Indian Creek Nature Center Staff

John Myers

Executive Director (he/him/his)

John Myers has been executive director of Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa since May 2013. Working with the organization’s board of directors, John leads the strategic planning and growth of the organization ensuring that its vision to create champions of nature is achieved. John believes that Indian Creek Nature Center can and should be a leader in the outdoor field by championing new and innovative initiatives that make substantive change.

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He currently is championing two projects. The first is a running a 12,000sq ft, NetZero energy and water facility, one of the most sustainable buildings in the United States which is under certification review by the Living Building Challenge. John led the fundraising and construction of this $8,000,000 project. The second is developing a 200 acre farm focused on restorative, organic agriculture. Sugar Grove Farm will set the organization as a leader in restorative agriculture in Iowa.

He has a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration and is an Eagle Scout. Prior to joining Indian Creek Nature Center John worked for the Boy Scouts of America, as well as several other nonprofits in the Eastern Iowa area. He is active on the boards of Monarch Research Project and Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Network, among others. John is an active member of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA). He was selected to receive the 2016 ANCA Outstanding New Leader Award recognizing his leadership and growth of Indian Creek Nature Center.

John and his wife, Meridith, reside in Marion, Iowa with their three children, Angela, Ryan, and Jackson.

 

LAND

Jean Wiedenheft

Director of Land Stewardship (she/her/hers)

Jean Wiedenheft started as a volunteer at the Nature Center, helping with scout workshops and spreading wood chips on the trails. She’s been a full-time employee since 2001, sharing her enthusiasm for nature with volunteers and visitors. She enjoys horseback riding, beekeeping and walking in the woods.

Jason Bies

Trail Manager (he/him/his)

Jason Bies grew up in rural western Michigan and received a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan. He joined Indian Creek Nature Center in 2017 after settling in Iowa City in 2016. Look for him while you’re out on the trails, where he’ll be controlling invasive species and keeping the grounds in good order. In his spare time he enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and all manner of outdoor activities — canoeing, camping, and mushrooming being among his favorites!

Scott Koepke

Farm Manager

Scott Koepke’s passion for vegetable production and community development germinated while serving as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. Now his career as a local grower, educator and activist has taken root at ICNC’s Etzel Sugar Grove Farm. Scott founded and directed New Pioneer Food Coop’s Soilmates program, an organic garden education service for children; he co-founded and co-managed Grow Johnson County and taught classes in gardening, soil science and life skills and continues to teach this horticulture therapy content at both Kirkwood Community College’s Continuing Education program and at two correctional facilities, Oakdale Prison and Linn County Juvenile Detention Center. “Gardens Heal People” is Scott’s mantra.

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Scott has served on several boards of directors. Currently, he is the facilitator for the Linn County Food Systems Council. He holds membership on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors’ Juvenile Justice Youth Policy Development Board, and on the Advisory Groups for CGRER (Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research) and Kirkwood Community College’s Agriculture and Horticulture Departments.

He is a 2019 recipient of the Iowa State Education Association’s Friend of Education award, a 2018 community service award from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and he holds certification from A.C.E. Interface as an official presenter of adverse childhood experiences research. Scott is a frequent panelist at regional conferences, and is a guest columnist for the Gazette Writers’ Circle.

Scott is an Iowa boy, raised in Cedar Rapids, and thrilled to be home, modeling biodiverse agriculture at Sugar Grove, honoring the legacy of the Etzel family, and partnering with the esteemed Rodale Institute. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, and lives at Sugar Grove with his trusty guard dog, Blue.

EDUCATION

Kelli Kennon-Lane

Director of Education (she/her/hers)

Kelli Kennon-Lane is an Iowa native, raised in northeast Iowa and living in Linn County for almost 20 years. She lives with her husband and son in a very small log home in the woods — a dream they manifested several years ago.

Kelli’s professional background is in public education. She received her undergraduate degree  from Wartburg College and her graduate degree from Coe College. Kelli has extensive training in social-emotional learning, curriculum design and implementation, and building the capacity and autonomy of teams.

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She oversees all educational programming at ICNC, leads Creekside Forest School, and supports the Nature Center’s mission to create champions of nature through education and inspiration.

For fun, Kelli enjoys vegetable gardening, cooking and eating great food, exploring the United States, shooing possums out of her chicken coop, picking up (and putting down) new hobbies, and living lightly on the earth.

Andria Cossolotto

Education Manager (she/her/hers)

Andria Cossolotto, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, came to Indian Creek Nature Center having previously been a naturalist in western Iowa. At ICNC, Andria leads school field trips and camps, helping to instill the love of nature in future generations. In her spare time, Andria works to help improve pollinator habitats and enjoys getting outdoors with her husband and two children whenever possible.

Emily Roediger

Senior Naturalist (she/her/hers)

Emily Roediger is originally from Rochester, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with majors in Biology and Environmental Studies and minors in Geology and Music, and has an environmental education graduate certificate from Hamline University. She has over 4 years of experience with multiple environmental education organizations, and is excited to be at Indian Creek! Emily enjoys being outside whether she’s hiking and exploring new places, camping, playing tennis, bike riding, or even just sitting!

Nicole Upchurch

Lead Preschool Teacher (she/her/hers)

Nicole Upchurch began her path as an educator in 2001 in Idaho. She has experience instructing K-6 Spanish, Songwriting/Ukulele and Outdoor Education. After moving to Iowa with her family, she found her way into nature-based Early Childhood Education in 2009 while working with Taproot & Prairie Green School. She is a graduate of the Iowa Master Naturalist program. In addition, Nicole is a singer/songwriter, performing regularly with Awful Purdies and The Feralings. She lives in Tiffin with her husband, Benj and their three children Harper, Béla and Waelyn. Together they enjoy spending time outdoors with their Australian shepherd dog, Copper.

Morgan Bryant

Assistant Preschool Teacher (she/her/hers)

Morgan Bryant graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She worked as a Recreation Specialist at UnityPoint St. Luke’s hospital in the youth behavioral health unit and as the Program Director of the Parent Education Consortium at Iowa State Extension and Outreach Linn County. She is passionate about supporting families in building healthy foundations for their children and will continue that work as the Assistant Teacher at Creekside Forest School. In her free time, Morgan enjoys reading historical fiction, spending time with family, practicing yoga, gardening, and going on walks in the mountains or woods.

Rachel Bailey

Program Registrar and Volunteer Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Rachel Bailey was born and raised in Cedar Rapids where she received an English degree from Mount Mercy University. Rachel has been on staff since 2016 and is always eager to connect with visitors and foster a love for nature and preservation. In her spare time, she enjoys quality time with with her daughters and husband. They love traveling near and far as a family exploring state/county/national parks, museums and hiking to waterfalls!

DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING

Sarah Halbrook

Director of Development & Marketing (she/her/hers)

Sarah Halbrook joined the staff of the Indian Creek Nature Center in 2017 after several years of service as a board member and Development Committee Chair. Her service to the organization led to a desire to work daily toward the mission of creating champions of nature. Prior to joining Indian Creek Nature Center Sarah worked for Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust and United Way of East Central Iowa. An avid follower of politics and public policy, she has also volunteered and worked for many local and state level Iowa politicians and grassroots organizations.

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She is a board member of Legion Arts and most recently chaired their Development Committee. She continues to serve on local committees and initiatives in the Cedar Rapids area.

Sarah has served on the boards of Kids First Law Center (board President 2013-2014); Brucemore National Historic Site Trustee (2008-2015),Chair of Membership & Development committee; CSPS Capital fundraising team (2010); 2009 Corridor Business Journal 40 Under 40 Honoree; ImpactCR founding member (2009); Next Generation Commission (2008-2009); Linn County Community Services Advisory Board (2006-2010); Cedar Rapids Vision Deployment Steering Committee(2008); Cedar Rapids Long Term Planning Commission (2007); OPEIU, Local 153 (2006-2010), Hawkeye Labor Council delegate (2006-2010).

Sarah is a graduate of University of South Florida and the AmeriCorps (National Readiness and Response Corps). She grew up in the Tampa area rollerblading, hiking and deep sea fishing. Sarah happily calls Cedar Rapids her home with her two lovely children, Leo and Willa.

 

Liz Zabel

Senior Marketing Manager (she/her/hers)

Liz Zabel, a Minnesota native and Iowa State University graduate, joined the Nature Center staff in 2018. She is a former journalist turned marketing whiz and a photographer, videographer and all-around storyteller. Liz cares deeply about protecting our planet and is proud to promote Indian Creek’s mission to create #championsofnature every day. When she’s not working, Liz enjoys spending time with her husband, fur-children (a dog and two cats) and friends; getting outdoors as often as possible by gardening, camping, hiking, paddling and generally exploring. She also caught the wanderlust bug and loves to travel every chance she gets — let her know where she should go next!

Nancy Lackner

Membership & Development Coordinator (she/her/hers)

A native of southern New Jersey, Nancy Lackner moved with her family to Cedar Rapids in 1970. She has two bachelor’s degrees, received 14 years apart, in vastly different fields: business administration with an English minor; and biology and general science. Nancy joined the Nature Center staff in 2000 and her responsibilities involve all aspects of fundraising, overseeing memberships, and managing the donor database. Nancy enjoys exploring nature on foot with her husband and their enthusiastic dog.

Jane Schlegel

Development & Outreach Coordinator

Jane Schlegel grew up in a large family on a farm near Ryan where she learned to appreciate and be a good steward of the land and resources from her parents. Joining the team at the Indian Creek Nature Center gives her an opportunity to help others foster that same appreciation and connection with our natural resources. Prior to the Nature Center, Jane graduated from UNI, was successful in the business world, working at KCRG and most recently as a financial advisor. She gives her time to her church, Rotary West, Chamber Ambassadors and various other non-profit organizations. She has lived in Cedar Rapids for over 25 years and enjoys baking, reading, golfing, camping, playing board games and cards, and spending time with her husband, Scott, and children, Katie and Matt.

AMAZING SPACE

Dana Wood

Office Manager

Dana Wood grew up in Center Point, Iowa. After college, she spent several years at Weddings, Etc. working as a seamstress. A career change made her Administrative Assistant at Global Crossing where she stayed until becoming Office Manager at Indian Creek Nature Center in 2002. Dana enjoys volunteering and coaching at her children’s school, sewing, swimming and camping.

Sarah Botkin

Amazing Space Manager

Sarah Botkin grew up on a farm in central Illinois raising sheep. She received her B.A. from Monmouth College and her Masters from Kansas State University. After spending 18 years in Student Affairs in the Higher Education setting, Sarah joined Indian Creek Nature Center in August 2018. She enjoys traveling, bike riding and reading a good book.

Betsy Bostian

Preschool Specialist & Guest Services Associate (she/her/hers)

Betsy Bostian is passionate about all things nature and has been working at the Nature Center since 2019 as a Guest Services Associate. Betsy has taken on an additional role as the Preschool Specialist for Creekside Forest School and is looking forward to sharing her outdoor knowledge with the students and staff.  In her free time she enjoys gardening, canning, fermenting, and changing her lawn into a native landscape. Betsy is an Iowa native and received her B.A. from Loras College.

Barb Szucs

Guest Services Associate
Barb Szucs has been a teacher her entire life in many different capacities. Originally from Indiana, she moved to Cedar Rapids a couple of decades ago, and worked at 3 different places before finding her last teaching position as a teacher in Anamosa. She often gets asked if she’s a volunteer at ICNC, and is always proud to say that she’s actually paid to work there!  She’s grateful for the chance to watch nature move through her seasons, and to interact with an extraordinary  staff.

Katherine Callen

Guest Services Associate (she/her/hers)

Katherine Callen is a native Iowan who graduated from Iowa State in 2014 with a degree in Anthropology. She enjoys being outside, hiking, gardening, and kayaking. Katherine lives in the country with her Husband, four cats, 2 bee hives, and soon 9 chickens. You may also find Katherine playing Oboe and Cello for the Cedar Rapids Community Orchestra.

Katie Toms

Guest Services Associate

Katie Toms grew up in Marion, Iowa and has been visiting the Indian Creek Nature Center her whole life. She is currently attending Iowa State University and is studying civil engineering. Her love for sustainable buildings and living is what brought her back to the nature center and its new building. She hopes to someday integrate sustainable designs and techniques into new buildings and construction. She enjoys spending time with friends, anything on the water, live music, and learning new ways to benefit the environment. Katie has been greeting guests and sharing facts about the nature center since May 2018.

Michelle Basler

Guest Services Associate (she/her/hers)

Growing up in southeast Iowa on the Mississippi River, spending summers traveling on the family houseboat, Michelle Basler discovered her love of nature early.  While attending the University of Iowa in the early ’90’s she found another passion in local radio and that career path moved her to Cedar Rapids where she and her husband Bill, are happily adventuring with their 6 kids and two dogs.  Michelle loves trail running, boating, water skiing, and bird watching.

David Lammers

Custodian (he/him/his)

A Cedar Rapids native, David Lammers has been volunteering at the Indian Creek Nature Center ever since his high school internship in 2001. He graduated from Upper Iowa University in 2007 with a degree in conservation. Outside of the Nature Center, he stays busy with the Five Seasons Ski Team and the Eastern Iowa Circus.

Executive Committee

Jen Welton | President 

Vice President, Treasury Management, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

Ryan Murphy | Past President

Director of Business Development, World Class Industries

Travis Fell | Treasurer

Partner, RSM US LLP

David Hayes | Secretary

President, Coe College

Mayuri Farlinger

Manager, Alliant Energy 

Directors

Steve Dummermuth Jr.

President of Real Estate, IGD Industries

Kate Evans

Community Volunteer

Emily Flowergarden

Account Executive, TEKsystems 

John Hall

Executive Vice-President & Chief Lending Officer, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

Andrea McVay

Vice President, Private Banking, Collins Community Credit Union

Kaveh Mostafavi

Founder/CEO, Ecocare Supply, Ecocare Hemp, The Compost Ninja

Meredith Pearl

Veenstra & Kimm Engineering and Co-owner, Sustainable Landscape Solutions

Jane Schildroth

Community Volunteer

Alicia Simmons

Sustainability Manager, Frontier Co-op

Amanda Wendling

Partner, Grit Capital

Trustees

Darline Davermann-Reid

Community Volunteer

Pat Deignan

Deignan Consulting

Brooke Fitzgerald

Energy Builder, The Restoration Project

Lisa Henderson

Community Volunteer

Jana Marlett, MD

UnityPoint Health

Scott Overland

Vice President, Investments, Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust

Lisa Ramlo

Community Volunteer

Charlie Rohde

President, Kings Material 

Jen Welton

Vice President, Treasury Management, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust

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