current research

Freelancing in Informal Education

informal education and the 'gig' economy

My current project, The Freelance Condition & Lifelong Learning in Communities, is an investigation into the contributions informal educators make to lifelong learning. This investigation focuses specifically on the contributions of freelance informal educators working in natural resource fields and environmental education. I focus on freelance informal educators in particular because they have the opportunity to create change in many different settings. 

Who are these freelance educators?

What do they do?

Where do they work?

How do they lead?

What do they need to be better leaders?

These are some of the questions I seek to answer. 


why this matters

Did you know the average American spends less than 5% of their life in the classroom (Falk & Dierking, 2010)?  

Most learning throughout one's life occurs outside of the classroom. If most learning happens outside of school, then this means most people learn about plants, nature, and related topics outside of school. I assert many people learn from independent professionals working in informal education. Where do they learn from these independent professionals? What do they learn? I hope to find answers to these questions.

Are an independent professional working in natural resource fields or environmental education?

Do you create connections between people and nature?

Please consider sharing your story.

Not sure if you are a "freelance informal educator"?

For this study, a "freelance informal educator" is someone who does not receive income as an employee (W-2 income) for the programs, products, or learning experiences they create. Freelance educators, like other independent professionals paid for their services, work one project, one event, or one gig at a time. If this describes you, please consider sharing your story.

Over the years I have met many passionate, independent professionals who strive to connect people to nature through their work. I have often wondered how many other professionals like them (and me) are out there in the world. I have also wondered how each educator contributes to the public's understanding of nature and the environment. This investigation represents the first step towards finding this out.

Talaterra Podcast

Find out more about freelance educators by listening to the podcast that is all about them and their work. Go to

Join the mailing list for freelance educators to receive project-specific announcements and information about how you can share your story.


Literature Cited

Falk, J.H. and Dierking, L.D. (2010). The 95 percent solution: School is not where most Americans learn most of their science. American Scientist, 98(6): 486-493