The world lost one of its most beloved conservationists and TV personalities in 2006, after Steve Irwin, the iconic star of The Crocodile Hunter, was tragically killed by a stingray.
But his legacy has lived on, both through the fans who grew up watching his wildlife series, and his family, who has kept up his important conservation work at the Australia Zoo, working to protect native wildlife.
Both of his children, Bindi and Robert, have followed in his footsteps as animal conservationists and media personalities — and it already seems like the youngest member of the Irwin family is already following in her grandfather’s footsteps.
Fans of the Irwin family celebrated last year after Bindi gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby girl named Grace Warrior Irwin Powell. In her first year of life, baby Grace has already proven to be a true “Wildlife Warrior,” demonstrating a real love for animals and nature.
Today, Grace celebrates her first birthday — and the Irwin family has gone all out to celebrate, complete with some amazing animals and a tribute to her late grandpa Steve.
On Instagram, Bindi shared a post about her “graceful warrior.”
“One year of watching your beautiful heart bloom into the most extraordinary person,” Bindi wrote. “Grace, you have been an old soul from the very beginning. It is the greatest blessing to be your mama. I love you eternally, unconditionally and infinitely.”
Bindi’s husband Chandler Powell also shared a post celebrating his daughter’s first birthday.
“It’s been one year since you came into our lives and yet it feels like you’ve been with us forever. I never knew I had so much love to give,” he wrote.
It’s hard to believe how fast Grace has grown up, and it feels like just yesterday Bindi announced her arrival into the world.
But the new parents have been sharing many updates about Grace over the past year, and fans have seen how much she’s already developed a love for animals. Photos have shown the baby meeting animals like koalas, and her family says she really has a natural bond with wildlife.
“I think she’s got that determination that Steve had and that connection with wildlife,” Terri Irwin, Steve’s widow and Bindi’s mother, told Entertainment Tonight of her baby granddaughter. “Because it is weird to see animals just gravitate to her.”
“So she’ll go out in the morning in the stroller, and all the kangaroos just gather around her like they’re having a meeting.”
She says that the baby is always reaching out to pet the animals, even ones that are a little too dangerous to interact with yet — a fearlessness she shares with her late grandfather. “That’s Steve all over,” Terri said.
And the animals love her right back.
“Oh my word, the koalas … literally climb out of their trees to come see her,” she told ET.
So of course, when the family gathered at the Australia Zoo to celebrate Grace’s first birthday, they had to invite a few friendly animals.
Video of Grace’s birthday bash shows animals like turtles and echidnas showing up to celebrate.
The birthday gathering included both the couple’s families, including Bindi’s brother Robert. They went all-out with beautiful decorations and a tiered cake.
It’s safe to say that Steve Irwin would’ve been very proud of his first grandchild, though he tragically died long before he could meet her.
But Steve was still part of the birthday celebration in spirit: the family had a large photo of him on display.
Though he died long before she was born, Grace is still reportedly familiar with her late, famous granddad.
“This sweetheart has been watching her ‘Grandpa Crocodile’ on the projector at our camp here on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve,” Bindi wrote in a sweet social media post on the anniversary of Steve’s death. “She lights up when she sees him on screen.”
“I wish with all my heart that Dad could hug my beautiful girl. It’s been 15 years since he passed away. I hold on to the thought that he’s her guardian angel now, watching over the most special part of my life, Grace Warrior.”
Bindi says her daughter has been developing well over the past year, and can already say words like “mama” and “dada.”
“At nearly one, Grace has reached that stage where she’s crawling like it’s an Olympic sport and almost walking,” she recently told Stellar Magazine, per the Daily Mail.
Happy 1st birthday to Grace Irwin! We know the late Steve Irwin would’ve been very proud, and it’s clear you’re already growing into a true “Wildlife Warrior.”
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