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 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 the Monarch Research Project, among others.

John serves as a board member and officer of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA), an organization designed to advance the nature center and environmental education field nationally. 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.

 

Amanda Vincent

Executive Assistant (she/her/hers)

Amanda Vincent is a Cedar Rapids native and has enjoyed Nature Center trails, events and programs over the years. Amanda has spent the last several years working for various non-profits in Iowa. She received a degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and is also a graduate of the Iowa Master Gardener and Iowa Master Naturalist programs. Amanda has always had a passion for the outdoors and has an appreciation for all living things. She enjoys trail running, hiking, camping, rock hunting, and gardening in her free time.

LAND

Director of Land Stewardship Jean Wiedenheft

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.

Jared Schulz

Jared Schulz

Farm Manager (he/him/his)

Jared Schulz grew up in Dubuque, IA along the bluffs of the Mississippi River. His appreciation for the outdoors started at a young age, fishing and camping with his family every summer. He graduated from Wartburg College with a B.A. in environmental science. Following graduation, he joined AmeriCorps working on environmental stewardship projects in Iowa and California. He developed a passion for growing food which led him to Madison WI, where he began his organic farming career. After four growing seasons he’s back in Iowa excited to share his passion for farming with others. He enjoys skiing, camping, and hiking with his dog, Ashla.

Abigail Barten

Abigail Barten

Trail Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Abigail Barten is an Iowa native, with an appreciation for all things outdoors. She graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Animal Ecology and a minor in Forestry. During summers in college and after graduation, she spent her time working in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. There, she solidified her desire to help take care of the natural land and to share this experience with others. She’s excited to have the opportunity to connect with volunteers while working on projects for the ICNC trail areas. In her free time, Abigail loves to go camping, canoeing, hiking with her dog, making pottery, and taking care of her garden and quail.

EDUCATION

Sarah Botkin

Sarah Botkin

Amazing Space Manager and Interim Director of Education

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.

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.

Marcy Fratzke

Preschool Specialist and Interim Creekside Forest School Director (she/her/hers)

Marcy Fratzke is an Iowa native with more than a decade of experience working in education. She received a degree in French from Iowa State University and spent the first part of her career teaching and traveling with high school aged students. In 2020 she made the transition to working with preschool aged children and found her passion in developing young minds.

Marcy is married with three daughters and enjoys party planning, traveling, and trying new things. She enjoys being a tourist in her own state and discovering all of the amazing things to see and do close to home.

Hanna Biegger

Hanna Biegger

Program Assistant (she/her/hers)

Hanna was born and raised in Des Moines. She went to Coe College here in Cedar Rapids where she graduated with degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and a minor in Anthropology! During her senior year at Coe, she volunteered at the Nature Center as a Teacher Naturalist. Following graduation, she officially moved to Cedar Rapids and wanted to take on a more consistent role at Indian Creek! During her free time she loves adventuring with her fiancé and their dog, Kane. She also coaches high school softball in the summers!

DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING

Sarah Halbrook

Sarah Halbrook

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

Sarah Halbrook joined the staff of the Indian Creek Nature Center after her service as an ICNC board member. Her service to the organization as a volunteer led to a desire to work daily toward the mission of creating Champions of Nature. She identifies as an environmentalist from the earliest of ages– recalling organizing her middle school classmates to petition for recycling in their school lunch program and being enchanted while working the land in her school’s outdoor classrooms in 6-12 grade.

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Her current board membership is with Association of Fundraising Professionals as the National Philanthropy Day chair where she works to bring a more inclusive and equity focused approach to local fundraising. Sarah is also a member of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa board where she advocates for reproductive justice for all. An avid follower of politics and public policy, she volunteers for local and state level Iowa politicians and grassroots organizations. As a community advocate, she has served on many city and county commissions.

She oversees all development and marketing initiatives at ICNC, leads their DEI work to help diversify the outdoors and is dedicated to supporting the people and processes to ensure continued success and sustainability of the organization.

Sarah is a graduate of University of South Florida (Go Bulls!) and the AmeriCorps (National Readiness and Response Corps/disaster response). She grew up in the Tampa Bay area rollerblading, hiking and deep sea fishing. Sarah happily calls Cedar Rapids her home with her two lovely children and her outdoor, adventure loving partner. And yes, Groundhog’s Day is her favorite holiday which just happens to coincide with the first program ICNC ever hosted in 1974!

Laura McGrath

Membership & Development Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Laura McGrath was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA. After attending Luther College, she returned to work at two local museums. Her passion for preserving history, both natural and cultural, brought her to ICNC in 2022. She is excited to have the opportunity to connect with ICNC members and donors to find a shared love of nature. You will often find Laura with her husband and daughter at the park, exploring a local trail, or planning their next road trip.

Katie Giorgio

Grants Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Katie Giorgio is a Cedar Rapids native who has spent her career working in the nonprofit world — at another nature center, an art museum, and a community foundation — and as a freelance writer for a variety of newspapers, magazines, websites, and organizations. She has always loved storytelling, so it makes sense that she got degrees in Magazine Journalism and English/Writing from Drake University. In the last two decades, she’s written about nearly every topic you can think of. When not sitting at a laptop, she’s spending time raising two teenagers, taking her two dogs on long walks, working in the garden, exploring new places, and reading.

Nancy Lackner

Special Projects & Grants Coordinator (she/her/hers)

A native of southern New Jersey, Nancy moved with her family to Cedar Rapids in 1970 – three years before the Nature Center was launched. She joined the Nature Center staff in 2000 as Development Assistant, and in 2022 transitioned to a new, part-time role as Special Projects and Grants Coordinator. She says the best part of her job is working with and getting to know so many great people. In her free time Nancy enjoys exploring nature on foot, time with family and friends, reading, traveling, puzzles, volunteering, music (singing, playing the piano, attending concerts…) and dark chocolate (not necessarily in that order).

Eric Hart

Marketing Manager (he/him/his)

As a kid, Eric found a love of the outdoors during family camping and canoeing trips. This love grew as Eric earned his Mass Communication degree at Winona State University, a college tucked between bluffs, lakes and the Mississippi River. Since arriving in Cedar Rapids in 2011, Eric has worked in television production and as a copywriter as well as founded his own non-profit organization. Meanwhile, his love for the outdoors kept growing as hiking and kayaking with his wife became their favorite hobbies. When Eric is not chasing his two children around he enjoys running, reading, playing Ultimate Frisbee and getting his family on the water, on a trail or to a campground.

Peter Lundgren

Peter Lundgren

Development & Sponsorship Coordinator (he/him/his)

Peter grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and developed a love of nature as a child on family camping trips. As a graduate of Iowa State University, he spent his early career working in the north of Spain before returning to the U.S. to teach at the University of Iowa. Along the way, he had the opportunity to participate in a community garden group which sparked his interest in the development of green spaces and prompted him to begin working to help communities around Eastern Iowa grow their tree canopy. At Indian Creek Nature Center, Peter hopes to connect sponsors to the Nature Center in meaningful ways.

AMAZING SPACE

Dana Wood

Office Manager

Dana Wood grew up in Center Point, Iowa.  After graduating from University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in Business, she spent several years 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 sewing, swimming, kayaking, camping, gardening, and spending time with family.

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.

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.

Jen Rowray

Guest Services Associate (she/her/hers)

Jen Rowray is an Iowa native, born in Cedar Rapids and raised in rural Solon. She attended NMSU (Truman State) in Kirksville Missouri where she earned a BA in English but her love of country living led her to purchase her home and 6 acres of land in Benton County in 1999. When she is not working her full time job with a dog boarding facility she is doing side gigs from mowing to making Kettle corn, and of course, GSA at Indian Creek. In her down time she writes, maintains an active social media, cares for her horses, cats and dogs (and tries to avoid being spit on by her snarky Llama, Snowball) and her land. She has 4 grown children and one 16 year old daughter who keeps her very aware she is not as cool as she thinks she is. 

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Her love of nature began in her early years while horseback riding on the Corp of Engineers land near her home and it led to her volunteering for them. Her first full time job, at 16, was with The Mayor’s Youth Corps building trails and leveling campsites for the public to use. She really enjoys meeting people coming to the nature center and hearing about the sights and sounds they experience on their visit. Toad stories are her favorite.

Executive Committee

David Hayes | President 

President, Coe College

John Hall | President Elect

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

Travis Fell| Treasurer

Chief Financial Officer, Midwest Equity Investors

Mayuri Farlinger | Secretary

Vice-President, Customer & Community Engagement, Alliant Energy 

Steve Dummermuth Jr.

President of Real Estate, IGD Industries

Directors

Andrea McVay

Vice President, Private Banking, Collins Community Credit Union

Kaveh Mostafavi

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

Jane Schildroth

Community Volunteer

Nicole Geiken

Vice President of Finance, Frontier Co-op

Amanda Wendling

Partner, Grit Capital

Kristine Van Auken

Documentation Specialist, Limo Link

Jacob Vetter

Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC, Associate Attorney 

Dr. Todd Olson

President, Mount Mercy University 

Ana McClain

Owner & Business Manager, Lion Bridge Brewing Company

Chris Graw

Partner, Carson Wealth Management

Trustees

Pat Deignan

EVP/Chief Banking Officer, Bank Iowa

Brooke Fitzgerald

Energy Builder, The Restoration Project

Lisa Henderson

Community Volunteer

Dr. Jana Marlett, MD

UnityPoint Health

Scott Overland

Vice President, Investments, Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust

Lisa Ramlo

Community Volunteer

Charlie Rohde

President, Kings Material 

David Hayes

President, Coe College

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