Taylor and Baugh to become Co-Chairs of Jack Creek Preserve Foundation

After founding the Jack Creek Preserve Foundation ten years ago and co-chairing the board during that period of time, Jon Fossel and Dottie Fossel have decided to reduce their roles. Although both will remain on the board, Peggy Taylor and Mike Baugh will become Co-Chairs effective January 1, 2015.

Peggy Taylor will become President and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. Taylor is the Director of the Master of Science in Science Education program (MSSE) at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, coordinating over 40 science and science education faculty in 14 academic departments working with the distance-based program. The program’s reach is nationwide and has become the largest graduate program at MSU.  Taylor will be a valuable resource considering her extensive background in the science education world. Taylor said, “I’m honored to be a part of the future of Jack Creek Preserve.   I am excited about opportunities to expand JCPF educational programs, for children as well as adults, and I look forward to be working with the JCPF Board of Directors to further develop relationships with our neighboring communities.”

Mike Baugh will become Co-Chair of the Board of Directors and brings with him a background in business, conservation and hunter education. He has a long history of involvement with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation where he has been a member for 30 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors. Baugh is also a Bow Hunter Education Instructor for Yellowstone Country and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. He will be an asset in all areas of the Jack Creek Preserve Foundation.  “I am excited about working with Peggy Taylor and all the JCPF board members as we enter 2015 and continue to carry on the passion and dreams envisioned by Jon and Dottie. The future for hunting and conservation is our youth, awareness and education. JCPF can reach more kids and facilitate more research in one incredible location here in the Madison valley of Montana, ” said Baugh.

Jon Fossel said, “I am extremely pleased to have Peggy and Mike step in to the position of Co-Chairs. Their passion for the conservation and education mission of the Jack Creek Preserve will enable the Preserve to achieve even greater successes in the future. “

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.

Jack Creek Preserve Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director and Director of Operations

Pictured from left to right: Katie Coleman and Drew Henrich

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.

10th year

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.”



Jack Creek Preserve Archery Range is Open

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 Provides Support for Low Pass Trail Project

Northwestern Energy Logo

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
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National Trails Weekend

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.


National Trails Day Weekend at the Jack Creek Preserve Foundation: June 7-8

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 register-matthew@jackcreekpreserve.org or call 995-7550.

Vika, Alde, and Jill work on a section of trail