Steve Hoddy is the founder of EarthQuest and started studying falconry in 1967 and was licensed by 1969 in southern California.
After attending Moorpark College majoring in wildlife management. after finishing he started a raptor rehabilitation center in the San Fernando Valley. While looking for a location to release golden eagles in his care, he came across the last known active California Condor nest site. in 1973, Over several years working closely with The United States, Fish and Wildlife Service; the remaining California Condors were captured in an attempt to breed them in captivity. While studying Andean Condors they learned the nesting habits of condors. Fish and Wildlife and other scientific organizations were successful in breeding California Condors and releasing many colonies in The Grand Canyon and other historical nesting sites in southern and central California. As of 2017 data, there are 463 California Condors living in the wild and in captivity, they are also nesting in the wild for the first time in 60 years.
A short time later he was introduced to George Toth owner of Cougar Hill; his background was in training wildlife for the film industry (lions, tigers, bears, etc). After learning many tricks of the trade, in 1976, Steve was featured in the nature movie “Their Only Chance” the movie was a fictional film loosely based on his work with a golden eagle, cougar and a coyote. Steve also trained all of the animals featured in the film.
In 1976, Steve was hired to do a raptor program at ABCs Wildlife Preserve in Largo, Maryland. The Preserve was designed by Jim Fowler. After many years, in 1984; Steve was hired by Jim Fowler [Mutual of Omaha wild kingdom] to present birds at various programs.
In 1985-1989 Steve was hired as consultant for raptor program at Weekie Wachee Florida. The entire Bird of Prey demonstration was designed by Steve, he trained all the personnel and the birds
In 1989-1994 Steve was hired in Silver Springs, Florida to design an outreach program utilizing birds and wildlife to travel to schools and events. He designed their 'Jeep Safari’ ride, this included exhibits along the ride. he built habitats for alligators, hove stock, sloth, snake, skunk, raccoons and various birds.
He designed and implemented “Lost River Cruise” we had guests arrive by boat at a wilderness out-post, the installation featured; black bear, raptors, cougar and other animals.
In 1989 Silver Springs sold and Steve became independent and soon formed EarthQuest. In 1992 Steve was hired by Al Cere from Dollywood, Tenn. to choose Eagle to be trained to free fly for exhibitions. That birds name is “Challenger” and has been flown in many National Events.
In the year 2000 Earthquest designed and implemented “Callaway Gardens” “Birds of Prey” program, To date they’ve seen over One million visitors. Their exit surveys consistently rank the program as number one favorite at the park. Acquired two black bears for Stone Mountain Park, raised them for exhibit they were going to build. When that fell through Earthquest adopted them. After many years caring for the bears, they were donated to a wildlife preserve in Colorado.
Over many years Steve has still remained dedicated to environmental education. Today our company focuses on schools and special events. Last year we presented our raptor program to over 20 thousand students in a three month period. The Texas programs continue to be popular.
Director of Operations
Robert Haynes grew up in a small town in rural Virginia, named Rapidan. Despite being homeschooled, he grew up very involved in groups and activities. Lots of trips to Tae Kwon Do practices, Homeschool Drama Club meets, and sports such as soccer and hockey. Roberts love for the outdoors stems from his time in Boy Scouts, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He was recognized in multiple newspapers for his achievement, even a letter of congratulations from former president Obama.
Always into volunteering, Robert offered his services quite often at the local roller hockey rink teaching younger kids the finer points of the sport and being a good teammate. He has carried on his work; by now educating kids and adults about wildlife, after moving to Georgia to assist EarthQuest in daily operations.
His love for wildlife comes from his cousin and now co-worker, Don McCullough. Don used to tell stories through the phone over many of Roberts teenage years. He told about his adventures with his raptors, lions, also a lot of stories about Steve Hoddy! and how he’d love to get me involved and have him meet Steve.
On December 31stof 2018, Robert got engaged to his now fiancé, Elizabeth, and moved to Georgia in early May 2019, jumping right into work with EarthQuest. Robert has now taken on EarthQuest as a career, and we’re very happy to have him.