About the Observatory

From Observatory

The Observatory is a free digital education resource. It offers the public useful information to help them both better understand important social issues and navigate life in the modern world.

Visitors engage with the Observatory:

  • Via Search: For expertise by keyword, topic area, or a favorite author.
  • Via Guides: That unlock the world in a single article or an expert-curated series.

The Observatory uses MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia, to publish content by a team of expert contributors.

Our doors are open: The Observatory is designed to incorporate reader feedback, and for input and collaboration with volunteer researchers and editors.

Our goal is to be an audience-supported education resource that can make a difference.

The Observatory Team

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Jan Ritch-Frel
Observatory Co-Founder and Publisher

Jan Ritch-Frel is the executive director of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates the public through a diverse array of independent media projects and programs. He has worked in independent media for more than two decades and has advised dozens of media companies.

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Jenny Pierson
Observatory Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer

Jenny Pierson is the manager of editorial projects and the programs administrator at the Independent Media Institute. She has spent more than a decade in independent media working in both digital journalism (editing U.S. and international news and editorials) and book publishing.

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Reynard Loki
Observatory Co-Founder and Environment and Animal Rights Editor

Reynard Loki is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute, where he serves as the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life. His work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.

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April M. Short
Observatory Co-Founder and Local Peace Economy Editor

April M. Short is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute and the editor for Local Peace Economy. She has led editorial projects on consciousness, plant medicines, care, and well-being, including Reset.me and Lucid.News (which she also co-founded). Her work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.

Authors Spotlight

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Irikefe V. Dafe has advocated for river protections in Nigeria and throughout Africa for three decades. Much of his work has focused on protecting the River Ethiope and the rights of communities who rely upon the river for food, water and their livelihoods. He is a lead organizer of the First National Dialogue on Rights of Nature in Nigeria. He is also the founder and CEO of River Ethiope Trust Foundation and an expert member of the UN Harmony with Nature Initiative.
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Daniel Klem Jr. is the Sarkis Acopian Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology and director of the Acopian Center for Ornithology at Muhlenberg College.
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Laura Lee Cascada is the campaigns director for the Better Food Foundation and the founder of the Every Animal Project, a collection of true tales reshaping our relationship with animals.
Leslie Crawford is the author of Sprig the Rescue Pig and Gwen the Rescue Hen, both published by Stone Pier Press. She lives in San Francisco with her two children, six hens, and four foster pigeons. No partridges. Follow her on Twitter @lesliemcrawford.
Sy Montgomery is a naturalist, documentary scriptwriter, and author of 31 books of nonfiction for adults and children. She is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the Humane Society and the New England Booksellers Association.

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