About Us

 

Charlene L. Briggs

Greetings,



I am the Executive Director of the Land Trust of Bucks County, implementing a  conservation easement program and land stewardship initiatives designed to bring people into connection with the landscape. www.landtrustbuckscounty.org


Education is the cornerstone of my career. At Temple University, as adjunct professor, I teach the Science of Sustainable Design and Botanical Traditions. My SSD students design sustainable communities for everyone in the ecosystem.   My BT students create medicinal gardens and learn how to  practice  plant medicine traditions. 


Over the course of my career, I have taught every grade from pre-school through college, including formal classroom, but mostly informal field education. H.O.P.E. for Ecological Literacy is the core of my education practice and pedagogy. 


I define Ecological literacy as the understanding that everything and everyone is connected, all our actions have consequences and all consequences are cumulative. This is the Law of Unity.


Through Earth Visions consulting, I connect children and  educators with the landscape by providing experience, tools and resources for educators to independently integrate nature into their curriculum. 


My university course, 'Design, Development and Use of Outdoor Classrooms', and workshops with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society  facilitate bringing nature to students and educators who lack access to nature.  Facilitating teacher training at Land Trust preserves is a developing initiative. 


My previous career paths include water quality assessment for EPA, stormwater management for Montgomery County, MD, conservation easement monitoring for the Brandywine Conservancy,  scientist-in-residence in the public schools,  Executive Director of the Chester County, PA Land Preservation Program and Agricultural Development Council and co-creating the Lionville Natural Pharmacy Health Food Store, supporting sustainable agriculture and local food systems.


I grew up in the woods and to the woods and my father I owe my career as an environmental scientist and educator. 




"Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals... it is a sustained circuit, like a slowly augmented revolving fund of life."   Aldo Leopo


 

MY CV

  

EDUCATION

Arcadia University

MAEd, Environmental Education, Graduate Honors/Distinction

PA Teaching Certifications in Environmental Education, Biology, Earth/Space Science & General Science

University of Maryland College Park, MD

Bachelor of Science in Agronomy ‑ Soil & Water Conservation 

Pennsylvania State University

Environmental Resource Management, Academic Dean's List

Cornell University  ~ Environmental Education in Urban Communities Certificate


WORK EXPERIENCE

Land Trust of Bucks County 

Executive Director

Program administration, easement acquisition, monitoring program, membership, fundraising and development coordination, creation and execution of stewardship, education, and community outreach initiatives, strategic plan development and implementation. 

Temple University, Department of Landscape Architecture & Horticulture  

Professor

The Environment, Science of Sustainable Design, Plant Ecology, Botanical Traditions; Botanical Traditions Garden design, implementation and management.

West Chester University 

Professor

Education for Sustainability, Outdoor Classroom Design, Development and Use.

Longwood Gardens, Professional Gardener Program 

Professor 

Medicinal Plant Practicum

Lionville Middle School 

Teacher Practicum Environmental Science & Biology 7th Grade

Downingtown Area School District 

Scientist-in-Residence

GLOBE Implementation (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) DASD Middle Schools.

Hands-on atmosphere, hydrology, soils & biology investigations. Program development and instruction. 

Chester County, PA Agricultural Land Preservation Program & Agricultural Development Council  

Executive Director 

Management and execution of Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Program and Agricultural Development Council mandates. Coordinated easement purchase process; evaluated easement applications; assisted farmers, title companies, financial institutions, attorneys, surveyors and municipalities; prepared and conducted presentations to County and State Boards; developed easement monitoring protocol, inspected easement properties; collaborated with NRCS and Conservation District on conservation plan preparation, review and enforcement, maintained ASA database. 

Brandywine Conservancy, Environmental Management Center, Chadds Ford, PA 

Conservation Easement Monitoring Administrator

Managed easement monitoring program for 20,000 acres.

Developed easement file system, including easement monitoring files; inspected easement properties for compliance/land management practices; developed aerial monitoring program. Produced Land Stewardship Newsletter.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Central Regional Laboratory, Annapolis, MD 

Engineering Technician

Inspected industrial, municipal and federal facilities for compliance with EPA permit requirements under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Toxic Substance Control Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Conducted field investigations including collection, preparation and chemical analyses of surface water, ground water, sediment and tissue samples. Interpretation and analysis of Estuarine Mathematical Model, used to predict and reduce levels of eutrophication in the Potomac River. Certified to perform Visible Emissions Inspections.

Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County, MD Pollution Control Division 

Engineering Technician

Reviewed sediment and erosion control plans and subdivision plans for storm water management.

Maintained development and floodplain alteration inventory.

Conducted research on effects of storm water management structures on stream flow rates and flooding patterns in the Potomac River Watershed: Research Report “The Effects of Urbanization on Watershed Drainage Patterns and Impact of a Storm Water Management Impoundment on Stream Elevation and Discharge”. 

Maintained rain/stream gauges; collected and interpreted field recorded rain and stream gauge data.

General Electric Aerospace Division/ NASA, Greenbelt, MD 

Chief Draftsperson

Evaluated and analyzed computer enhanced Landsat data. Aerial and Skylab photo interpretation.


RELATED WORK

  • Green Schools National Network, member/speaker at Green Schools National Conferences, 2012, 2013, 2014.  Developing and Using Outdoor Classrooms, Weaving Ecological Systems into School Ground Design and Use
  • Environmental Educator. Green Valleys Association. Developed curriculum and taught Nature Explorer’s Club at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School 2008-2010. Contract: Incorporating Living Landscapes into Science Curriculum.

CIVIC EDUCATION

  • Member of Countryside Exchange, an international advisory group promoting sustainable agriculture practices in regional comprehensive plans.
  •  Regional workshops on non-toxic lawn care.
  •  Created Botanical Sanctuary of ‘at-risk’ and ‘to-watch’ medicinal plants at Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center and CSA. Taught workshops on botanical traditions and biodiversity.


Memberships and Volunteer Accomplishments:

 Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD: Environmental Educator.

Save Our Streams, Anne Arundel County, MD: Conducted sediment and erosion control inspections on construction sites; coordinated remediation with MD DER.

Sierra Club, MD: Lobbyist for Potomac Chapter. Lifetime member.

Charlestown Nature Center, Charlestown, PA: Environmental Educator. 

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Brandywine Valley Association, West Chester, PA: Environmental Educator.

Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center and CSA, Glenmoore, PA, Environmental Educator.

Green Valleys Association: Environmental Educator

A Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Roots: Education Philosophy

My father gave me the gift of roots.  Dad and I covered  every square inch of our local forest ...trout fishing, skiing, foraging, photographing wildflowers, catching night crawlers, pheasant hunting, star gazing, animal tracking, watching the sun set from our favorite fishing hole and perched on Counsel Rock quietly listening to the unspoken language of nature. 


My father planted an environmental ethic deep within my heart and watered it every day.  In our tradition, I plant seeds and water as best as I can.


My education philosophy reflects my roots and the work of John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky and Rachel Carson and embraces the premise that experience is central to education. This experience must be meaningful to every student, incorporate social interaction and cultural relevance (Noddings, p.31).  


H.O.P.E. for ecological literacy is the basis of my philosophy and pedagogy. Through hands-on outdoor place-based education, students develop the skills and leadership qualities to critically assess and solve problems, understand their relationship with natural communities and collectively work toward a sustainable future.


“It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.” Rachel Carson (1956)


When teachers highlight a student’s relationship with the ecological community, they introduce personal meaning into education, empower students to use strengths in an environment that holds relevance to their lives, use this culture as a bridge for learning and offer students the opportunity to challenge thought patterns and become part of the solution to social and environmental inequities.


My education philosophy is one of unification where students learn about themselves and the environment through teacher guided self-directed inquiry in a meaningful, experiential, social context and draw conclusions about their role in the biosphere.


By using the environment as a foundational context for education, students develop a deeper understanding of and respect for the earth communities, including the corresponding human conditions within those communities. 


I believe education must reveal the intimate interrelationship between personal and planetary health and develop leadership skills and opportunities for discovering solutions. Through active participation in environment-based education, reflective inquiry and experience in cooperative problem solving, youth can be empowered with the knowledge that they can make a difference in the world and develop the ability to exercise that knowledge wisely. 


It is my hope that in this process of discovery, using nature as a basis for education, students embrace a lifetime of creative investigation rooted in an affinity for nature and a sense of responsibility for sustaining biological diversity for everyone. 


References

Carson, R. (1956). The Sense of Wonder. New York: Harper & Row.


Noddings, N. (2007). Philosophy of Education. Boulder: Westview Press.