Dr. Floyd Sandford, emeritus professor of biology at Coe College, served on the steering committee that launched the Indian Creek Nature Center (1972), as well as on ICNC’s first several boards of directors (1973-’79). His board service occurred while he was launching his Coe career and expanding the “repertoire” of class subjects he taught – eventually to generations of students – during an especially busy time in his life. This longtime, dedicated environmentalist recently visited Amazing Space to share with us how he has been connected with the organization over the years.
One major memory stands out for Floyd from those early days of the fledgling Nature Center: “Along with ICNC Founders BB Stamats and Jean O’Donnell, Bob Yaw (ICNC board member in 1973-’74 and trustees chairman beginning in 1976) and I met periodically regarding the plans for ICNC, and were responsible for hiring the first director, Curt Abdouch. I remember meeting out here – at the Penningroth Barn – and interviewing Curt.”
Floyd also brought classes to the Nature Center after he and fellow Coe professor Stan Watkins established the environmental studies concentration in the late 1970s. “We team-taught the Introduction to Environmental Studies course, and eventually I took it over. I took the students on field trips every year, to Prairiewoods and then the Nature Center. At ICNC we went first to the barn for a sort of orientation. Rich Patterson was leading the Nature Center then. He talked about the philosophy of the Nature Center, and briefly how the organization started and what they were trying to accomplish. And then we walked one of the trails. I talked a bit about sustainability and the Native American philosophy of living with the earth instead of against it, and that sort of thing. Field trips were hard to run using just our class period. Time was tight.”
These days Floyd still connects with the Nature Center, but in different ways than he did four and five decades ago. “I come out here and walk the trails a lot. I find walking in the woods restorative, so I usually walk the woodland trails. A few years ago my Optimist Club (Thursday Noon) donated a flow hive to the Center. And I occasionally get out here to programs, though not as often as I’d like.
“I’m glad the Nature Center is part of our community. I think what the Nature Center does is wonderful: that young people learn about sustainability and environmental consciousness and the philosophy of living lightly on Earth, and all the other ways you increase awareness of the natural world and why it’s so important to us. So although I’m not active out here like I was in the beginning, I think what you’re doing is terrific.”