Retirement tribute to Dan Shepardson

Daniel Shepardson, professor of Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will retire May 31, 2023. Dr. Brenda Capobianco gave these remarks at a College of Education reception given in his honor on April 25, 2023:

Daniel Shepardson

“Dr. Dan Shepardson arrived at Purdue over 30 years ago in August 1990 from the University of Iowa. He was responsible for teaching and coordinating the Elementary Science Methods course and continued to do so for over ten years. In 2004, he instructed EAPS 312, a capstone course in Environmental Science for Elementary Education majors, and continued to develop this course and his work in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences for the next decade. He’s created and taught graduate courses in both Curriculum and Instruction and EAPS, including a the widely popular Environmental Education course. Dan has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his research in children’s learning of science (including an examination of students’ mental models), assessment and research tools in science education, inquiry-based environmental science, and students’ conceptions of water sheds, climate change and global warming. He’s been awarded over 15 state, federal, and private awards (grants) totaling ~ $10 million. In short, he has been an extremely prolific researcher.

A Place Called Turkey Run book cover

“What some of you may not know is that Dan is a nationally recognized nature photographer and author. He has authored work featuring beautiful images of Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, the Indiana Dunes, and my personal favorite, Turkey Run. One of my favorite times spent with Dan has been when he shares images of his trips to these respective parks. He has an eye for detail and a perspective that makes you feel that you are there in the park experiencing a change in season, the crossing of bison, or a sunset among beautiful arches. His appreciation and respect for the history and beauty of these parks are timeless.

“Congratulations and enjoy every minute because you deserve it! Thank you for everything you’ve accomplished during your short stay here at Purdue. We hope you enjoy your future with lots of time to enjoy your hobbies, friends, and family as much as we’ve enjoyed working with you! Cheers to your retirement.”

One of the graduate students at the reception said this about Shepardson: “I was thrilled to take your environmental education class and impressed with how you engaged students in numerous environmental learning opportunities in the field—right here in our community, just minutes from Purdue’s campus. You have traveled to and documented the beauty of nature in a variety of majestic National Parks, returning home to Indiana to share with your students your love of nature and the environment and where it can be found right here in Indiana. I am honored to have had the opportunity to co-teach the course with you in your final semester. The impact you have had on your students and me has inspired me to teach a course in the future that is modeled after your environmental education class. Thank you!”