We recently announced our new leadership team: Executive Director Cara Marker-Morgan and Deputy Director Lance Brisbois. This week, meet several new staff who have joined the team within the last few months. You can find info about all our team members here.
Jamie Smidt Fowler
Local Foods Coordinator
Jamie joined Golden Hills in 2022. She grew up in Casper, Wyoming, developing a love of Southwest Iowa while visiting grandparents and friends. She attended the University of Montana, in Missoula, where she obtained a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Her areas of study ranged from native plant restoration and sustainable agriculture to environmental politics and policy.
Jamie loves all things plants. Her relationship with the green world began as a youngster in Casper working on her father’s tree and vegetable farm. During her time in Missoula, she managed a bustling, locally-owned greenhouse and later maintained her own gardening business.
She continues to follow her passion for plants through her hobbies of growing food, studying plant medicine, which she believes should be accessible to everyone, and serving on the Shenandoah Tree Board. She can often be found sharing her plant knowledge regionally through foraging walks and informational talks.
In 2013, Jamie and her husband, Jean-Paul, decided to escape the smokey summers of the West by moving to Shenandoah, a halfway point between their hometowns. They have an elementary aged daughter, Elke, who also loves to spend time outdoors.
Seth joined Golden Hills RC&D in 2022 as a project coordinator focusing on scenic byways, local foods, and other projects. A native of Fremont, Nebraska, he has a B.A. in Political Science from Creighton University and a B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Seth has worked as a political organizer in western Iowa, Colorado, and southeast Asia. From 2013 until 2020, Seth lived in Spain where he worked as an English teacher. Upon returning to the United States, Seth has worked as a program instructor at the North Cascades Institute in Washington and most recently as a conservation technician at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska. Additionally, Seth writes hiking guidebooks, with the following titles to be published by Falcon Guides: Hiking Nebraska in 2023. Hiking Iowa in 2024, and Hiking Kansas in 2024. In his free time, Seth enjoys photography, reading, and exploring the Loess Hills with his dog Jasper.
Shaun joined Golden Hills in 2022 with work focusing on watershed management projects. A native of Ankeny, IA in the Des Moines metro area, he graduated with a B.S. in Community & Regional Planning and Environmental Studies from Iowa State University. After serving two AmeriCorps terms with Conservation Corps of Iowa 2017-2018 doing habitat restoration and volunteering as a Natural Resources Steward for Polk County Conservation starting in 2019 while working for a Des Moines company doing tree care, he then moved to southwest Iowa. Volunteer opportunities to continue his passion of doing that natural resource conservation work and the close proximity to the Loess Hills were appealing factors to make that move to Council Bluffs in April 2021. Living there, he enjoys doing that volunteer work with a few area conservation organizations primarily at Hitchcock Nature Center for Pottawattamie County Conservation and Vincent Bluff Prairie State Preserve in Council Bluffs. He enjoys exploring the Loess Hills or other nearby natural areas and also cheering on the Ankeny Hawks, Iowa State Cyclones, Chicago Bears, and White Sox.
Jackie is a native of Southwest Iowa, graduating from Riverside in Oakland. She attended Iowa Western Community College and worked at Riverside Community School District for 12 years before joining the Golden Hills team. She currently resides in Harlan with her fiance, Nate, their 4 daughters Carly, Brylei, Layla, and Brecklin, and their two dogs, Marv and Ella. In her free time, Jackie enjoys photography and singing. She has been singing since she was a young girl and is currently in an Acoustic Duo called Riverside Drive that travels all over Southwest Iowa to perform. She has sang the National Anthem for many events locally, but she has also been selected to sing for the University of Nebraska at Omaha sporting events, the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and the College World Series! Jackie also got her first motorcycle in the summer of 2022 and enjoys riding her motorcycle with Nate in the Loess Hills and throughout Southwest Iowa.
Board of Directors Updates
Additionally, we have new members and changes within our Board of Directors. Steve Baier from Cass County is our new Board Chair and Kathy Fiscus from West Pottawattamie County is Vice Chair. New board member Susan Miller from East Pottawattamie is now treasurer, and Sheryl Sanders from Fremont County is continuing as Secretary. Brian Rife is the new Harrison County representative.
Learn more about all our board members at goldenhillsrcd.org/board