I put my life on the line to save animals.
I'm quite sad tonight after finding out one of my personal heroes, Steve Irwin the Crocodile hunter, has died. Killed by a freak encounter with a stingray (only 17 singray deaths worldwide in modern history).
Steve may seem like an unlikely hero, especially since I don't usually care for celebrities. Steve was the butt of many jokes and stupid accusations, but I always admired him. His Outback manners and 'dangerous' animal handling techniques can be debated. His spirit and dedication for his country and preservation of species cannot be argued.
Steve has also been a bit of a kindred spirit. I have a tendency to get over excited about things I care about. I was compared to Steve many times, and his always felt like a friend I had never met. I was voted 'teacher most likely to explode' when I taught paleo and geology classes at the Museum. I never had sleepy kids in my classes though- I was too busy hopping around, making dinosaur noises and otherwise getting way out of control.
To see someone else get as worked up, excited and downright spazzy about something they love so much is very refreshing. That kind of energy comes from the heart, and is completely genuine. Tell me, how can you spread your message if your audience doesn't feel your passion and excitement too?
I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.
Finally, Steve's shows helped me fall in love with Australia. Without his influence, I may have never seen things like this: