Karen Stupski, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Karen Stupski is a sustainability educator, grant writer, and communitarian. In addition to serving as a faculty member at Goddard College, Development Director for the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (a watershed organization and land trust) and Executive Director of School of Living (a community land trust). Karen lives at Heathcote Community, an intentional community dedicated to sustainable living, where she coordinates the permaculture education program.


PhD in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology, Johns Hopkins University
PGD in Organizing Learning for EcoSocial Regeneration, Gaia University
BA in History and Science, Harvard University

Areas of Expertise

  • Permaculture
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainability Education
  • Social & Ecological Justice
  • Intentional Community
  • Ecovillages
  • Facilitation, History of Science
  • History of Technology
  • Grant Writing
  • Community Land Trust

Personal Statement

I am passionate about creating a sustainable, cooperative culture. To me this means working for social and ecological justice, restoring damaged ecosystems, and creating modes of production and living that meet human needs while increasing ecosystem health and social well-being.

My professional experience is mostly in the field of sustainability. In graduate school I studied the history of science, medicine and technology, with a focus on environmental history and the history of sustainable technologies. I wrote my dissertation on the history of technologies used to transform human excrement into fertilizer in the U.S. in the 19th century. Through this study I gained a solid understanding of U.S. agricultural and public health history.

I love applying the lens of history to my work in sustainability, because I believe that we need to understand the historical roots of our current problems in order to solve them. I’ve worked as a sustainability educator in both academic and community-based settings. I’ve taught college courses in environmental science, environmental studies and sustainable development. In my local community I coordinated an environmental job training program with an innovative curriculum in environmental technology for unemployed city residents and I currently teach permaculture workshops. I am also involved with two land trusts that promote sustainability.

Since 1993, I have been a member of School of Living, a community land trust that holds land in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia and organizes educational events on topics related to sustainable living. I currently serve as their Executive Director.

The other land trust is the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC), which conserves land in my local watershed and conducts restoration and education programs. As Development Director of the GVC, I write grants and support the implementation of projects. My work with these two organizations has given me experience with nonprofit organizational development, strategic planning, and fundraising, which are essential for creating organizations that can implement and sustain community-based sustainability initiatives.

Since 1993,I have lived at Heathcote Community, a small intentional community in Maryland, where we practice permaculture (ecological design) and cooperative processes such as consensus decision making. I work in the gardens and am currently helping to develop a sustainable farming business on the land. For me, living in community is a way of creating social change. It has given me the opportunity to participate in social systems that are egalitarian and collaborative, gain practical skills in sustainability, and be supported in personal healing and transformation. Anti-oppression work has always been important to me and I strive to integrate it into everything I do. At Heathcote Community we work towards dismantling oppression as a long-term goal by educating ourselves about issues of social and economic justice, implementing egalitarian systems and structures within our community, and including social justice as part of our permaculture education curriculum. I’m currently focusing on anti-racism training for whites.


Affiliation BA Sustainability
Individualized Bachelor of Arts
Undergraduate Studies Program

Location Plainfield, Vermont