About us

OUR STORY

Romelia Farms is a 36-acre wildlife preserve located on a historic property in Merritt Island, FL. The property itself dates back to the 1890’s, when it operated as an orange grove and later became one of Florida’s first alligator ranches.

When Jeremy and Lina Graves first inquired about the property in late 2020, it most certainly wasn’t because they had any interest in buying a petting zoo. In fact, the only thing they were interested in was leasing the barn as a wedding venue.

However, when they found out about the now former owner’s intention to sell the land and send the animals living on it to auction, they decided they had to act quickly if they were going to save the lives of the 150+ animals who called it their home.

 On July 29th, 2021, the Graves family purchased the property with two core commitments to serve as the foundation of their rescue mission;

1.) The organizational must be established as a 501(c)(3) public charity nonprofit organization, and

2.) They would never take a paycheck from the nonprofit organization as they would never place their needs above the needs of the animals. That was the life they were rescued from and they would never be returned to that world!

Today, these pledges stand as the cornerstone of Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve, serving as a testament to the profound dedication and responsibility upheld by the Graves Family since the beginning.

On day-one Jeremy & Lina realized just how neglected the 150+ animals that called this place home, as well as the property itself had been, as a number of animals were in poor general health, lacking proper enclosures, and missing any kind of quality enrichment. Upon seeing this, they emergently began implementing a variety of necessary and long overdue changes. 

Adjusting diets, rebuilding enclosures, restoring pasture land, and improving the overall quality of life of the animals were just the first items on a very long checklist.

While all of the work has either been accomplished or is currently underway to remedy the immediate and urgent needs, there are many changes that still need to be made in order to provide the desired habitats and enrichment opportunities for the animals that we have the absolute pleasure to care for.

The most expensive part of looking after the animals at our wildlife preserve is the cost of providing high-quality food, water, veterinary care, and enrichment, which is why we created our #FeedTheAnimals fundraising campaign.

#FeedTheAnimals is a campaign focused solely on providing a regular source of funding for these items through monthly individual and corporate recurring donations. If we can get just 1,500 people- less than 1% of the current population of Brevard County- to donate $10 a month to our campaign, it will virtually eliminate the uncertainty that comes with relying on ticket sales to cover these vital expenses.

For more information on how you can help our farm, click the button below!

 

OUR TEAM

LINA GRAVES

PRESIDENT

Lina, our organization’s President, Co-Founder, and catalyst, played a pivotal role in the inception of our 501(c)(3) non-profit initiative. It was her steadfast commitment and unwavering determination that led to the rescue of over 150 animals in need, serving as the driving force and inspiration behind the establishment of Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve.

Prior to taking on the adventure of a lifetime, Lina served as a Corporate Human Resources leader for more than 20 years. During her tenure, Lina was center stage as a national speaker and influential leader in the HR community! Driven by the pursuit of equality, she spearheaded the creation of a model of sustainable workplace culture centered around the principals of diversity, inclusion, & belonging, with a focus on treating team members with care, love, and compassion. The Romelia Farms Team, endearingly referred to as The Romelia Farms Family, is proudly built upon this very principal.

Lina, is a true embodiment of compassion and commitment, especially when it comes to animal rescue. With a deep-rooted belief that leading from the heart is the most rewarding approach to leadership, Lina champions the cause of caring for needy animals of the Space Coast & beyond. Her unwavering dedication extends beyond the boardroom, as she actively educates community partners on the crucial importance of animal welfare and conservation. Lina’s passion for building meaningful relationships is at the core of her leadership philosophy, exemplified by her motto to be kind in every interaction and leave a lasting positive impact on every life she touches. Remarkably, this ethos has seamlessly translated into her most unexpected pursuit to date – Romelia Farms – a testament to her enduring commitment to making a difference in the lives of all beings, great and small.

LINA GRAVES

PRESIDENT

Lina, our organization’s President, Co-Founder, and catalyst, played a pivotal role in the inception of our 501(c)(3) non-profit initiative. It was her steadfast commitment and unwavering determination that led to the rescue of over 150 animals in need, serving as the driving force and inspiration behind the establishment of Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve.

Prior to taking on the adventure of a lifetime, Lina served as a Corporate Human Resources leader for more than 20 years. During her tenure, Lina was center stage as a national speaker and influential leader in the HR community! Driven by the pursuit of equality, she spearheaded the creation of a model of sustainable workplace culture centered around the principals of diversity, inclusion, & belonging, with a focus on treating team members with care, love, and compassion. The Romelia Farms Team, endearingly referred to as The Romelia Farms Family, is proudly built upon this very principal.

Lina, is a true embodiment of compassion and commitment, especially when it comes to animal rescue. With a deep-rooted belief that leading from the heart is the most rewarding approach to leadership, Lina champions the cause of caring for needy animals of the Space Coast & Beyond. Her unwavering dedication extends beyond the boardroom, as she actively educates community partners on the crucial importance of animal welfare and conservation. Lina’s passion for building meaningful relationships is at the core of her leadership philosophy, exemplified by her motto to be kind in every interaction and leave a lasting positive impact on every life she touches. Remarkably, this ethos has seamlessly translated into her most unexpected pursuit to date – Romelia Farms – a testament to her enduring commitment to making a difference in the lives of all beings, great and small.

JEREMY

JEREMY GRAVES

VICE PRESIDENT

As the Vice-President and Co-Founder of our organization, Jeremy’s fervor to champion the cause of animals reflects a deep commitment to their well-being. His passion is an unyielding flame, propelling him with absolute determination to be the voice for the voiceless. Originating from the healthcare industry, Jeremy has earned his stripes as a distinguished leader, successfully orchestrating ventures in integrated dialysis and vascular services for patients in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the United States. While his journey began in healthcare, Jeremy’s mission to enhance lives has expanded beyond industry boundaries, finding a new purpose in the animal care sector.

With over 25 years of leadership spanning operations, finance, and logistics, Jeremy’s diverse experience includes service in the United States Air Force, the US State Department, and numerous thriving startup ventures. Armed with this wealth of experience, Jeremy now spearheads Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve’s operational strategies, steering it with a vision firmly grounded in elevating the lives of every animal under his watch. One of Jeremy’s poignant mottos encapsulates his ethos: “If you ever want to witness gratitude in its purest form, look no further than a rescued animal.” This saying encapsulates the essence of his dedication to fostering a haven for the animals he has the absolute privilege to care for.

JEREMY

JEREMY GRAVES

VICE PRESIDENT

As the Vice-President and Co-Founder of our organization, Jeremy’s fervor to champion the cause of animals reflects a deep commitment to their well-being. His passion is an unyielding flame, propelling him with absolute determination to be the voice for the voiceless. Originating from the healthcare industry, Jeremy has earned his stripes as a distinguished leader, successfully orchestrating ventures in integrated dialysis and vascular services for patients in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the United States. While his journey began in healthcare, Jeremy’s mission to enhance lives has expanded beyond industry boundaries, finding a new purpose in the animal care sector.

With over 25 years of leadership spanning operations, finance, and logistics, Jeremy’s diverse experience includes service in the United States Air Force, the US State Department, and numerous thriving startup ventures. Armed with this wealth of experience, Jeremy now spearheads Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve’s operational strategies, steering it with a vision firmly grounded in elevating the lives of every animal under his watch. One of Jeremy’s poignant mottos encapsulates his ethos: “If you ever want to witness gratitude in its purest form, look no further than a rescued animal.” This saying embodies the essence of his dedication to fostering a haven for the animals he has the absolute privilege to care for.

CARLY OSSWALD

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Carly plays a crucial role in advancing the mission of Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve, embodying a deep passion for animals, community service, and family. Her commitment to our cause is truly remarkable, and she recently added to her family a beautiful dog named Sophia through a heartfelt rescue of her own. Carly, an integral member since joining the Romelia Farms Family in October 2023, quickly found a sense of belonging. In addition to her dedication to animal rescue and conservation, Carly is a proud wife and mother, finding immense joy in spending quality time with her 9 year-old daughter Nora, and husband, Jared.

In her involvement with the community, she serves as a committee member for the Down Syndrome Association of Brevard, working tirelessly to promote awareness and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Additionally, she has the honor of chairing Visit Cocoa Beach, where she contributes to showcasing the beauty and charm of our coastal town. 

Carly is a dedicated advocate in the realm of animal rescue. With an unparalleled drive to prevent animal suffering, she invests herself fully as the resounding voice for the animals! Carly echoes her profound commitment to the animals of Romelia Farms within the communities she partners with. Leveraging her extensive managerial experience from overseeing dental practices, Carly brings a unique perspective and contagious enthusiasm to our team. She actively engages the community in our vital mission of creating a haven for those who cannot speak for themselves.

CARLY OSSWALD

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Carly plays a crucial role in advancing the mission of Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve, embodying a deep passion for animals, community service, and family. Her commitment to our cause is truly remarkable, and she recently added to her family a beautiful dog named Sophia through a heartfelt rescue of her own. Carly, an integral member since joining the Romelia Farms Family in October 2023, quickly found a sense of belonging. In addition to her dedication to animal rescue and conservation, Carly is a proud wife and mother, finding immense joy in spending quality time with her 9 year-old daughter Nora, and husband, Jared.

In her involvement with the community, she serves as a committee member for the Down Syndrome Association of Brevard, working tirelessly to promote awareness and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Additionally, she has the honor of chairing Visit Cocoa Beach, where she contributes to showcasing the beauty and charm of our coastal town. 

Carly is a dedicated advocate in the realm of animal rescue. With an unparalleled drive to prevent animal suffering, she invests herself fully as the resounding voice for the animals! Carly echoes her profound commitment to the animals of Romelia Farms within the communities she partners with. Leveraging her extensive managerial experience from overseeing dental practices, Carly brings a unique perspective and contagious enthusiasm to our team. She actively engages the community in our vital mission of creating a haven for those who cannot speak for themselves.

SAMANTHA SKINNER

LEAD MANAGER, ANIMAL CARE

Born and raised amidst the captivating landscapes of Florida’s Space Coast, Samantha has woven her life’s narrative around a profound love for animals and a commitment to their conservation. A graduate of Titusville High School in 2012, Samantha dedicated her high school years to volunteering for the Brevard SPCA, laying the foundation for a lifelong journey of compassion and care.

Embarking on an academic adventure at the University of Florida, Samantha earned her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, a testament to her dedication to understanding and safeguarding the delicate balance of ecosystems.

Since 2018, Samantha has been working tirelessly with the farm’s incredible animal residents. Her commitment shone brightly during a pivotal transition when Romelia Farms stepped in to rescue both the farm and its cherished animals in 2021. Beyond her professional pursuits, Samantha, a mother of a two-year-old daughter, finds joy in family moments, vegetarian cuisine, hiking, and off-roading.

HANNAH STUCKO

MANAGER, ANIMAL CARE

Hannah brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep passion for animal well-being to her role at Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve. Currently residing on the Space Coast with her husband and new baby girl as well as her two Australian Cattle Dogs and majestic Thoroughbred horse, Tiny, Hannah’s journey into animal care started in upstate New York where in 2015, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Equine Science with a specialized focus on rehabilitation from SUNY Morrisville.

Since 2020, Hannah has devoted herself relentlessly to ensuring the welfare of the farm’s extraordinary animal residents. Her steadfast commitment became particularly pronounced during a pivotal period in 2021 when Romelia Farms intervened to rescue both the farm and its beloved animals. Her extensive background in Equine Science, coupled with her genuine love for animals, makes her a valuable asset to the preserve. Whether it’s tending to the unique needs of the farm’s equine and other incredible animal population, discovering and contributing to the farm’s ecosystem through agricultural pursuits in horticulture and aquaculture, or leading local volunteer organizations in support of our collective passion for the farm’s ecological sustainability, Hannah’s dedication is a driving force behind the exceptional culture of care that defines the Romelia Farms experience.

HANNAH STUCKO

MANAGER, ANIMAL CARE

Hannah brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep passion for animal well-being to her role at Romelia Farms Wildlife Preserve. Currently residing on the Space Coast with her husband and new baby girl as well as her two Australian Cattle Dogs and majestic Thoroughbred horse, Tiny, Hannah’s journey into animal care started in upstate New York where in 2015, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Equine Science with a specialized focus on rehabilitation from SUNY Morrisville.

Since 2020, Hannah has devoted herself relentlessly to ensuring the welfare of the farm’s extraordinary animal residents. Her steadfast commitment became particularly pronounced during a pivotal period in 2021 when Romelia Farms intervened to rescue both the farm and its beloved animals. Her extensive background in Equine Science, coupled with her genuine love for animals, makes her a valuable asset to the preserve. Whether it’s tending to the unique needs of the farm’s equine and other incredible animal population, discovering and contributing to the farm’s ecosystem through agricultural pursuits in horticulture and aquaculture, or leading local volunteer organizations in support of our collective passion for the farm’s ecological sustainability, Hannah’s dedication is a driving force behind the exceptional culture of care that defines the Romelia Farms experience.