Cara Marker-Morgan joined Golden Hills RC&D in 2017 as the Watershed Coordinator and most recently promoted to Executive Director in 2022. Cara attended highschool in southwest Iowa then went on to college at Peru State College majoring in Wildlife Ecology/Biology. Cara found herself in retail management from 1997 until 2005 where she managed both single and multi-unit in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa. Cara returned to Peru State where she received a BS in Management and Marketing. In 2008 Cara was elected County Supervisor in Fremont County where she was afforded the opportunity to be a part of many boards including Chair of the Iowa State Assn. of County Supervisors, LHDCA, Loess Hills Alliance, and Hungry Canyons Alliance. Cara is certified in grant writing as well as a Community Heart and Soul Coach. Cara and her husband Brandon have 3 children, Mavryc, Czandrya, and Cytara. Cara and her family love the rural life living in the Loess Hills enjoying the outdoors and taking advantage of everything southwest Iowa has to offer.
Lance grew up in Harrison County and started with Golden Hills in 2014.
He has a bachelor's degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha . Lance leads a variety of projects focusing on wildlife habitat and low-impact outdoor recreation. He also does much of the website and social media work for Golden Hills. He is on the board of directors for the Iowa chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Iowa Prairie Network, Pottawattamie County Trails Association, and chair of the Loess Hills Alliance Stewardship Committee. Lance currently lives in the Loess Hills and enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible.
Rebecca Castle Laughlin
Rebecca joined Golden Hills in 2017. A Southwest Iowa native, she graduated from Farragut High School and went on to receive a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. Since returning ‘home’ to southwest Iowa in 2007 she has been heavily involved with the Wabash Trace Nature Trail and the community of Imogene, as well as other business and non-profit endeavors in the area. She enjoys spending time outside and helping on the family farm with her husband Jerry and their sons Owen, Ethan, Solon and Grayson.
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.
Hungry Canyons Alliance
John has led the Hungry Canyons Alliance since 2000. His work revolves around stream channel instability, gully erosion, and grade control. He has a B.S. in geology and environmental sciences from Cornell College, a master’s degree in geology and water resources from Iowa State University, and a master’s degree in civil engineering (hydraulics) from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, he is very active in his church and coaches his kids in their sports (soccer and wrestling). John lives in Council Bluffs and enjoys time with his wife Angie and their four children.
Dawn started with Golden Hills in 2006 working on the SIRE (Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy) project and has since been involved with various projects. Dawn and husband Paul farm near Hancock and are owner/operators of the carwash in Oakland. They have three children. She enjoys volunteering at church and 4-H activities and sewing.
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.
Tourism & Marketing Assistant
no contact info known
Sasquatch joined Golden Hills in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is occasionally spotted at parks and wildlife areas in western Iowa but nearly impossible to track down. If you see him, please contact us. We have some questions.
712 South Highway Street
P.O. Box 189
Oakland, IA 51560
General inquiries: email@example.com
Visit our Staff Page for email addresses and office hours.