MENU

Professor Inspired by Traveling


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






A UVM professor is using  travel as inspiration for his lectures.

Frank Zelko, an environmental studies professor, said his move from Australia to Burlington benefited his work here at UVM and abroad.

Frank Zelko discusses his work in environmental activism and environmental history in his office Sept. 16. Originally from Australia, he began teaching in Vermont in 2007. TIANA CRISPIN/The Vermont Cynic

Frank Zelko discusses his work in environmental activism and environmental history in his office Sept. 16. Originally from Australia, he began teaching in Vermont in 2007. TIANA CRISPIN/The Vermont Cynic

“One of the benefits of traveling around the world is unexpectedly learning new things and finding them really interesting and turning them into a lecture that demonstrates something interesting about human environmental history,” Zelko said.

The first thing one may pick up on when meeting Zelko is his sense of humor.

Such is the case when he described how he made his way from Melbourne, Australia to Burlington, Vermont.

“Occasionally it was a little dangerous to have a mango or something fall on your head when you’re there. But, no, it’s not the reason,” Zelko said.

The real reason he said he left the tropic allure of southern Australia was to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Kansas, where he studied under the founder of environmental history, Donald Worster.

Zelko said he has been interested in environmental issues since he was young, but the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship in Auckland when he was 14, fueled his passion for the subject.

“It was a very dramatic event in the newspapers at the time and I remember feeling outraged about that,” he said.

“I think that sort of sparked an interest in environmental politics and passion for environmental issues,” Zelko said.

His students have witnessed that passion.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 7.27.15 PM

Senior Scotia Jordan said Zelko’s classes are her favorite because of the topics he addresses.

“He is good at finding the offbeat and using it in his lectures,” Jordan said. “Global environmental history is a very serious subject…it’s good that Professor Zelko makes it fun as well as serious,” she said. 

Zelko’s passion for the environment is what led him to eventually pursue a doctorate degree in environmental history and explore his interests in the non-governmental environmental organization, Greenpeace, which developed into his book, “Make It A Green Peace!”

The book explores Greenpeace’s history.

Zelko’s research in environmental history includes issues in green politics, such as looking at the comparison between environmentalism in different countries and also human interactions with the environment.

“I look at changing ideas about the environment,” he said. “How people have thought differently about nature at various points in history and how that shapes the way they act and the way they conceptualize themselves in nature.”

Although Zelko said he enjoys living in Burlington, he also spends much of his time traveling the world.

“I don’t actually stay here all the time. I tend to travel a lot,” he said.

Zelko’s research takes him to many places, including recent trips to Hawaii, Munich and Iceland.

Zelko said traveling enhances his knowledge on environmental issues, which then lends itself into topics for lectures.

Senior Roisin Low said she also enjoys Zelko’s stories and “how he relates the class material back to those areas.”

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    PIKE wins national contest for the fourth time

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Campus chefs battle to support food shelf

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Restaurant Week offers discounted prices, new foods

  • Life

    UVM junior advances in VT business competition

  • Life

    Earth week increases sustainability efforts

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Waterman Manor offers different dining experience

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Event provides support for sexual assault survivors

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Student discusses effects of microagressions

  • Professor Inspired by Traveling

    Life

    Campus sandwich shop plans to end hunger with grilled cheese

  • Columns

    Matcha maintains trend of popularity