Michael G. Burns  


–       Permaculture design

–       Non-profit administration

–       Print and online publishing

–       Promotional writing

–       Teaching plus curriculum design

–       Proficient Spanish



Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute

–       Co-founder & Board Member. 2005 – present. I direct, plan, budget, promote and implement educational events to teach ecological and permaculture design to students of all ages and backgrounds. This work includes outreach and promotion, book keeping, website production, apprenticeship and volunteer coordination, instruction, curriculum recording and class site management.

  • Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course: This program is designed for those ready to intensively study permaculture design. I am responsible for most promotion, budgeting, and student communications. Site administration, including food, waste, camping, class space and other logistics plus teaching a portion of the course are among my tasks during the 15-day event held at my rural, off-grid farmstead.
  • Community Training in Ecological Design:  This is an affordable, accessible introduction to ecological design. Curriculum and hands-on activities are adapted to serve the needs and projects of the participants. My responsibilities include all aspects of running the course, including teaching.
  • Summer apprenticeship program: This program gives a select group of PDC students a chance to learn a range of food production and construction skills while building educational infrastructure for the PDC. I have budgeted, promoted and organized, taught classes, and hosted the program since 2009.
  • Skill-based Workshops: On an irregular basis, I have organized and promoted additional workshops on skills useful for permaculture practitioners. Examples include mushroom production and creating edible food forests.

Elmira City School District

–       U.S. History & Government Teacher (Regents & Advanced Placement.) September 2001 – August 2012. Southside High School, 11th &12th grade students.

–       Language Other Than English Teacher. (Spanish, French, and German language, culture and history.) August 2000 – June 2001. Ernie Davis Middle School, 6th grade students.

–       Social Studies Teacher. Summer School, 2001. Ernie Davis Middle School, 6th grade students.

Silver Thread Vineyard

–       Winery Retail Taster.  Part-time, July though October, 2004 – 2008. Introduced visitors to the styles, methods, history and tastes of this small, organic, artisanal Seneca Lake winery.

Equal Exchange Coffee

–       Public Educator/Promoter. March 2000 – August 2000. Part time. Promotion and retail support for this nationally distributed, organic fair-trade coffee importer.

Williamsville Central Schools, Community Education

–       Adult Education Teacher. Summer 1999. Internet and Desktop Publishing Skills.

Stanley G. Falk Schoo

–       Teacher Aide. February – August 1999. Assisted teacher in an 8th grade special education classroom (6:1:1) of emotionally disturbed students.

Margeotes, Fertitta and Partners

–       Production Manager. June 1995 – January 1998. Managed desktop production and quality control of print advertisements, new business presentations and marketing materials by this advertising agency. Trained Art Directors in Macintosh design systems. Maintained a network of Macintosh computers for prepress production.

Lehrer McGovern Bovis

–       Production Manager. September 1994 – May 1995. Produced marketing materials for this international engineering and construction firm.

Tikkun Magazine

–       Circulation and Production Manager. December 1992 – August 1994. Produced a bimonthly journal, plus auxiliary print materials. Coordinated the circulation maintenance, direct mail, telemarketing, distribution, and special promotions.

The Guardian/Institute for Independent Social Journalism 

–       Production Manager. October 1991 – August 1992. Managed the art department, trained and supervised assistants, trafficked copy and art flow, and maintained all equipment. Oversaw the style and design of a 20 page tabloid-sized newsweekly.

–       Circulation/Promotion Director. June 1990 – September 1991. Responsible for conception, design, production, and evaluation of the promotion, circulation, and advertising campaigns.

–       Board of Directors. October 1990 – August 1992. Oversaw decision making in the areas of hiring, firing, work evaluations, major budgetary decisions and plans, and editorials.

Print and Web Consulting 

–       Freelance publishing. 1991-1998. Clients included Fairchild Communications, The Metropolitan Council On Housing, Williamsville Community Education, Talon Films and Chosen For Children Book Catalog.

Medicines For Central America Fund  

–       Aid Coordinator. May 1989 – June 1990. Organized campaigns, fundraising, volunteer coordination, the administration of medical aid, and education about public health issues in Central America.

National Mobilization for Survival

–       Fundraiser. 1988-1989. Managed a part-time telephone fundraising program for a national peace organization.

Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy/Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign

–       Fundraiser. 1987-1988. Managed a door-to-door canvass office and campaigned in neighborhoods from Massachusetts to Virginia seeking support for nuclear arms reductions.



–       Master of Arts, Education. D’Youville College. Buffalo, N.Y., 2003

–       Bachelor of Arts, Psychology. State University of New York at Geneseo. Geneseo, N.Y., 1987

–       New York State Secondary Education (Social Studies). September 2000

–       Permaculture Design Certificate. Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, 2005.

–       Coursework in Fine Arts, Graphic Design and Advertising. New School for Social Research/Parsons School of Design. New York, N.Y. 1993 – 1996.



Schuyler County, NY

–       Candidate for Schuyler County Legislature. Fall 2013. Campaigned for the Catharine & Cayuta District seat in the county legislature with endorsements from two party tickets. Campaigning involved significant door-to-door visits, letter writing, phone outreach, fundraising, and public speaking including candidate debates and forums.

Town of Catherine, NY

–       Planning Board member. 2011 – present. Research and development of the Town Comprehensive Plan, plus reviewing development issues at the behest of the Town Board. Currently serving as chair of Planning Board.,

–       List owner/moderator. 2002 – present. Implemented and maintain online listservs and websites that promote permaculture and other ecological and social justice movements.

Food not Bombs (Buffalo, NY)

–       Community Organizing. 1998 – 1999. Organized food, clothing, and Christmas Day gift give-a-ways through public serving of free healthy food. Created public space to discuss class and poverty, government priorities, plus food and health issues in the poorest neighborhoods, among the homeless, within the groups’ volunteers, and the general public through media attention.

Communities in Resistance (Maya Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico)

–       Peace Observer, Labor and Fundraising. 1994 – 1999. Work included fundraising, manual labor installing water supplies, and serving as a peace observer during a civil conflict affecting indigenous communities.

Parroquia San Lucas (San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, C.A.) 

–       Parish Volunteer. February – December 1998. Supervised the work of adolescent, orphaned boys. Designed and implemented a permaculture solution to reclaim land on a community farm damaged by flooding. Also worked with Parish medicinal herb garden.

I’jatz (San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, C.A.)

–       Volunteer Labor. February – December 1998. Worked at the demonstration coffee food forest farm of this permaculture-based coffee cooperative. Tasks included maintaining a large system of swales, building repairs, seed-saving, computer database work, and translation.

Transportation Alternatives and Time’s Up! (New York, N.Y.)

–       Grassroots Organizing. 1994 – 1998. Volunteer work for these two advocacy groups around justice issues in the urban environment, transportation, pedestrian rights and health.

15th Street Quaker House (New York, N.Y.)

–       Volunteer. 1989 – 1998. Oversaw overnight shifts at the homeless shelter.



–       Eleven years of experience planning and teaching classes full-time in public schools to a broad range of backgrounds, abilities, and ages.

–       Recent invited public speaking events include:

  • People for a Healthy Environment Annual Conference, Corning, NY (Keynote Speaker) October, 2014
  • Candidate for Schuyler County Legislature. Fall 2013. See above section regarding volunteer work
  • Just Food Conference, New York, NY. (Introduction to Permaculture) February, 2012 and April 2013.
  • SUNY-Purchase Student Coop Café, Purchase, NY. Presentation to Campus Garden Club (Introduction to Permaculture.) April, 2012
  • Montour Falls Memorial Library, Monntour Falls, NY. Healthy Eating speaker series (Raising a Healthy Home Chicken Flock.) February, 2012
  • Upstate New York Permaculture Convergence, Rochester, NY. (Opening Remarks.) April, 2011
  • LeMoyne College/Native Plants Gardening Club Syracuse, NY. (Permaculture Gardening Strategies.) September, 2010
  • Left Forum, New York, NY (Food Sovereignty Panel) April, 2010