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current research

Freelancing in Informal Education

informal education and the 'gig' economy

The Freelance Condition and Lifelong Learning in Communities project advances the field of informal education by investigating how independent educators in natural resource fields and environmental education work in their communities.

I focus on freelance educators in particular because of their ability to move through communities and create change in a variety of 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 learning environments. Where do they learn from these independent professionals? What do they learn? I hope to find answers to these questions.

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

Do you create connections between people and nature?

I would like to speak with you.

Please consider sharing your story.

Not sure if you are a "freelance educator"?

For this study, a "freelance 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.

Do you have a full-time job and engage in freelance educational work on the side? 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

I host conversations with freelance educators working in natural resource fields and environmental education on the Talaterra podcast. I also feature topics that are of interest to educators. Find out more at

Mailing List for Freelance Educators

You are invited to join a growing community of independent educators. You can join the mailing list for freelance educators by entering your email address in the pop-up subscription box that appears on this website.


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