Terri with Bindi: 'Good parenting is really simple'
TERRI Irwin is a passionate wildlife warrior, environmental activist, businesswoman, documentary maker and zoologist.
But at the heart of it all, the 50-year-old is a devoted mother of two.
She wants to make the world a better place not only for the greater good, but so that Robert, 11, and Bindi, 16, can grow old in the "beautiful country that we have had for generations".
At Australia Zoo nestled on 450 hectares in Beerwah, Terri is comfortable in her own skin, content and relaxed.
She refers to her life as "blessed" and her work as a "privilege".
She beams as she answers questions beside her blossoming teenage daughter. The pair riff off each other, share in-jokes and laughter.
They are well-rehearsed in front of the camera but there are moments of candid sincerity.
They sing a ditty running through all 50 American states in alphabetical order, complete with synchronised claps.
Bindi flushes with teenaged terror as Terri says, "I know something about you that no one else knows".
The tension subsides as we learn that Bindi can't wink. She hides it by blinking both eyes, while quickly turning her head.
Bindi Irwin: Girl out of the jungle
Already famous before her birth, Bindi Irwin -- the daughter of the late Croc Hunter Steve - will turn 17 this year.
She has a Daytime Emmy Award, a variety of television shows to her name and is the international face of the family's Australia Zoo wildlife park.
The "normal" aspects of teen life - like being frivolous on social media-- seem exaggerated almost beyond comprehension.
Her every pout or pondering is followed by almost 200,000 people on Instagram.
A black and white photo of her as an infant with her late father was 'liked' more than 20,000 times since it was posted a week ago.
On Twitter, she has another 88,000 fans.
Bindi knows not to expose herself to social media on a whim.
A few poorly-chosen words online or a questionable selfie would be guaranteed to end up splattered on the front pages of tabloid magazines and newspapers.
Before they leave her fingertips, each inspiring quote, self-portrait or idle thought passes the eyes of her family. She avoids the toxic jibes so commonplace at the intersection of celebrities and fans.
"I always have my mum and my brother with me and we always talk about what is going to be posted out on to social media," Bindi says.
"I think it is a great platform to be able to spread my message and I never read any negative comments.
"I think that is a message for every teenager or adult on social media, don't read the negativity, surround yourself with positivity, people who love you and support you and keep true to who you are.
"I know sometimes I will sit down and I will talk to mum about what I am going to post and how I should word a specific quote and it is a great way to use your voice."
Bindi on Steve, and how she remembers him.
This public exposure is nothing new for Bindi.
Her father Steve's love of the camera and gregarious nature meant he was often filming his daughter, including her birth.
His obsession with recording was a heaven-sent for the family after he was killed on September 4, 2006.
Steve was fatally struck in the chest by the barb of a stingray while filming a documentary series.
Bindi was 8 and brother Robert was 2 at the time.
"Since I can remember, my life has been captured on camera," she says.
"I was literally filmed being born (she laughs and looks at Terri) … that was exciting,"
"It can be a great blessing, for instance when Dad passed away, it was a really hard time for us and because we were so young so memories tend to fade.
"But the great thing about our lives being captured on film is that we could just press rewind and play and there you go.
"There is your childhood growing up with Dad, right in front of your eyes."
Bindi wrote and read a eulogy to her father in front of thousands, with an estimated 300 million watching around the world.
Their bond was such that Steve once said, "I just want to be co-star to my daughter".
Terri on becoming an Australian citizen and following Steve to Queensland.
SPEAKING of her late husband, Terri has no hesitation in recalling the appeal which first drew her to him, then to Australia.
I asked whether she feels a clash of loyalties between her American birthplace - she was born in Oregon - and her new Australian home since becoming a citizen in 2009.
"I think when I met Steve, I would have lived with him anywhere on planet Earth," she says.
"But I am incredibly blessed that he lived here in Australia, in Queensland and on the Sunshine Coast.
"It is ridiculously beautiful and special and there is such a sense of community and pride in the area and I love it here, so it was amazing becoming a citizen.
"It was actually more emotional than my wedding day.
"It was really unexpectedly special, you know, I knew it would be wonderful but it was just over the top and that's something that I will always remember and carry with me."
Terri on being a parent: It's really simple.
Beyond the supervision of the zoo and the tracts of land acquired for protection, Terri is outspoken about wildlife protection but does her political lobbying in private.
She encourages others to spread the word of environmental activism, and to support those politicians who feel the same - but she will not publicly support any party's quest for power.
Terri knows that whatever the shade of government, a gentle conversation has more potential than a public spat.
Delicate political negotiations are not Terri's only strong suit.
She readily offers some motherly advice after learning her interviewer will be a first-time father come July.
I ask what makes a good parent.
"Because you asked the question, you're already there," Terri tells me.
"It's just wanting to do the best you can for your kids and loving them. That's it.
"It's really simple.
"I think the meaning of life secret that everyone is trying to find is unconditional love. That's what it is.
"If you just do that. Whether it's your beautiful new baby, or your wife for that matter, you're on a win."
It's a message she must have told her children from time to time.
It is immortalised on Bindi's Instagram and Twitter.
No doubt with mum's approval.
This piece is the part of the series, From The Heart: Aussie Icons Speak Out from Australian Regional Media.
Tomorrow's edition will feature Brian Kerle, considered by many as the man who could bring the Brisbane Bullets back to the NBL