Karen Firehock co-founded the Green Infrastructure Center in 2006 and is its director. She oversees green infrastructure planning and research projects. She is an environmental planner with more than 28 years of experience in planning and natural resources management. She is also an adjunct lecturer in green infrastructure planning and environmental ordinance development at the University of Virginia (UVA)'s School of Architecture in the Departments of Urban and Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Firehock was a Senior Associate at the UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation for seven years and served as coordinator for community watershed and land use plans for localities. She also coordinated the national Community-Based Collaboratives Research Consortium and conducted public outreach for the USDA Forest Service’s Roundtable on Sustainable Forests. Prior to working for UVA, she served as the Director of the Save Our Streams Program at the Izaak Walton League for 12 years, where she directed a national stream and wetland conservation program.
Ms. Firehock has authored numerous handbooks, including the Local Government's Guide to Stream Corridor Protection, Collaboration: A Guide for Environmental Advocates, A Handbook for Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability, A Citizen's Streambank Restoration Handbook, and Local Watershed Management Planning in Virginia, A Community Water Quality Approach. She has won multiple awards for her planning work, including a Renew America Award for the Nation's Best Water Protection Program, a National River Greenways Award, State Conservationist of the Year, and Design Professional of the Year Award.
She has a bachelor of science degree in natural resources management from the School of Agriculture at the University of Maryland and a master of planning degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.