Tara Tieman

Ever since high school, Tara Tieman knew that she wanted learn both American Sign Language (ASL) and more about becoming self-sufficient. She earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Deaf Studies from Empire State College in 1982, becoming a proficient ASL interpreter. After ten years immersed in that field, Tara began to spend several months each year feeding her interests in environmental sustainability. First, she volunteered on a CSA farm, and later began attending workshops on themes related to sustainable living. She was finally able to marry her primary passions when she began volunteering with Deaf people in Belize, Central America, and lived in a village that was ninety percent self-sufficient.

In the mid 1990’s, Tara joined Earthaven Ecovillage and the Westwood CoHousing Community when they both were just getting off the ground. In the ensuing years she juggled freelance interpreting with development work for these two evolving eco-communities, while creating a new project with the Deaf community in Belize. In 1998, her daughter Mira was born.

When Tara met Gaia University co-founder Liora Adler at a bioregional gathering in 2005 and heard about the school, she immediately saw that Gaia University could provide an ideal container for the work she had done and was then doing. She began by outlining her work into an organized portfolio, which catalyzed the start of several new projects specific to bringing sustainability to the Deaf community. In 2007 she completed her master’s degree and has since become a specialist in creating accessibility for Deaf people in the areas of Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL).  

Gaia University acknowledged the years of hands-on learning I had done while supporting me to further integrate my life-long passions. I am forever grateful to Gaia University for coupling action-oriented learning with sustainable living.