Rich Patterson

Rich Patterson

CEDAR RAPIDS – Rich Patterson will take on a different role at the Indian Creek Nature Center’s upcoming Maple Syrup Festival.

Patterson is officially ending his career at the Nature Center on Feb. 28 and will be volunteering both mornings at the 2014 Syrup Fest on Saturday, March 1, and Sunday, March 2.

He and his wife, Marion, are starting a new business venture called Winding Pathways LLC, which will incorporate natural landscaping, growing and harvesting food and other areas in which they are passionate.

Meanwhile, the Nature Center noted the 31st annual Maple Syrup Festival  will feature a special celebration for the retiring director, after 36 years of service to the Nature Center.

A young visitor takes a bit of a pancake at the 2013 Maple Syrup Festival at the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This year's festival will be March 1 and 2. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A young visitor takes a bite of a pancake at the 2013 Maple Syrup Festival at the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This year’s festival will be March 1 and 2. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Attendees of the Maple Syrup Festival will have the opportunity to wish Rich Patterson a special farewell as this is his last official Festival.  A special video highlight of Rich’s career will be presented throughout the Festival and selected accomplishments will be recognized.  In January 2014, the Nature Center board of directors appointed Rich to Director Emeritus.

The Maple Syrup Festival will be open 8:30 am-12:30 pm each day at the Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE.  At the door, tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 4-12 and includes pancakes, sausage, and the Nature Center’s very own handmade maple syrup.  To many, the Maple Syrup Festival marks the beginning of spring.  This year’s festival will feature live music, syrup making demonstrations, and hands on activities for kids. Reduced priced tickets can be purchased online at until Thursday, February 27.

Patterson sent the following note about the end of his career and his new venture: “Folks,  After a 39 year career as director of two different nature centers I will leave employment on February 28.

The Indian Creek Nature Center board put a succession plan in place about a year ago and hired John Myers as new executive director.  He is doing well and the organization is in good hands.

I thank you for the help and friendship you’ve given me over the years.    Not going away.  I start as a nature center volunteer March 1 and 2 at the Maple Syrup Festival.  If you’d like to come by, have breakfast, and shake my hand please do.   Mornings each day.  Hope to see you.”

 Here is more about Winding Pathways LLC:

A new business has formed to encourage people to transform their yard and home to enhance natural beauty, stimulate curiosity, and provide economic benefit while yielding exercise, peace, and satisfaction.

WINDING PATHWAYS LLC will be based from the home of Marion and Rich Patterson in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and will incorporate elements they have advocated for the past four decades including natural landscaping, children’s playscapes, attracting diverse wildlife, growing and harvesting food, and creating places of contemplation and solitude in the yard.

Rich Patterson recently completed a 39 year career as director of two privately funded nature centers. His many successful endeavors include ecological restoration, energy efficiency, environmental education, and outdoor recreation.

Marion Patterson has taught in public schools and colleges in Massachusetts, Idaho and Iowa. She is a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth facilitator and Usui/Tibetan REIKI master practitioner. She has extensive experience in natural landscaping, foraging, writing and involving children in nature.

The Pattersons raised two children in a suburban yard that they shared with a diversity of native plants, wildlife, a large vegetable garden, and a small flock of chickens. Their children delighted playing in the yard and helped produce food.

Winding Pathways LLC will incorporate blogging, writing, and consulting with a dynamic website that provides frequently updated tips on how to topics like how to produce food in the yard, reduce energy costs, create playscapes, and incorporate native plants. The website will launch in spring 2014.

The Pattersons are available to consult in such diverse areas as ecological restoration, ecological assessments, and labyrinth planning. They can be reached at:

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