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Former Jacksonville Zoo Executive Director Talks Invasive Species

On January 29, Tony Vecchio, the former executive director of the Jacksonville Zoo, visited the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus to speak with students about invasive species and how they impact the environment.

With 45 years of experience in the zoo and aquarium industry, Vecchio has worked in six zoos across the nation, and each of the three zoos he ran as director received national awards for their conservation programs. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource management and a master’s degree in primate social behavior.

Vecchio held an engaging dialogue with the upper school students in the Chahlavi Center for Global Learning and Engagement about the top environmental threats to wildlife: poaching, pollution, climate change, loss of habitat and invasive species. He also shared examples of local invasive species such as the Burmese python, which experts now estimate between 30,000 to more than 1 million in population in South Florida alone.

Sophomores Esha Kasavaraju ’26 and Nishta Jijosh ’26 arranged Vecchio’s visit as part of an AP Biology project with Assistant Head of Upper School Piper Moyer-Shad ’91. #BollesSanJose