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Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, was only 8 years old when her father passed away. And for her 17th birthday, she shared a photo and a message that hearkened back to the conservationist efforts her father cared so much about.
On Friday, the teenager shared a sweet photo of herself embracing a tortoise, with a message thanking all her friends and family who is helping her follow her dreams.
"I have to tell you that over the past year I've learned so much," Bindi wrote in the caption, "So many people have touched my heart and made an impact on my world. I'm thankful for every lesson and learning experience."
Adding that she's excited for the adventures to come in her next year, Bindi wrote: "I have the most beautiful souls in my life supporting me and helping me to follow my dreams. I love them more than I can ever express in words."
Also on Friday, Bindi's mother, Terri Irwin, shared a touching photo of a young Bindi embracing her father.
"I love you with all my heart," Terri wrote. "I know your dad is watching over you and is so proud."
Just before she turned 17, Bindi told Entertainment Tonight that her dad will always be her superhero.
"He always used to say that he didn't mind if people remembered him or not," Bindi told the show. "He just cared if they remembered his message, and that's what we're trying to do. To make sure that his message lives on in all of us."
Last year, Bindi told People Magazine that while she still struggles with grief, she takes solace in continuing the wildlife-conservation efforts her father so passionately pursued.
"You can take the path that leads you down the aisle of sadness, or you can say, 'I'm never going to let this person's memory die,’” Bindi said. "'I'm going to make sure everything they worked for continues.'"