For more than 37 years, Steve Hein has forged bonds of trust with social and nonsocial animals in his care, including Georgia Southern’s mascot – a bald eagle named Freedom. Using Freedom, a hawk named Clyde, and his own dog Coop to demonstrate, Steve shows how nature teaches us that trust involves vulnerability and risk.

Steve Hein brings his passion for falconry, artistic talent, business skills and a tremendous sense of fun to his work at Georgia Southern University’s Center for Wildlife Education, where he has served as the director since the Center’s inception in 1991. He earned a degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University and holds federal and state licenses as a Master Falconer, practicing this ancient art with tremendous enthusiasm. An award-winning wildlife artist, he received the Georgia Governor’s “Artist of Excellence” award and was honored three times as the Georgia Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year. He is the past president of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau; completed Leadership Bulloch, Leadership Southeast Georgia and Leadership Georgia; and is a past chair of Leadership Southeast Georgia. He also served two terms as a council member on the Bulloch County Board of Education. He and his wife have four adult children and four grandchildren.