on September 4th, 2006, but his passion for wildlife and the world’s biodiversity did not. It ignited, burned, and spread in the hearts of the people who grew up watching The Crocodile Hunter, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and The Croc Files. It was fanned by the appreciation of the conservationists who recognized his contributions to the cause. It continues to be kindled in the work done by Australia Zoo, the zoo founded and run by Irwin’s family, and Steve’s very own Wildlife Warriors conservation organization.

Ten years is a long time. In ten years, there are doubtless friends we’ve fallen out of touch with, once vivid memories that have faded, plans we’ve dropped or revised, opinions once strongly held, that we’ve flipped on completely. Some of us are entirely different people than we were ten years ago. Ten years is long enough to have forgotten who we used to be, or who we wanted to be, or who someone else was that once mattered to us. But ten measly years haven’t diminished Steve Irwin, or his legacy. Widely and fondly remembered by animal lovers across the planet, Steve’s influence and inspiration are alive in the world, evident in all people focused on protecting and conserving the Earth’s wildlife.

Let’s look back at some of the reasons Steve Irwin continues to be such a vibrant presence, a decade after his passing:

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