After studying environmental sciences (Van Hall Instituut, Groningen), Carlien started working at the RIKZ (National Institute for Coastal and Marine Affairs) in Middelburg. There, she participated in a study on eutrophication of the North Sea. After a few years, she went to work for DGW (the Government Service for Sustainable Rural Development) in Goes, where she dealt with environmental issues within land consolidation programmes. While working at this service, she realised that she wanted to be more involved in education, especially in the field of nature and environmental education. In 1997, she started working at the AET (Aquatic Ecotechnology) study programme at the HZ and has trained herself further in working with students and teaching. From 2004 she started teaching nature, science and technology at the Pabo of the HZ. In 2014 she obtained her Master's degree in Learning and Innovation, where she did her graduation research on possibilities for Nature & Tecnics within Outdoor Education. Besides involvement in the development and use of green play and learning environments, the focus within the HZ is more and more on coordinating and coaching interdisciplinary work and action research. The minor Becoming Fit for the Future is an example of this.