It’s an Amazing Space and We’re Going Back!


This weekend we had the opportunity to socialize, walk around, explore, play, and enjoy Indian Creek Nature Center’s Amazing Space made possible by the contributions of many donors!

We caught wind of Indian Creek Nature Center a couple of months ago through a personal friend of ours. Over coffee she exclaimed… “Oh you have to go visit the people at Indian Creek, they are doing a fantastic job, and I hear they are building a new space for classes, operations, and more!”

Least to say I was interested to find out more. After a night of ‘Googling’ Indian Creek Nature Center and what they were all about I was sure that TreePans needed to become involved!

After exchanging a few emails, I was invited out to see Indian Creek Nature Center (ICNC) and go on a private tour of the grounds, led by Lindsey Flannery and Andrea Blaha. Although I have not had the opportunity to meet the entire staff, I would have to suggest that all tours and meetings be led by these two women! – They are so passionate about the history of Indian Creek, the community they serve, and the direction where ICNC is heading! In the end donated TreePans to help protect some of the recently planted trees on the property.

It was incredible to find out that ICNC has been operating out of a barn since the 1970’s, but the barn itself was built in 1849!

What is Indian Creek all about?

Indian Creek focuses on the teaching of stewardship to younger generations, in hopes that through education we can better protect our environment!

Indian Creek’s Mission

“At Indian Creek Nature Center, we create champions of nature. What does this mean? We connect people to nature as early and as frequently as possible to breed understanding and passion for the natural world. We believe that connecting children to nature is especially important because people who are passionate about nature as children will grow into adults who work to protect it. They will become the next generation of environmental stewards.”

Just as their mission suggests, ICNC loves the opportunity to work with children and younger generations. There are plenty of ways to get involved with ICNC whether you are looking for yourself or a large group.

Summer Camps – Field Trips – Volunteer Opportunities – Educational Events – Group Experiences

Indian Creek Nature Center is a great place to bring family, friends, co-workers, and especially children. ICNC offers many programs for schools for kids of any age group! Check out their Programs Page to lear more about how you can volunteer, support, and get involved!

Net Zero – Living Building Challenge

ICNC has taken on the challenge of creating and maintaining a Living Building. This is a fairly new program with only 5 buildings operating as living buildings in the nation! Many people have heard of LEED certified buildings, imagine that on steroids! Living Building is better described as “breaking through the barriers of conventional building practices and the standards set by other sustainable initiatives, including the U.S Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system”

Indian Creek must hold itself to 7 standards to even be considered for approval in the Living Building Challenge.

  1. Site – restoring a healthy coexistence with nature

  2. Water – creating, water independent sites, buildings, and communities

  3. Energy – relying only on current solar income

  4. Health – maximizing physical and psychological health and well-being

  5. Materials – endorsing products and processes which are safe for all species through time

  6. Equity – supporting a just, equitable world

  7. Beauty – celebrating design that supports transformative change

If you would like to learn more about how ICNC is successfully accomplishing these 7 standards and more, click here.

Opening Weekend

This past weekend was 3.5 days of events, tours, music, food, and nature! Starting Thursday evening there was a farm-to-table dinner, followed by a multitude of events throughout the weekend to unveil and showcase the amazing space to visitors from all over!

When you arrive at Indian Creek, it is clear to see that this is no ordinary building. Nestled back against the tree line, the building is both covered and surrounded by state-of-the-art solar panels. There is a small pond to the left of the building that will someday inhabit fish, but for now is home to many toads and one curious turtle. Next to the pond there is an outdoor seating and events area, this is where a bluegrass band was playing on the Friday that we visited. Many people were congregating and sitting comfortably in wooden rocking chairs, taking in the beautiful weather and bird watching. Speaking of bird watching, behind the building there is about 15 yards of open space with scattered bird feeders, encased in glass there is a “bird atrium” where you can comfortably sit to watch and listen to the birds outside. On the side of the building there are microphones that will project the outside sounds through speakers on the inside of the atrium – this is such a peaceful place to sit, meet, or meditate!

On the West wing of the building, there are many classrooms and conference rooms, these rooms may be reserved or rented for any activity that you or others may want to use the rooms for. Simply contact ICNC ahead of time and they will hold the rooms for you!

Other areas worth mentioning…..

  • a large dining room

  • chefs kitchen

  • mud room

  • butterfly tent

  • trails for miles

  • outdoor amphitheater

  • rentable equipment

  • Creekside shop

  • and much much more!

We hope that you take time to visit the Amazing Space that is Indian Creek Nature Center. I know that we will be returning to help volunteer, or perhaps enjoy the Maple Syrup Festival in March! This is a huge step for Iowa / ICNC for sustainability and I personally am so happy that it is happening so close to home!