UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dan Stearns, J. Franklin Styer Professor in the Department of Plant Science at Penn State, recently was awarded the status of Trailblazer by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
Trailblazers are a select group of individuals nominated by their peers for being dedicated professionals who have made significant and long-term contributions to the landscape industry. They give their time and serve as mentors to landscape and lawn care business owners who are looking to grow and improve their companies.
Stearns joined the faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences as a horticulture professor in 1989. In his time at Penn State, he has become known as an innovator and national leader in the field. He coordinates the college's landscape contracting major while teaching undergraduate courses in residential landscape planning, landscape planting design, landscape construction and landscape estimating and bidding.
Stearns earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State and his master's degree from North Carolina State University, where he also served as a research assistant. Prior to becoming a faculty member at Penn State, he was a landscape architect for the New York State Department of Transportation and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in North Carolina. He also owned lawn-care and landscape-architecture businesses in Massachusetts.
Stearns has received numerous college and University awards for his accomplishments. In 2003, he was named a Harbaugh Faculty Scholar in recognition of his creativity in cultivating new curricula. In 2006, he was named J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany in acknowledgement of his contributions to research and teaching. In 2015, he received the Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals represents an industry of nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care experts who create and maintain green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. The association works with lawmakers and the public and offers education, networking, training and certification programs that increase the professionalism in the industry.