TV show another challenge for Bindi
MOST 13-year-old girls' resumes list "schoolgirl" and maybe some baby-sitting work.
But Bindi Irwin is no ordinary 13-year-old and her CV is already longer than most people three times her age.
Actor, author, TV presenter, environmental activist, Wildlife Warrior - it's hard to believe that just a few years ago she was an excitable little girl, a vision of crimped hair and jungle-girl khakis.
There is no doubt Bindi is no longer a little kid and, having grown up in the media spotlight, she has a maturity, confidence and knowledge well beyond her years.
There is no doubt Bindi Irwin is now a passionate young woman determined to use her public profile to get her message across.
When we chat she is at home finishing some schoolwork.
She studies via distance education to fit her schooling around her various projects and responsibilities at Australia Zoo.
"We were jumping on cassowaries before school yesterday and I had to write a note to my teacher to say I would be late," she said with an easy laugh.
It's been five years since the pint-sized dynamo starred in her children's show, Bindi The Jungle Girl, and this week she returns to the small screen with Bindi's Bootcamp - a 26-part game show featuring young contestants competing in a range of mental and physicalanimal-themed challenges.
The series was shot entirely at Australia Zoo, something Bindi relished.
"I got to introduce the contestants to our animal family here," she said.
The show is based around three types of challenges - Zoom Through the Zoo, Gross Island and Dangerous Dash - which test contestants' knowledge of animals.
She told me it was her brother, Bob, who came up with most of the Gross Island challenges.
"Some challenges where pretty disgusting," she said.
One, named Whose Poo, involved the contestants matching samples of poo with the right animal.
"It required thick gloves, goggles and a brave heart. It was pretty foul!" Bindi laughed.
Another involved preparing a MasterChef-style dinner for various animals, with the delicacies including brains and worms.
"I swear you could hear the screams miles away," she said.
Bindi turns 14 this month and to celebrate she will have her party at the zoo in a Bootcamp-themed extravaganza.
I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, expecting a list of make-up, clothes or tickets to a Justin Bieber concert.
I should have known better.
"The best present would be for people to start thinking about their choices on this earth," she answered, barely pausing to ponder.
She would also like people to sign the petition to help stop the threat of strip mining at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
Bindi has always been very vocal about environmental issues and wildlife conservation concerns, but as she gets older she would like to start tackling bigger issues.
One is the rapid growth of the world's population.
"So many issues stem from human over-population. It is the one problem which is an elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about," she said.
She told me the world's population was increasing by about 270,000 people every day, rattling off statistics like most other 13-year-olds would list One Direction trivia.
"I always say, the poor have no chance of an improved lifestyle when the world is so overpop
ulated," she said.
"I am blessed to be in a position where I can share my message with everyone and passionately stand up for what I believe in."
Helping to solve this issue is one of Bindi's life goals.
Another thing she may soon be able to add to her CV.
Bindi's Bootcamp airs next
Saturday on ABC3 at 5pm.
COME CELEBRATE BINDI'S BIRTHDAY
Bindi's 14th Bootcamp Birthday will be held on Tuesday, July 24 at Australia Zoo.
Gates open at 8am and kids get in free.
Margie, winner of the Biggest Loser 2012, will celebrate with Bindi along with CrossFit demonstrations, rock-climbing, MMA fighting demonstrations and animal dance workshops.
For more information visit www.australiazoo.com.au