Naturalist and Executive Director, Earthshine Nature Programs Teaching Animal World for all three age groups.
Steve is from Hendersonville, North Carolina. He spent his early years chasing snakes, turtles, lizards and salamanders, all over the mountains and coasts of North Carolina. During his college years Steve studied wildlife and fisheries management, recreation management and zooarchaeology.
Steve has worked in many interesting seasonal positions at many well known private, State and National parks, private inns, camps, schools and farms, some of which include: Earthshine Discovery Center, The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Hammocks Beach State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Falling Creek Camp for Boys, Camp Illahee, Flat Rock Nature Center, and The Inn on Little Saint Simons Island.
His job titles have included park ranger, back country trail ranger, interpretive naturalist, camp counselor, nuisance black bear, wild boar and rattlesnake trapper (no snakes or bears were harmed) and aircraft mechanics assistant.
Steve now works as full time naturalist at Trails Carolina and The Academy at Trails Carolina and part time for Earthshine Discovery Center near Brevard, NC.
Steve’s passions are wildlife conservation, public nature education, and renewable energy. He was greatly inspired to follow his dream of working with wildlife in his early years first by his parents Catherine and Clayton O’Neil who gave him a love for all things natural and real. Later Steve’s passion for wildlife and science was influenced by Marlin Perkins and Jim on Wild Kingdom, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Carl Sagan, Sir David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Grizzly Adams, Marty Stouffer’s Wild America, Harry Butler Down Under, Joe Duckett, Charlie Green, Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter,” Les Stroud “Survivorman”, John Rucker, Stephen Hawking, Captain Paul Watson of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Steve has conducted hundreds of educational nature and wildlife presentations to thousands of children and adults over the years. He has lead many camp groups of youngsters and adults into forests, mountains, caves, swamps and dunes in search of all things and all places wild and wonderful. Steve is a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator specializing in reptiles and Opossums. He also puts in hundreds of volunteer hours each year keeping track of several Eastern box turtles, ratsnakes and Timber rattlesnakes via radio tags at Earthshine and Dupont State Forest and he puts in volunteer time with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Wildlife Diversity program monitoring
reptiles, amphibians and bats.
Non Profit: In 2010 Steve started Earthshine Nature Programs, a grass-roots 501c3 nonprofit organization that works to promote wildlife conservation and education through unique citizen science based wildlife conservation projects and hands-on outreach programming for camps, schools, birthday parties and special events in the WNC and upstate South Carolina areas.
Visit Earthshine Nature Programs online atwww.earthshinenature.com