FCG Staff

Julie Morris
Executive Director

Julie Morris has over 25 years of experience in the Florida conservation field and has a wide range of experience—from working as a research wildlife biologist and land manager to implementing land protection and developing conservation policy at regional, state, and federal levels.

Julie founded the Florida Conservation Group (FCG) in 2015 with fellow ranchers and scientists. Through FCG, she has represented private landowners in the conservation of over 65,000 acres of land and has represented government entities in the conservation of many thousands of additional acres.

Julie has worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop and implement incentives-based conservation efforts, including a payments-for-ecosystem services pilot project for gopher tortoises and Florida panther habitat and corridor protection planning. She held leadership roles in the Southwest Florida Conservation Blueprint pilot project for FWC, the protection of the USFWS Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area, the development of the Southwest Florida Landscape Conservation Design for the USFWS and the establishment of the USFWS Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area.

Julie works with all levels of government agencies and private entities to develop conservation plans for protected wildlife species, identify high-priority ecological landscapes, and develop conservation and strategies and incentives programs. She is also engaged in state and federal conservation policymaking, community education, and on the ground outreach. She is an expert in developing and implementing land acquisition programs, from program design to implementation. Julie has extensive expertise and experience in land acquisition and easement programs, agricultural cost-share programs and  payment for ecosystem services programs. Her passion is assisting landowners in protecting their natural and agricultural lands.

Julie holds a Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Rollins College. She runs her own cow-calf operation in the Myakka Valley.

Laura Wolfe
Laura Wolfe
Director of Operations

Bio Coming Soon.

Erik Moretuzzo
Ranchland Management Specialist

Erik Moretuzzo is a Ranchland Management Specialist. He lives in Lithia, Florida with his wife of 10 years, Mahaley, and son Eli. Erik received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources from The University of Florida. Erik also received his graduate degree in Agronomy and Soil Science from Auburn University.

Erik is the current President of the Hillsborough Cattlemen’s Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, The Florida Strawberry Festival Beef Breeds Show, The Hillsborough Beef Expo, and The Hillsborough Cattlemen’s Foundation.

Erik previously worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture Office of Ag Water Policy BMP Program, implementing Best Management Practices on farms and ranches in Central and South Florida. Erik also performed land management on environmentally sensitive lands with prescribed fire, chemical, and mechanical methods for Hillsborough County Environmental Lands Management and Polk County Environmental Lands Management.

Eriks goal is to assist Florida ranchers and landowners utilize sound management practices on their lands to be as profitable and environmentally friendly as possible.

Avery Owens
Avery Owens
Conservation Associate

Bio Coming Soon.

keith rowell
Keith Rowell
Manager of North Florida Conservation Initiatives

Keith Rowell, Manager of North Florida Conservation Initiatives for FCG, is a seventh generation Floridian with over 40 years of professional experience in land conservation, real estate and land surveying.

Keith was raised in agriculture and manages his family’s agricultural properties in North Florida, where his family has lived since the 1830s.

Before joining FCG, Keith worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service. He directed the Land Planning and Administration team in the Director’s office where he was responsible for the department’s Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP). In that role, he brought in private, state and federal partners to provide matching funding that increased the RFLPP protected properties by more than 22,000 acres. Keith also oversaw the Forest Legacy Program, the Florida Forever Program project selection, evaluation and ranking, and the Florida Forest Service’s acquisition and land management planning. Keith served on the Florida Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) as the Director’s representative.

Keith also worked with the Suwannee River Water Management District where he managed the district’s land acquisition program acquiring several thousand acres of critical water resource and springs protection properties.

His career in real estate advising, site selection and design, and land surveying has resulted in the growth of sustainable agricultural and forestry operations throughout Florida. Keith has a passion for agricultural conservation and sustainability.

Courtney Darling
Courtney Darling
Ranchland Management Specialist

Courtney Darling received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida where she majored in Sustainable Food Systems within the Department of Agronomy. She continued her studies at UF by obtaining a Master’s degree in Agronomy with a specialization in Weed Science. Her graduate work focused on the tolerance of Bermudagrass to glyphosate and use of ALS inhibiting herbicides on perennial grass control. It was also at UF where she met her husband and started a family owned and operated hay farm where they grow perennial peanut for a niche horse market. After her schooling she accepted a position as the UF/IFAS Suwannee County Agriculture and Natural Recourses Extension Agent with a concentration in livestock, forages, and natural resources. She later transitioned into a new role as Communications Manager at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. During this role she coordinated their statewide County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) program which publicly recognizes farmers and ranchers who strive to protect Florida’s natural resources through the implantation of Best Management Practices. She is excited to continue her passion for sustainable agriculture in her new position as a Ranchland Management Specialist with Florida Conservation Group where she will be able to assist ranchers in implementing grazing plans that improve water quality and quantity.

joe hughes
Walter Joe Hughes
Ranchland Management Specialist

Joe joined FCG in April 2024. He is a native Texan with a background in Range Science and Land Reclamation and Remediation. Joe received his Bachelor of Science degree in Range Science from Texas A&M University and received his Master of Education degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin.

 Joe served as a Rangeland Management Specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and as a Range Technician with the Bureau of Land Management.  Joe has extensive experience in the development of resource management and conservation plans, inventory and utilization monitoring for analyzing ranch resources and the planning and designing of prescribed grazing management plans for ranchers and landowners.

Joe enjoys traveling, sporting events, fishing, wildlife photography and coaching youth sports.   Joe is passionate about conservation and ethical land stewardship providing resources to landowners that improve the management and preservation of diverse ecosystems and rangeland.

Brian Broxson
Special Projects Manager
Bio Coming Soon.