Steve O’Neil is from Hendersonville, North Carolina. He spent his early years chasing snakes, lizards and salamanders all over the mountains of North Carolina. During his college years Steve studied wildlife and fisheries management and recreation management as well as zooarchaeology.
Steve has worked in many interesting positions at many well known private, state and national parks, private inns, camps and farms some of which include: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Hammocks Beach State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Falling Creek Camp for Boys, Flat Rock Nature Canter, Little Saint Simons Island Inn and now Earthshine Mountain Lodge. His job titles have included seasonal park ranger, trail ranger, interpretive naturalist, camp counselor, nuisance black bear, wild boar and rattlesnake trapper and aircraft mechanic assistant.
Steve’s passions are reptiles and wildlife conservation and public nature education and he is the Executive Director of Earthshine Nature Programs and the Earthshine Nature Center. 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 was influenced by Marlin Perkins and Jim on Wild Kingdom, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, 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, Alan Cameron, and most recently Captain Paul Watson of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Steve has conducted hundreds of nature and wildlife presentations to thousands of children and adults over the years. He has lead many camper 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 keeping track of not only the several turtles and snakes he is following with radio telemetry at Earthshine Lodge, but also for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Diversity program monitoring reptiles and amphibians and now bats.