for Eternity

Věčný Woods, a 55-acre parcel of land managed by Indian Creek Nature Center, is now the home of a two-and-a-half-acre tallgrass prairie and 1.7 miles of hiking trails. The acquisition, protection and stewarding of land is essential to Indian Creek Nature Center’s mission. Securing natural landscapes for future generations creates habitats for native plants and wildlife while offering spaces where people can fall in love with nature.
These pristine woodlands are protected from development thanks to a collaboration among Indian Creek Nature Center donors, staff and volunteers that has been years in the making. The name Věčný means eternal in the Czech language, which is perfect because the Nature Center plans to protect this land into eternity.

Land Acquisition

Vecny ProjectVěčný Woods began when the Nature Center acquired 29 acres in 2008 with the aim of permanently protecting the woods. More than 100 donors were involved from the beginning of this journey. Keep scrolling to find a full donor list.

When the opportunity to acquire 26 acres of adjacent land became available in 2019, another 130 donors stepped up to support the purchase. The small group of owners had planned the land for a housing development but fell in love with the natural beauty of the place and decided to entrust it to Indian Creek Nature Center, knowing that it would be protected.

After the derecho in August 2020, staff and volunteers began to clear downed trees. While working on the land, the Nature Center began to formulate a plan for adding trails and a restored prairie to the property. Active restoration of the property began in 2021. Since then, much work has been done to make the property ready for visitors.

Prairie Restoration

David Novak DedicationThe Věčný Prairie Project turned a two-and-a-half-acre former farm field that had been overtaken by invasive trees and shrubs into a tallgrass prairie featuring more than 181 native species.

Donors, volunteers and staff came together to restore the land by removing honeysuckle, autumn olive shrubs, mulberry trees and cork amur trees. Hundreds of hours of volunteer work prepared the prairie for seeding by early fall 2022. Staff rented a seed driller to plant the restored prairie, which takes about three to five years to fully mature. 

In September 2022 the new tallgrass prairie was dedicated as the David Novak Prairie in honor of local restorationist David Novak. The prairie includes the quarter-mile Prairie Clover Path, built to accessibility standards around the perimeter of the prairie. While the prairie plants spend the first few years developing their massive root system that will stabilize the soil, visitors will get a unique chance to hike around a budding prairie early in its life.

Building Trails

Trail Building in Vecny WoodsVěčný Woods is now open and available to hikers. Altogether, the trail system at Věčný Woods provides an additional 1.7 miles of trails that weave through secluded hills thanks to the efforts of staff and multiple volunteer groups, who built the trail throughout 2023. Staff received assistance completing trail work, including chainsawing, brush cutting and debris hauling, from the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa, Troop 9 Eagle Scout Brogan Ironside, the Wednesday Warriors (a dedicated group of weekly land volunteers) and other groups.

The new trails are not merely additional trails in our system. They offer different experiences. The Dry Creek Trail (1.25 miles) follows rolling hills through towering trees, with some inclines more challenging than on any other Nature Center trails. The Prairie Clover Path (.25 miles) that loops around the budding prairie offers a rare opportunity to see a prairie in the stages before it becomes like the mature prairie the Nature Center restored years ago. This path is built to accessibility standards, to make the prairie easy to navigate.

Both trails are connected to the Eagle Ridge Trail (.2 miles), which includes beautiful views of the surrounding areas and a bench. A nine-vehicle parking lot was added in early 2024 to allow more access to these trails we plan to protect into eternity.


Donor Recognition

Between 2008, when the first land acquisition began, and 2023, when the Věčný Woods trails were completed, more than 250 generous donors supported the Věčný Prairie & Trails Project. These efforts combined to protect 55 acres with a trail system that gives visitors access to untamed spaces where the beauty of nature can reveal itself from now until eternity.
There are still opportunities to support the Věčný Prairie & Trails Project and make our trails more accessible.
Naming Rights Opportunities:
Accessible Picnic Table (4) $5,000 each
Accessible Bench (12) $3,000 each

Věčný Prairie & Trail Project Donors

Thank you for protecting this land into eternity.

Donors listed alphabetically.

Aegon TransAmerica Foundation

Rick & Linden Aerts

Jim & Ruth Affeldt

Janice & Martha Albaugh

Kathleen & Tom Aller

Alliant Energy

Alliant Energy Foundation

Steve & Mary Beth Allsop

Neil & Dee Anderson

Bob & Arlene Anderson

Anonymous (4)

Marian Antin

Phyllis Barber

Andrew & Shari Barden

Teresa & Greg Barnett

Gerry & Kathy Barr

Bill & Lu Barron

Jann & Gordon Baustian

Gordon & Nancy Bena

Lauren Block

Jon & Kathy Bogert

Jo & Scott Bogguss

Kevin Ernster & Dora Bopp

Alan & Terry Boyden

Rebecca Brimeyer

Clarence & Char Burton

Robert & Stacy Cataldo

City of Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Truck Center

Bill Chadima – Hawkeye Fire & Safety

Liz & Dana Christiansen

Christiansen Family Foundation

Terri Christoffersen

Nichole Clark

Danielle & Keel Clemmens

Tuesday Study Club

William & Lisa Coester

Tim Charles & Janice Cohea-Charles

Sally Stephenson & Kevin Collins

The Colton Family

Tim Colton

Mary Louise Condon

Josephine Cook

Bill & Britney Courter

Crescent-Janko Masonic Foundation

Marjorie & Walter Daft

DuWayne & Jennie Davidson

Les & Wendee Deal

Tom & Beth DeBoom

William & Karen Desmarais

Marie & Steve DeVries

Chris & Suzy DeWolf Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Beth & Devon Dietz

John & Sandy Donner

Gary Donnermeyer

Randy & Dodie Easton

David & Shearon Elderkin

Glenn & Denice Elison

Susan Elliott-Bryan

Brett & Deb Engmark

Tom & Pat Ervin

Kate & Matt Evans

Jack & Nancy Evans

May & John Farlinger

Travis & Amy Fell

Ron & Kathy Fielder

Brooke & Andy Fitzgerald

Bruce & Julie Frana

Ruth & Ralph Gaede

Don & Mary Lou Gallagher

Richard & Nancy Garberson

Les & Katrina Garner

Richard & Deborah George

Karla & Gordon Gibson

Tony & Magda Golobic

Harlan Graber

Carleen Grandon

GCRCF Frontier Co-op Giving Fund

GCRCF Garner Family Fund

Sharie Greif

Marc & Cathy Gullickson

Debbie Hahn

Sheila Hahn

William Prowell & Sarah Halbrook

Bev Hannon

Eric & Shannon Hanson

Jade & Brad Hart

Don & Mary Lou Hattery

Kate Hawkins

David & Heather Hayes

Roger Heidt

Lisa & Jeff Henderson

John & Susan Hill

Jim & Ann Hoffman

The Hogg Family

Andy & Arlene Houk

James Houser & Arleen Zahn-Houser

Bob & Karen Hoyt

Mary Kopecky & Thom Lusardi in memory of Lois Kopecky

Kim & David Jennings

Erin & Erb Jensen

Lenore Jones

Robert & Janis Kazimour

Marilynn Keller

John F. Kennedy High School

Jim Kern

Don & Ana King

Christine & Roger Kirpes

Melanie & Jeff Koolbeck

Sherrie & Tom Kopecky

Doug & Diane Kopp

Larry & Mary Kramer

Vickie & Steve Kriz

David Kubicek

Helen Kupka

Kerry & Kathy Kupka

Thomas & Nancy Lackner

Becky & Joe Lahart

Scot Brown & Julie Lammers

Brad & Tamra Lang

Michelle Lecompte

Philip & Anne Lenzen

Bernie & Deanna Lettington

Jerry Ovel & Audrey Linge-Ovel

Timothy & Marie Elizabeth Loth

Charles Grado & Ruth Macke

Steve Carpenter & Mary Magner

Vince Martin

Kent & Polly Mattison

Sally & Dan McAleer

Cae McCalley

George & Janelle McClain

McLeod Charitable Foundation, Inc

Robert “Mick” & Jo Ann McNiel

Parker & Victoria Meinecke

Kate & Dick Minette

James & Nancy Mohni

Jim & Rose Marie Monagan

Darrel & Middie Morf

Paul Morf and Jennifer Merryman Endowed Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Clint & Gale Mote

Mark Ogden & Iris Muchmore

Shaylin Munson & family

Charles & Melanie Munro

Ryan & Alicia Murphy

Buddy & Susan Nichols

Jim & Kristin Novak

Olberg Charitable Trust

Donna Oldorf

Scott & Penny Olson

Tyler Olson

Ron & Sue Olson

The Steve Ovel Family

Scott & Jan Overland

Abby & Mike Panoske

Rich & Marion Patterson

Lisa & Rick Paulos

Meredith & Sean Pearl

Janet Manatt-Pilcher & Fred Pilcher

Billie Preston

Elizabeth Priban

Mary Priske

Eliot & Barb Protsch

Mark Andersland & Mary Susan Pruzinsky

Nancy & Tom Pugh

Lisa & Randy Ramlo

Robert & Mary Rasmussen

Raytheon Charitable Fund

Denny & Jan Redmond

Resource Enhancement and Protection, Iowa DNR

Rinderknecht Associates, Inc. Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Randall & Danielle Rings

Charlie, Katie & Anna Rohde

Rohde Family Charitable Foundation & Dakota Red Corporation

The Rohde Family Charitable Fund

John & Karen Roltgen

The Rotary Club of Cedar Rapids

Gary Rozek

Claudia Santilli

Patrick & Kellie Sauter

Jane Schildroth

Tim & Jennifer Semelroth

Tina Sherman

Alicia Simmons

Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC

Marilyn Sippy

Kyle & Susan Skogman

Richard & Jan Smethurst

Marty & Julianne Smith

Les Smith

John & Dyan Smith

James Spencer

Kevin Eck & Sashi Solomon

Gary & Judy Stevens

Terry & Marlyse Strait

Ruth Streed

Gary & Susie Streit

Keith & Nancy Sutherland

Angeline Taake

Karen Taylor

David & Mary Taylor

Wanda Thackery

Trent & Brittany Tillman

Jim & Jean Tinker

The Tominsky Family

Pat Treneman

Donald & Shirley Turecek

Alison & Alejandro Urbina

Justin Voss

Margaret & Richard Wagner

Gayle Wallace

Brenda Warner

Duane Weber

Traci & Ron Weber

Liana & Nick Weiland

Sara Rynes-Weller & Paul Weller

Guy & Terri Wendler

Amanda & Andy Wendling

David & Michelle Wenzel

Maxine Westrom

Brian & Kristin White

Phil & Laura White

Tim White

Jean Wiedenheft

Dr. Marty & Mrs. Diane Wiesenfeld

Robin Williams

Mike & Esther Wilson

Adam Wright

Anna Yakos