Women in Nature

Now is the time for women to nurture the body that has carried them far, feed the soul that has guided them and steward the land that has served them. Join us for one of the longest-running events at Indian Creek Nature Center: the 26th annual Women in Nature workshop. This event is sure to leave you refreshed and connected to nature.
What to Bring 

Please plan to dress for both indoor an outdoor experiences during Women in Nature. We recommend the following: comfortable layered clothing, sturdy shoes for walking/hiking, refillable water bottle, hat, sunglasses and a yoga mat or towel if participating in yoga. Note: The best part about Women in Nature is being outside in all weather! Feedback from previous participants has been outstanding regarding the outdoor experience of the hikes in rain. Please bring a rain jacket and rain boots, if appropriate. We will have a limited number of ponchos to borrow.

Why attend Women in Nature? 

Nature Center board member, Emily Flowergarden’s, top two reasons to attend:

  •  An opportunity to have a weekend “getaway”, extremely rare to stay so close and feel like a weekend retreat.
  • She wanted to set aside time to enjoy ICNC with a purpose and the comfort of a ladies event with several choices and as well as having a “safe” place to just be.

2019 information and speakers:

This year’s Women in Nature is centered on the theme: “Women of the Elements.”

Sessions throughout the day will reflect each of the five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Spirit. See the schedule (right column) to see how the elements come into play.


Speakers / Session leaders:

Maria Dummermuth, Sage Practices

Ever since she can remember, Maria’s passion has always been movement.  As she journeyed from group fitness, to pilates, to yoga and holistic healing, there is so much to learn and it brings her great joy to share any knowledge she acquires with all of her students and clients. ​As a graduate of the Atma Buti Soul Medicine Sound and Vibrational School Teacher Training program (as of April 2016), Maria is proud and excited to share the knowledge that has learned from Suren Shrestha and the Atma Buti® School. Maria recently spent 19 days in Nepal studying the Cosmology of Shamanism and is excited to explore how connection with spirit relates to our playing of the singing bowls. Maria has been blessed to be able to offer private and group sound healing sessions on a regular basis and feels so lucky to be doing a job that does not feel like work at all!

Ruth Dunlevy, Backwater Paddlers

Ruth is a mother of three and works as the retail sales manager for six local newspapers. Her passion takes her to the water. Ruth grew up paddling rivers in Ohio, brought up wild by nature-loving parents. Having worked for Sea-to-Sea Water Sports teaching safety in classes, she later started volunteering as a paddler for local triathlons, and is a founding member of Back Water Paddlers. Back Water Paddlers is a paddling group in its 4th year that hosts paddles every Sunday. They’ve logged over 150 trips so far on 11 area rivers in Eastern Iowa. Ruth kayaks and paddle boards as much as possible, as it provides her peace and exhilaration all at the same time.

Brittany Hannah, Bistro 3 Nineteen

Brittany will share the path that she took to entrepreneurship and opening a restaurant, the changes she has faced since, and what lights her fire.

Chef Brittany Hannah graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2010 with her Bachelors in Baking & Pastry Arts Management and from the University of Iowa in 2012 with her Masters in Business Administration. Chef Hannah has over 15 years experience in the restaurant industry and has had the pleasure of working at restaurants such as The Yacht Club Bakery at Disney World, Yachtmans Steakhouse at Disney World, Zins, Elmcrest Country Club, Brewed Awakenings and Bistro on the River.

Susan Stamats, Buzzards Glory

Susan Stamats is a commercial licensed balloon pilot. She has been flying the skies in the Cedar Rapids area for over 30 years, has over 2600 hours, and has trained pilots for both private and commercial licenses.

During the summer months, Susan divides her time between flying the skies of Eastern Iowa and balloon competitions throughout the country.  Ballooning has taken Susan to 22 states and 5 countries. During her talk, Susan will share stories of her longest flight and the challenges of flying prior to the digital age of technology and some of her favorite adventures.

Dusty Swela, Panda Marie LLC

Sharing her story and leading the group in a beginners yoga practice.

Meet Dusty Swehla, Mother, Wife, Business owner, Holistic Therapist, Yogi and Friend. Dusty began her career in the world of medicine in 1998 where she worked in the Operating Room in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for 12 years. She then went back to school for Nutrition and began working for a Medical Spa and helped thousands with weight, diabetes and healthy living for 7.5 years. During many of these years Dusty was dealing with a personal alcohol addiction behind closed doors. She was a closet alcoholic and was living 2 separate lives. Her children and husband were the only witnesses of the addiction. Dusty had tried to quit drinking on many occasions using many different therapies and medications. In 2014 Dusty went into rehab where she used a combination of modalities to help her get sober. She had tried yoga in the past but was living in a fog and didn’t fully grasp the impact it could make on her sobriety until getting sober. In 2015 Dusty received her Yoga Fit Certification, and really dug into yoga, meditation, prayer and mindfulness. She has since, received many certifications, awards and credentials including: Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery), Reiki Master, Holy Fire, Karuna training, Craniosacral Therapy, Sound Healing, Acupressure, Balanced Body Barre, Raindrop Therapy and more. Dusty realized what an impact the different combination of modalities had on her and she wanted to share with others, just like her. In August of 2018, Dusty felt it was time to spread her wings and decided to open her own business, Panda Marie LLC. Her goal is to help others Live the Life they love, Naturally. She offers many different therapies, life coaching, nutrition, yoga, meditation and Y12SR gatherings every Tuesday. Today, Dusty is living her dream, literally. She is sober, healthy, happy, living life with her 3 boys, husband and fur babies. She is helping others one day at a time through recovery, addiction, mental illness, realizing self worth and LIFE. Visit her website Naturallyfeelingbetter.com

April 27, 2019

26th Annual Women in Nature
April 27, 2019
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Indian Creek Nature Center
5300 Otis Road SE
Early Bird rate (before April 14): Members $50; Non-Members $65.
Regular rate (April 14-27): Members $60; Non-Members $75.

2019 Schedule:

8:00 – 8:30 AM: Check in/registration + social time + breakfast time
8:30 – 8:35 AM: Welcome message
8:35 – 9:00 AM: Wake Up the Senses with the Five Elements (Maria)
9:00 – 9:45 AM: Earth Element: Hikes
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM: Water: Ruth Dunlevy, Backwater Paddlers
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM – Fire: Brittany Hannah, Bistro 319
Brittany will share the path that she took to entrepreneurship and opening a restaurant, the changes she has faced since, and what lights her fire.
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM: Catered Lunch
12:00 – 12:45 PM — Air: Susan Stamats, Buzzards Glory
12:45 – 1:30 PM Earth Element: Hikes
1:30 – 2:15 PM – Spirit: Dusty Swela, Panda Maria LLC
Sharing her story and leading the group in a beginners yoga practice.
2:15-2:45 PM – Whole group sound session with Maria and Dusty
2:50 – 3:00 PM – Door prizes, closing comments.


Maple Syrup Festival