2020 Viola Award Finalist for Community Impact (Individual)

Kevin Shinder. Photo by Jake Bacon

Kevin is a long-time employee of Lowell Observatory and combines his interests in science and Flagstaff history to produce journal articles, blogs, booklets and books as well as a biweekly astronomy column and an assortment of special submissions to the Arizona Daily Sun over the years.

In Kevin’s 24-year tenure at Lowell, he has been involved in community science outreach using both his skills as an oral presenter and a writer, and is now the official Lowell historian. He was sheriff of the Flagstaff Corral of Westerners, an international organization dedicated to western American history, for 14 years and a board member of the Flagstaff Festival of Science for 16 years. Combining a dual passion for history and science, he has presented hundreds of educational programs, authored five books, written more than 500 magazine and newspaper articles. Kevin was chosen as the first recipient of the Viola Award for Excellence in Science Education and the Arizona Humanities recently announced him as the recipient of their 2019 Friend of the Humanities  Award.

From the moment that Kevin made several phone calls explaining Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy to a variety of community members the celebration was born. Through his leadership an 18-month celebration was the launched and successfully facilitated which not only celebrated this legacy but gave an overwhelming sense of pride and further proved Flagstaff as a STEM City with a very long history of national and international implications. The Lunar Lecture Series provided insights into the historical impact of the Apollo missions, Flagstaff’s role in supporting the pioneering endeavors from mapping the moon to providing simulated moonscapes for astronaut training, preservation of historical artifacts, and the continued world-class research occurring in Flagstaff and Arizona surrounding lunar and space exploration. In the series, Kevin shares the story of the Apollo astronauts’ training trip to Flagstaff, including revisiting their tours as they practiced driving moon buggies and maneuvering through simulated crater fields in the cinder hills northeast of town; and, retracing their steps as they hiked the Grand Canyon and learned lessons in geology.

Kevin Schindler is a native of Ohio. He graduated from Marietta College in 1987, majoring in geology and with a strong focus on paleontology.