Steve Prchal

Steve Prchal – Insect Enthusiast and Conservationist

Steve Prchal was an unwavering force of knowledge within the zoo and museum fields, insect hobbyists and conservation community – inspiring many with his enthusiasm and expertise. To honor him, IECC established the Steve Prchal Scholarship Fund.

Beginning his career at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as a laborer and progressing into Assistant Curator for small animal collections. Later establishing Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute as an environmental education initiative.

Early Life and Education

Steve Prchal began working at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as a staff member beginning in 1970, tending to its small collection of arthropods while honing his passion for macrophotography. In 1986 he established the Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute to promote educational programs about insects.

He later moved to Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica and established an insect zoo there, founding both Ventanas en Corcovado Foundation in the US and Ventanas en Corcovado Research and Education Center in Costa Rica – inspiring many in the zoo field, insect enthusiasts, conservation community. His passion, expertise and knowledge inspired many individuals in these communities.

He was an exceptional mentor who encouraged students to think creatively and follow their personal aspirations. Additionally, he taught music with an approachable and enjoyable style.

Professional Career

Steve was an accomplished track athlete and high school leader from Southern Indiana and rural Kentucky who also proved himself as an exceptional artist. Born in Chicago and raised there until graduating high school in Kentucky and Indiana, Steve made a name for himself as both.

In 1986, he founded Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute with an educational mission in mind. Later, he relocated to Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and developed the Ventanas en Corcovado Foundation and Research and Education Center there.

Steve Prchal was an inspiration to many in the zoo and museum fields, insect enthusiast circles and conservation communities. IECC continues to honor his vision through the Steve Prchal Scholarship Fund which fosters future environmental educators. Steve currently resides in Rockford Illinois working for Gustave A Larson Co.

Achievement and Honors

Steve Prchal was an outstanding husband, father, and friend who played an active role in building the USS Indianapolis Memorial Park in his community of Indianapolis. Additionally, he worked as a real estate broker for Indianapolis City Real Estate Services and served in the US Navy before receiving the Sagamore of Wabash award. Steve leaves behind Julie Dorley (his daughter) and Beau (his son) as well as many close friends and Costa Rican relatives who will miss him dearly.

His expertise, passion and knowledge enthused zoo and museum professionals, insect enthusiasts and conservationists. To honor Steve Prchal and celebrate his dedication to insects and nature, the Institute for Entomological Conservation created the Steve Prchal Scholarship Fund in 2014. This will continue his legacy and spread his enthusiasm for all things insects.

Personal Life

Steve Prchal was an exceptional husband, father, mentor, friend and teacher of old-school naturalism. His passion was documenting desert wildlife through photography and writings; this hobby also served to influence and inspire many young people towards careers in nature-related careers.

He established an impressive career in automotive aftermarket sales management by overseeing stores and district offices for Checker, Schucks, Kragen and O’Reilly Auto Parts; serving as purchasing manager overseeing Performance Parts as well as CSK Speed Shops.

He lived in Circle Pines, Minnesota with his wife and two children and was an active member of Real Life Church in Roseville. An avid boater and Jeep enthusiast, he also had a keen appreciation for nature, advocating to protect public lands while his passion for helping others was evident in all facets of his life.

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