Shooting Star Society

Shooting Star Society

50 Stories for 50 Years

is presented by New Leader Manufacturing

On September 14, 2023 the Nature Center hosted 22 guests for its annual Shooting Star Society event. The luncheon and program were offered to thank those, both present and absent, who have included Indian Creek Nature Center in their estate plans and/or have established an endowed fund to benefit ICNC. The event was a fun time of reconnecting, learning, eating together, and enjoying the prairie’s beauty on the cusp of autumn.

There are many possible reasons why fans of the Indian Creek Nature Center choose to include ICNC as a beneficiary in their wills, life insurance policies, trusts, retirement plans, and other financial instruments. We asked a few of our close friends why they chose this path. Here’s what they shared: 

Nancy and Gordon Bena

Nancy and Gordon Bena

“We both grew up in the country. We love the country and we love nature. What better place than the Nature Center to carry on for the generations to come?”



Mary Kopecky

Mary Kopecky

“Indian Creek Nature Center has been such a formative place in my life. I developed my deep love of nature by exploring the lands that would become the nature center for over half a century. It has been my pleasure and honor to volunteer in many capacities and to bring my former students for unforgettable learning opportunities. I want the generations who come after me to have this wonderful place in which to explore, find solace, learn, serve, and make new friends. That is why I’m including the Indian Creek Nature Center in my estate planning.”


Nancy LacknerNancy Lackner

“Before I became an ICNC staff member 23 years ago, I was an individual member of the Nature Center. My parents had been members before me, and my high school friend Pam Pisney volunteered at the Nature Center. I was intrigued. I attended occasional programs, visited to hike the property, and enjoyed Maple Syrup Festivals. I appreciated the friendliness of the people I encountered, the creative use of the Penningroth Barn as ICNC’s headquarters, and the opportunities to get to know nature in depth. More recently I have witnessed the Center’s dramatic growth and expansion into new mission areas. During all stages of its evolution over its first 50 years, the Nature Center, at its core, has not really changed. Its focus is to establish a love and appreciation for nature in as many people as possible, starting with our youngest citizens. This focus is beneficial for people, plants, animals, and the health of our planet. I believe in this mission now, I will believe in it tomorrow, and I want future generations to also believe in it and work to make it happen. This is why I have included the Nature Center in my estate plans.”

October is National Financial Planning Month, and October 16-22 is this year’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Combined, these two designations remind us of the need to look toward our financial future: How do I best care for myself and my needs for the rest of my life? How do I best look after those closest to me? Can I financially support the nonprofit organizations that mean the most to me, while also taking care of myself and my loved ones? If you need assistance with your estate planning process, a good resource is the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC), which can provide those professionals in our area who have an Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) or Estate Planning Law Specialist (EPLS) designation. 

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