2016 Minnie Rubek Staff Excellence Award

Jean Wiedenheft
Land Stewardship Director
Indian Creek Nature Center

Jean continually displays and hones a myriad of talents and skills while paving the way toward a remarkable future for Indian Creek Nature Center. For more than 15 years she has managed hundreds of acres of land and the facilities of the Nature Center. She has established and built relationships with volunteer groups ranging from middle school biology classes to business teams. Jean delights in learning about the land and the plants and animals nourished by it, and enjoys passing that knowledge on for others to absorb, appreciate, and do in their own spaces.

In December 2013, Jean accepted a promotion to Land Stewardship Director and a second, temporary position as Project Manager for the Amazing Space building and campus initiative. From start to finish, Jean was integral in planning, brainstorming, and implementing the Amazing Space project. No part of Amazing Space was completed without her direct oversight and focus. She worked with the Nature Center’s Building Committee, contractors, and numerous subcontractors to make the best possible decisions to end up with facilities that were completed on time while putting the organization’s best, most innovative foot forward. She has neither hesitated nor complained about maintaining her regular duties while serving as Project Manager.

The Amazing Space has recently been revealed to visitors, and the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Jean has put so much into this project, which brings the outdoors in, encourages hands-on exploration of elements both inside and out, and showcases the best in energy efficiency and building techniques. Amazing Space drives the organization, Eastern Iowa, the Midwest, and the United States into a truly sustainable world, out of necessity for the wellbeing of present and future generations. None of this would be possible without Jean and her remarkable dedication.

Jean is a quiet leader who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. She possesses an exceptional work ethic and great respect for others, which she demonstrates with careful listening and consideration of other points of view. Jean encourages collaboration, drawing others into her sphere to make the best possible decisions, resulting in buy-in and excellent outcomes. As an active participant on the Nature Center’s leadership team, Jean displays great ability to think strategically, and then carry out decisions with laser-focused planning and execution.