Ennis School Constructs Sign for Outdoor Ed. Center
From left to right: Marc Elser, Race Owens, Chris McCown, and Levi Coder (Dottie Fossel Photo)
Co-chairs of Jack Creek Preserve Foundation (JCPF), Jon Fossel and Dottie Fossel stated how grateful they were to Ennis School shop teacher, Chris McCown and his students for constructing a sign for the Preserve’s Jon S. Fossel Outdoor Education Center. Marc Elser, a retired Ennis School science and math teacher and one of JCPF founding board members, who recently retired after 10 years of service, assisted with the completion of the sign.
Mr. McCown explained that in order to construct the sign, students used a computer numerated control machine. Livi Coder stated, “It was a fun project to work on.” Race Owens added that it was challenge, “We broke four router bits completing the project.” In shop class the students also learn wood working, welding and drafting. The students have also made several other signs for community organizations.
The OEC has held classes this past summer for Aerie Wilderness Medicine and Montana State University, and has hosted several other groups, including Kyms Kids, and the Yellowstone Club Youth Services. Please visit jackcreekpreserve.org, or call 995-7550 for more information on JCPF’s facilities or programs.
Pictured from left to right: Katie Coleman and Drew Henrich
The Jack Creek Preserve Foundation is excited to announce and welcome their new Executive Director, Katie Coleman as well as new Director of Operations, Drew Henrich.
Katie has a B.S. in General Biology from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama and a B.S. in Secondary Education with a focus in Science from Montana State University. Katie has lived and worked in Big Sky since 1999 and for the last ten years was Camp Director for Camp Big Sky and for the last four years was Ophir After School Program Coordinator.
Coleman says “I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about the Preserve and all that it has to offer the surrounding communities, as well as, share the Preserve with the public through programming and recreation opportunities. I am fortunate to be in a position that allows me to expand my career, learn more about my natural surroundings and share that with others.”
Drew’s responsibilities include the oversight of activities occurring on the Preserve and the proper functioning and maintenance of all buildings and improvements located on the Preserve. Drew graduated from Bowling Green State University with a B.S. in Environmental Policy & Analysis with emphasis on Ecological Restoration. Drew moved to Big Sky in 1999 and has been living in the Madison Valley with his family since 2011. His experience in construction, land management and environmental education is a valuable asset to the team. Henrich says “I am excited about developing Jack Creek Preserve’s relationship with MSU and local school groups, increasing science education from the elementary to the masters level. “
Jack Creek Preserve Celebrates 10 Years!
Initially the brainchild of Jon and Dottie Fossel, Jack Creek Preserve was developed to provide youths a hands-on opportunity to participate with nature in a wilderness atmosphere. By dedicating 4600 acres, the Fossel family is sharing this ecologically significant habitat with others via various programs. One of the most important is the camp program for youths ages 12 -18 which educates attendees about wildlife, habitat, hunting and conservation. In 2005 there were 26 kids that joined in the fun and in 2014 two camps hosted 106 from as far away as Virginia. In that 10 year timeframe over 600 young people from 20 states have participated thanks to efforts of gracious volunteers and benefactors.
Pictured left to right: David Holder, Ladonna Maxwell, and Jon Fossel
Since the humble beginnings, the Jack Creek Ranch Foundation has expanded its reach with the construction of the 3,000 square foot Jon S. Fossel Education Center in 2013. This facility will expand the teaching opportunities to deepen the understanding of the role that humans have in conservation and management of wildlife habitat and promote safe and ethical hunting as a wildlife conservation tool. A new relationship with Montana State University also provides a venue for college students to perform research work in the field. All this is best explained with JCP’s mission statement:
“Dedicated to giving people a deep appreciation for the importance of conserving wildlife and their habitat by providing a wide array of educational opportunities focused on the positive values of wildlife management, land stewardship and hunter conservationists.”
It is that time of the year again. Have you taken your bow out yet and let some arrows fly? Jack Creek Preserve’s archery range is now open and ready to go. We have eleven different foam animal targets set up along a path and some targets for practicing by our archery shed. Just park by the Archery Range sign just past mile 8 on the Jack Creek Road. The range will be available Wednesday from 5 – 8pm plus Saturday and Sunday from 9 – 8pm. Stop at Shedhorn Sports in Ennis to get the pass and the gate code. If you are in Big Sky swing by Gallatin Alpine Sports (GAS). Each pass is only good for one trip to the archery range but come as many times as you would like. While you are at our preserve, bring a lunch and take a hike, or check out our new Outdoor Education Center! Archery season is right around the corner, and sometimes you only get one shot, so make it count!
NorthWestern Energy employees joined on Friday the 13th to perform trail work and install signposts on the new Low Pass interpretive nature trail linking the north and south sections of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness on the Jack Creek Preserve between Big Sky and Ennis.
The volunteer work came in addition to NorthWestern donating more than $14,000 to the project, through its Community Works program. Many thanks to NorthWestern Energy! (Photos by Susan Malee)
Link to Full Press Release
Over twenty volunteers attended our National Trails Weekend at the Preserve! We completed some major projects, including digging tread for our new Low Pass Trail and building bridges! Stay tuned to future volunteer events this summer and fall.
Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8 from 9am-5pm will be Jack Creek Preserve Foundation’s National Trails Day Weekend at their preserve in Big Sky. Participants will help clean up trails, build raised bed gardens and assist with various projects around the new Education Center. The preserve features expansive views overlooking Fan and Lone Mountains and serves as a wildlife corridor between the northern and southern sections of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Lunch will be provided at the Education Center and will give participants an opportunity to explore what the Preserve has to offer. Please contact us to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 995-7550.
As of 5/28/14 – July Camp is Full. There are 16 spots open for August Camp!
Camp is open for ages 12-18. You must send payment and completed registration form for your spot to be secured.
2014 Jack Creek Preserve Summer Youth Camp Registration Form
Please check back on the website May 1st for registration forms.
With the Outdoor Education building construction completed this past fall, we will be moving forward to some other exciting projects to expand upon our programming at Jack Creek Preserve Foundation. One of the major projects that we will be working on is installing interpretive signage on the ADA assessable trail that loops around the Ed. Center. We expect that there will be ten different stops on this trail; educating visitors about water quality monitoring, fauna and flora, etc.
We are also planning to restore a two mile section of a decommissioned US forest Service trail to connect to Jack Creek Trail south of Hammond’s knob. The trail will provide access from Spanish Peaks over to Fan Mountain. We will also be working on some landscaping around the Ed. Center and some other smaller projects, including a raised bed garden and creating a small swimming pool in the creek. We will be holding a volunteer work day on the first Saturday in June, and need your help to complete these projects.
If you or anyone you know that is interesting in volunteering or donating trail building equipment – please contact Matthew Piper.