Don’t eat worms


Lisa Zinn

Lisa Zinn is a visiting assistant professor of environmental and health sciences at Northern Vermont University – Johnson.

Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
I would have to say playing in the creek behind my house catching crayfish.

That sounds like fun! What got you interested in catching crayfish?
Well, I had a creek behind the house we lived in. We lived out in the country and there wasn’t a whole lot to do. It seemed like the best place to hang out and play.

Did you have any brothers or sisters to do it with?
No I didn’t but I had cousins my age and we would just spend the summer playing in the creek.

Do you have a favorite color?
I used to say that my favorite color was green because green is the color of trees and grass and seems to represent nature. People who care about the environment and sustainability are supposed to think green is the very best color. However, I have now finally admitted that my favorite color is blue. I must be true to myself and, after all, it is the color of water and sky so that should represent nature as well.

Since your favorite color is blue, if you were green would you die?
No, I could live with green. I would not die as it is a very lovely natured filled color but blue is still my favorite.

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement in life so far?
Making it to the age of 50 without ever being unconscious or having any stitches for any reason. Given my clumsy nature and how much I enjoy things like mountain biking, skiing and clambering about on rocks and trees, this is a major accomplishment for me.

Do you have a Facebook account or Instagram?
Yes, yes, I do. I have both. However, I have a strict “no students” policy about Facebook but you are free to follow me on Instagram at zinner70.

What is your favorite topic or interest to post on Instagram and Facebook?
I mainly post pictures of my dog and myself.

Would you consider yourself a sports enthusiast? Yes or no?
Yes or No? Does this have to be a dichotomy? I will have to reject that. I like sports. I like playing them, particularly, (broomball on the pond this winter, anyone?) but I don’t watch hardly any sports on TV these days.

Interesting. Would that be a push broom or sweep broom?
Push brooms are a disaster! You have to use sweep brooms, preferably with the bristles cut off a little bit shorter so it packs more of a punch.

What would you say is the greatest impact you have had on anyone’s life?
Well, I managed to get my cosmopolitan, city-loving wife to want to be near the forest and live in a place like rural Vermont. That was a pretty big change for her.

What is it about the city that makes you not want to live there?
Oh, cities are fine. I have just always felt at home with nature. I really like to be able to get away where there are no people. I lived in the city once and I was upset that I could not go outside and be among nature, like the mountains and forests. I really enjoy being outside and among people who enjoy the same.

Do you have a favorite TV show or have you recently binge-watched anything on Netflix or Hulu?
I just finished the latest season of The Politician on Netflix. It is such an interesting and quirky show that explores the intersection of ambition and a real desire to make a change in the world.

Vermont has so many great hiking trails and mountains. Do you have any favorite places you like to go to hike?
I really love climbing Mt. Elmore. I live at the base of it so it feels like my mountain. I have to mention the view from the top of the fire tower is breathtaking.

If you found yourself on death row, what would your last meal be?
It would have to be really high-quality fish and chips. I haven’t found a place in Vermont yet, but if anyone knows of one, please hook me up.

A gravestone can be a great way to leave a parting word after one dies. What would yours say?
“Someone else always has to carry the story”- Bilbo Baggins

You, Gimili, and Aragorn are walking through a dark cave, suddenly Shelob the giant spider shows up. Are you fighting or running?
I think I am fighting but I am hiding behind Gimili and Aragorn!

If you were at a bar having a drink with three people, who would they be? They can be dead or alive.
They would be Nelson Mandela, Michele Obama, and N.K. Jasmisin.

Would you have enough nerve to ask Michele to run for president?
Yes. And that would be amazing but I am not sure she would do it.

Do you have a favorite genre of music?
Probably contemporary folk, but I enjoy all types of music. That’s just what I play most of the time.

How do you feel about putting pineapple on pizza?

Pineapple pizza can be controversial. Have you ever been judged for this?
No, I think anyone should be able to eat whatever they want on their pizza!

If animals could talk, which one do you think would be the rudest?
Definitely, the red squirrel.

Have you ever been attacked by one?
No, but one ate through my backpack! One time I was at a campsite that was overrun with red squirrels. I think there were some peanuts at the bottom of my backpack; one chewed a hole in the bottom to get it out.

What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
An earthworm.

Is there a special way you would recommend cooking it?
I don’t recommend eating them because they take in the dirt through their body and absorb the nutrients from the inside! So when you eat them they are really gritty and taste like dirt.

If you were a song, which one would it be?
“It’s Not Easy Being Green” by Kermit the Frog.

Even though Miss Piggy announced the breakup of her and Kermit via a tweet in 2015, would you support them getting back together?
I have always thought that was not a healthy relationship and I support their separation.

What cartoon character most reminds you of yourself?
Velma from Scooby-Doo.

In the trailer from The Scooby-Doo movie in 2002, Velma said, “Scooby doo. Your name means scoop poop.” Do you agree with this or does it have another meaning to you?
Yes, I stand by this statement.

If you could be any age for a week what would it be?
I think 40 was one of my favorite ages.

Is there any particular reason you chose to be 40 again?
I think your 20s are crazy. When you’re in your 30’s, you are still finding your place in the world. By the time you hit 40, you have kind of figured out who you are and what you are doing with your life. Forty is also the age I met my wife — so that was fun.

What’s your favorite animal and would you want to be it?
It would be the otter. Yes, absolutely!

So tell me what is it about the otter you like?
They are super playful and they like to slide on their bellies down into the water.

What weird food combinations do you really enjoy?
I like to combine breakfast with tuna sandwiches.

Does this mean you consider tuna to be a breakfast food?
Yes, I think tuna is underrated as food in general and it is particularly good for breakfast.

Do you have a prized possession you would never part with?
My Darn Tough socks. They rock my world.

Is there a specific color scheme or pattern on your Darn Tough socks that you like the most?
I basically only wear Darn Tough socks and I have all sorts of different patterns. I must say my blue ones are the best.

What would you do if you were given a million dollars?
I would pay off loans, save for retirement, help out some friends and donate to climate action other charities. In other words, all that adult stuff.

Does Ronald Mcdonald scare you?
No, but McDonald’s contribution to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions does.

If you could meet one celebrity right now, who would it be?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

If someone narrated your life, who would be the narrator?
Amy Poehler.

I heard from some people on campus you really like to wear bow ties!

What is it about bow ties that makes you wear them?
It’s because everyone needs a bit of a schtick. Also, in the words of the 11th Doctor, bow ties are cool (Doctor Who shout out). I say that bow ties are where my teaching super strength comes from. A bit like Samson’s hair. I like my bow tie with foxes on it the best.

If you had one last breath, what would your final words be?
Have fun, everyone.