Science education doesn't just happen in the classroom. It happens in museums, in magazines, on the web—even on TV.
Since 2003, when the Discovery Channel teamed with NSTA to create the annual Faraday Science Communicator Award, NSTA has honored individuals who are not classroom teachers but who work in or have developed a compatible setting for science communication—e.g., museum, nature center, zoo, state park, aquarium, radio, television, internet, and other science-rich institutions and/or media. The awardees to date:
2003: Paul Doherty
2004: Richard Hudson, Dragonfly TV
2005: Bernard Zubrowski, Education Development Center
2006: Rob Semper, Exploratorium
2007: Ira Flatow, National Public Radio's Science Friday
2009: Dennis Schatz
2010: Joseph Hwang of the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program
2011: Ed Barker, Kell High School Robotics Team, Marietta, Georgia
NSTA administers two other award programs of interest to those engaged in informal science education. The Distinguished Informal Science Education Award honors NSTA members who are not classroom teachers and who have demonstrated their dedication to informal science education. And since 1993, the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Award has recognized the outstanding efforts of K–12 students and teachers across the country who are working at the grassroots level to protect and preserve the environment. One teacher will win $10,000, an all-expenses-paid trip for themselves and one guest to a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park for a special awards event, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. The deadline for this year's award is March 5, 2012. More information can be found here.
For informal resources that helped shape many of today's science leaders, pay a visit to Mr. Wizard's Studios. An NSTA president recently recalled how she used to rush home from school to watch Mr. Wizard on television and how Don Herbert became her inspiration to pursue a career in science education. It's hard to imagine a more compelling case for informal science education.