Barbara Heavers

Barbara’s extensive professional and family travels have provided her an opportunity to experience other landscapes and cultures, and she now brings those experiences to the Planning Commission. In Europe, South America, and China “I have been impressed by the thoughtful use of land in places where people rely on locally produced food and minimal resources. I have seen many scales of animal husbandry, alternative energy supplies, and sound practices of water conservation.”

The work on her farm has been an essential ingredient in Barbara’s varied life. As Charlestown embarks on the rewrite of its Comprehensive Plan, the state requires that we address sustainability. As a farmer, sustainability is second nature to Barbara.

We are excited to welcome Barbara to the elected Planning Commission where she will offer her intelligence, education, experience, and wonderful land ethic for the benefit of Charlestown.

Barbara A. Heavers – Planning Commission

Barbara is an artist, farmer, scientist, and an award winning educator with a connection to Charlestown that is rooted in land. Her connection to Charlestown is a critical component “of my own and the farm’s well being. We have invested our lives in a small corner of the town (literally), the Pawcatuck River on the east and the Town line on the South. It is a place free of night time lighting which makes for great star gazing, it is quiet, which means I can hear the peepers at night, and it is clean, which means the air, snow and rain is healthful. I travel the northeast corridor regularly and I am always grateful to come back to this lovely place.” Barbara believes that Charlestown’s beautiful environment is not only a precious legacy, but also a responsibility of town government to sustain.


  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island
  • MS in Zoology, University of Rhode Island
  • BS in Biology, Old Dominion University
  • Certificate in Drawing and Painting, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Honors and Awards

  • Educational Testing Service Honorarium for National Assessment of Educational Progress 2009 for Writing
  • SATII Biology Exam Writing Committee, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ
  • Radioshack National Teaching Award in Math, Computers, and Science
  • RI Finalist National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Biology Institute, Princeton University
  • Presidential Internship, US Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab, Groton, CT
  • National Science Foundation Fellowship, Duke University Marine Laboratory
  • Senior Biology Award, Old Dominion University

Professional Experience

  • Professor of Education, School of Education, URI – (recently retired)
  • Consultant, Pearson Education Development Group
  • Teacher and Science Department Head, Moses Brown School
  • Instructor, College of Continuing Education, URI
  • Instructor, School of Respiratory Therapy, RI Hospital
  • Assistant Professor of Zoology, URI
  • Consultant for Environmental Inventory for Coastal NE for University of Maine
  • Research Physiology and Presidential Intern, US Naval Submarine Med. Res. Lab, Groton, CT
  • Research Associate and Laboratory Instructor, Duke University Marine Lab

Public Service

  • Past Board Member and Treasurer, Meadowbrook Waldorf School
  • Board Member and Vice-President of Concerned Citizens of Rhode Island, 1976-1979 (the group that successfully defeated a nuclear power plant proposed in Charlestown)
  • New England Committee for Evaluation of Schools and Colleges’ Evaluation Committee (4 yr term)
  • Presenter for National Science Teachers Association at national meetings


  • Sheep2014Barbara moved to Charlestown when she married her late husband Richard who had bought the old Holloway farm. Richard was a Physical Oceanographer with the Navy and then a Professor of Physics at Roger Williams University. Together they rebuilt the old house, added a barn, garage, and sheds to house their first flock of sheep. The Heavers combined teaching careers, with the raising of three children, Katherine, Nathan, and Ian, and the management of the farm requiring the restoration of several fields and miles of stone walls. “Our large vegetable garden and orchard still supply us with fresh produce. It has been a 43 year enterprise that I and my children still continue.”
  • Barbara has taken an active role in land preservation in Charlestown by placing a large portion of her farm in permanent preservation with the Charlestown Land Trust. The land remains an active farm, with forest and fields as well as the flock of sheep.
  • Barbara continues to expand her carpentry skills after years of major building projects. “Now my efforts are of a smaller scale, but no less satisfying. I am the shepherd and the manager of the farm, but family, friends, and neighbors are part of an extensive support system that greatly enhances my daily living.”

On November 4th, please vote for Barbara A. Heavers for Charlestown Planning Commission