Freelance educators in informal learning environments. Why now?

I have worked in informal education since 2002. Over the years I have met many independent professionals working in natural resource fields and environmental education. I have seen how they communicate with the public at community events, environmental education events, lectures, and workshops.

In the fields of interpretation and environmental education, there is a lot of organizational thinking. A lot of thinking and advocacy that supports the excellent work of museums, nature centers, zoos, gardens, aquaria, and cultural and heritage sites. Support for freelance educators, however, does not appear to be as established. I know freelance educators are out there and I have heard them make noise at conferences, but not a lot of noise. Because I know there are other freelance educators out there, I felt it was time to act on my hunch and to describe who these freelance educators are and what they do.

In an era where so much learning occurs outside of school and online, and in an age where information about the environment is questioned, I feel it is important to understand how the public learns about nature and the environment as they move through life. I assert many people learn from freelance educators working in informal learning environments.

Where does the public learn from these independent professionals?

What do they learn?

How are they learning it?

With your help, I hope to answer these questions.

Tania Marien