As we are poised to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the Nature Center in 2023, it is not lost on ICNC and its community of supporters that many of our earliest and dear friends are passing away. As a way to keep our community updated, we will begin to share notices in our monthly e-newsletters of our friends as they pass away. As much as we are able to, we will provide obituaries, memorials, service information and a link to memorialize their memory in these newsletters. We welcome our friends to reach out to Nancy Lackner on our staff if they have news to share. Additionally, as part of our 50th anniversary year, we are looking forward to collecting memories, photos and stories from the last 50 years as we look to the next 50 years.
Today, we are greatly saddened to share with you the passing of two of our dear Nature Center friends.
Flo Primrose. Although she wasn’t born with that last name – she married into it, with thanks to her husband Pinky – it’s appropriate that it’s a name connected to nature, descriptive of a beautiful flower.
The Nature Center was incredibly fortunate the day Flo decided to begin volunteering with the ICNC Guild (now Friends of the Nature Center). She brought her love of gardening and the outdoors with her as she worked at our annual events, the Plant Sale and Nature’s Noel, both in worker bee and organizational capacities. She was masterful at organizing and recruiting volunteers for Guild events. And she always seemed to have fun, whether getting her hands dirty or socializing with her Guild/Friends colleagues and the staff. In recognition of her dedicated service to the Nature Center, Flo received a jack-in-the-pulpit award in 2007. And she was only getting started!
Flo’s volunteerism at ICNC for 20 years ultimately educated scores of children about the wonders of our natural world. (Financial support from Guild/Friends events create champions of nature through Nature Center field trips, summer camps and many other educational programs.) Flo’s efforts allowed children to blossom and become champions of nature in her image. We are eternally grateful for this Primrose and the gardens she nurtured.
We are also saddened by the passing of Nature Center supporter Robert Allsop. At ICNC, we have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Robert and Elizabeth Allsop, better known to us as Bob and Beth, since the 1970s. The Nature Center was – and is – a true passion for Beth, who dove into the Guild (now Friends of ICNC) with enthusiasm and a can-do spirit. She received a Silver Leaf (Guild) Award in 1980 and a Jack-in-the-Pulpit Award, indicating a deeper volunteer commitment, in 2001.
Bob has supported the Nature Center in other ways, often behind the scenes, but also in a powerful partnership with Beth. In 2001 the couple donated 24 acres of woods located in northeast Cedar Rapids to the Nature Center, with the request that it be protected from development. Twenty-one years later Allsop Woods – rich with mature oaks, hickories and sugar maples, and home to nesting pileated woodpeckers – continues to beautify that neighborhood and intentionally has no public access. With their generous act Bob and Beth revealed themselves as champions of nature as well as champions for their community.
Over the years Bob and Beth have generously given to the Nature Center in other ways, all to advance ICNC’s mission. Their donations have ranged in scope from general to capital to endowment. Throughout their 40+ year relationship with ICNC, they have given in ways both thoughtful and profound. As Amazing Space was being built they chose to donate to secure naming rights for the auditorium. Bob chose to name the room the Elizabeth M. Allsop Auditorium.
Additionally, the Allsop’s have instilled within their family a passion for the Nature Center and the many who benefit from its education and inspiration. This is most notable in their son and daughter-in-law. Steve and Mary Beth Allsops’s longtime commitment to ensure children who have the least access to nature, have the opportunity twice a year to attend the Mary Beth’s Kids in the Woods camp at ICNC in partnership with Jane Boyd Community House.
The Nature Center couldn’t have asked for better friends than this couple, who were married for 70 years when Bob passed away this month.
We offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of both Flo and Bob. We will continue to remember the impact they had on us as individuals and as an organization, and the community as a whole. We are also grateful for gifts that have been made in their memory, so that their impact at the Nature Center can go on in perpetuity.