Vic Izzo is a Evolutionary Ecologist, Herpetologist, Entomologist and Environmental Educator hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York. Vic received his M.S. in Conservation Biology from Drexel University and Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science from The University of Vermont. In addition to his position at Champlain College, Vic also teaches Biology and Food System Leadership at Johnson State College and The University of Vermont.
As a lifetime educator, Vic has spent the majority of his career teaching ecology and conservation biology to a wide range of audiences and cultures. From high schools in Mexico City to university field courses in New England, Vic strives to create a more ecologically literate population. Owing to his dedication to education, Vic has received numerous awards for teaching excellence including the 2012 Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) and the 2012 Plant and Soil Science Teaching Assistant of the Year Award.
Prior to arriving in Vermont, Vic served as a staff biologist and educator on several domestic and international Earthwatch conservation programs. As part of these programs he had the unique opportunity to witness the complex interaction of local communities and agricultural land use policies. These experiences led Victor to “move up the chain” from conservation ecology to agricultural systems. He believes that many of the current conservation issues are intimately linked to the management of agricultural lands and the modern high input agroecosystem. As such, his current research looks to provide an evolutionary perspective to agricultural systems, especially in regards to the local adaptation of pest insects.
“By bringing a more ecological perspective to the existing concept of agricultural, we can create both a more integrated and sustainable system of food production while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of our wild lands.”
Favorite Tree: Jacaranda
The Jacaranda tree is a spectacular tree whose purple flowers indicate the beginning of spring in subtropical regions. In cities, its shed flower petals litter the streets like confetti.
Most rewarding part of teaching: From my perspective, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is recognizing the diversity of “take-aways” that students express later in life. It is truly amazing how unique the retention of of knowledge is for each student. It always invigorates me to hear a former student talk to me about a certain topic or idea that they “still remember” or “changed their perspective”.
Favorite thing about living in Vermont: Undeniably, my favorite part of living in Vermont is the smell and color of autumn in the Green Mountain State. Oh…and Heady Topper.