Episode 249 – Advocating for Our wildlife with Kristin Combs

By Michael Moeri | 07/06/2023 |

Kristin Combs is the Executive Director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. In this episode, Kristin shares her background and the journey that led her to Jackson Hole, fueled by her love for nature and animals. They discuss the importance of wildlife conservation and the unique wildlife species found in the area.

Kristin sheds light on the challenges faced by wildlife populations and the efforts being made to protect them. They delve into the topic of wolves and the cultural influences that have shaped public opinion about these majestic creatures. Kristin highlights the work of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates in advocating for wildlife, educating the public, and implementing programs to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

The conversation also touches on the initiatives offered by Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, including providing bear-resistant trash cans, electric fencing, and educational resources to the community.

Episode 247 – Unlocking Curiosity at the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum with Ethan Lobdell

By Michael Moeri | 06/21/2023 |

Ethan Lobdell is an educator, Search and Rescue volunteer, and the Executive Director of The Jackson Hole Children’s Museum. With a strong background in education and a genuine passion for interactive learning, Ethan brings his expertise to benefit the kids and families of the Jackson Hole community.

In this episode, Ethan dives into the museum’s commitment to supporting children’s development through joyful and engaging learning experiences that ignite curiosity. We also delve into the exciting plans for the museum’s upcoming permanent home, which will showcase world-class exhibits and foster valuable partnerships with educational institutions. Ethan shares his personal fulfillment in witnessing the transformative impact of education on young minds, despite the challenges of administrative duties. Additionally, Stephan reflects on the impact that both the teachers and the museum have had on his own family.

Episode 240 – A Heartfelt Journey into Horse Rescue with Maury “Jonesy” Jones

By Michael Moeri | 05/04/2023 |

Maury “Jonesy” Jones is the dedicated founder and operator of Jackson Hole Horse Rescue, a nonprofit sanctuary for older horses in need. With a deep passion for horses and a heart for their well-being, Jonesy shares the inspiring story of how he started the rescue and the challenges and joys that come with running it.

From braving harsh winters to making tough decisions about end-of-life care, Jonesy gives us a candid look at what it takes to keep a horse rescue going, and how the support of committed volunteers has made all the difference. We also explore the importance of proper horse care, and how initiatives like Old Bill’s Fun Run have helped the organization become financially self-sufficient.

But what really sets this episode apart are the unforgettable stories of the horses themselves. Jonesy takes us on a journey of discovery, introducing us to some of the amazing equines under his care and sharing the unique paths they have taken to find love and purpose. And as the episode draws to a close, we delve into the sensitive but necessary topic of horse euthanasia, and the empathy and respect Jonesy brings to this difficult decision.

Episode 233 – Racing to the Top: The Jackson Hole Snow Devils Hill Climb  with Jeff Toolson

By Michael Moeri | 03/15/2023 |

Jeff Toolson was born and raised right here in Jackson Hole. He is the owner of Toolson Telephone and a board member of The Jackson Hole Snow Devils.

This week’s episode of The Jackson Hole Connection is all about the Jackson Hole Snow Devils and their impact on the community. Jeff Toolson, whose family has been part of the Snow Devils for decades, discusses the history of the Snow Devil’s, their fundraising efforts, and the 46th Annual World Championship Jackson Hole Snowmobile Hill Climb happening March 23 – 26. Get an inside look into the history of this extreme sport and learn about the challenges riders face during the ascent up Snow King Mountain.

Episode 231 – Flying Our Furry Friends to Their Forever Home with Peter Rork

By Michael Moeri | 03/02/2023 |

Peter Rork is a retired orthopedic surgeon and co-founder and pilot for Dog is My CoPilot. In this episode, Peter shares his inspiring journey of finding purpose in his life after his wife passed away.

In 2012, he teamed up with Judy Zimet, a Scottsdale real estate attorney and animal lover, to start Dog Is My CoPilot. Over the past decade, Dog is My CoPilot has grown from flying 20-30 pets at a time to now rescuing 1,000 dogs and cats a month all across the country.

Peter and Stephan talk about the dedication of the volunteers at the animal shelters and the hard work and logistics that goes into transporting hundreds of animals at a time. In 2023, their volunteer pilot team has grown, and they now have ten pilots helping to fly their rescue missions.

Dog is My CoPilot works collaboratively with city shelters, local animal welfare organizations, and individuals to save the lives of pets abandoned in animal shelters. They reduce animal euthanasia in overcrowded shelters by ensuring that each pet has the chance to find a safe and loving home.

Episode 229 – Navigating the Creative Path with Bronwyn Minton

By Michael Moeri | 02/16/2023 |

Bronwyn Minton is a mother, a passionate teacher, and a talented artist. As the Executive Director of the Art Association of Jackson Hole, she has been a driving force behind the organization’s success in promoting art in the local community.

Originally from New Hampshire, Bronwyn developed a deep appreciation for the breathtaking landscapes of Wyoming during her summers spent at a camp in the Wind River Range. Her love for the state led her to make Jackson her permanent home more than 30 years ago in 1992, after leaving bustling cities such as New York and Portland.

Episode 227 – Helping Single Mothers Across Wyoming featuring Katie Hogarty

By Michael Moeri | 02/02/2023 |

Katie Hogarty is the CEO of Climb Wyoming, a statewide organization with a mission to help low-income single mothers achieve self-sufficiency through career training and placement.

In this episode, Katie shares what it was like growing up in Sheridan and why she left a law career path to work for Climb Wyoming. Stephan and Katie then discuss Climb Wyoming’s impact on single mothers and their families, including inspiring stories of women overcoming some major hurdles and barriers. Katie sheds light on the necessary support to sustain the meaningful work of Climb Wyoming, and presents insightful data to further illustrate the importance of the organization.

Episode 221 – Serving Children and Families in Teton County with Sarah Cavallaro

By Michael Moeri | 12/21/2022 |

Sarah Cavallaro is the Executive Director of Teton Youth and Family Services. Sarah is a wife, a mom, cancer survivor and a fierce advocate for kids and families in Teton County and throughout Wyoming.

Sarah is an incredibly brave and resilient woman, who has faced numerous challenges in her life, including battling cancer not once, but twice. Despite these challenges, Sarah has persevered and has dedicated herself to helping others, particularly families in her community.

During this episode, Sarah shares her inspiring journey with us, including how she ended up in Jackson back in 1999, her journey of discovering and surviving breast cancer, and how she has learned to find the funny in life. Stephan and Sarah also discuss the various programs and initiatives offered by Teton County Youth and Family Services and its partner organizations, which are dedicated to supporting families and strengthening the community.

Episode 220 – Creating Ripples with Kate Schelbe

By Michael Moeri | 12/15/2022 |

Kate Schelbe is the Backbone Leader of the Teton Behavioral Health Alliance and the Executive Director of Girls Education International. After visiting the Tetons on a family road trip at the age of eight, Kate made the decision to make Jackson Hole her home when she grew up. Ten days after graduating college in 2006, she lived up to that dream.

Kate has always had a passion for education and helping others. As the Backbone Leader of the Teton Behavioral Health Alliance and the Executive Director of Girls Education International, Kate has dedicated her career to ensuring that everyone has access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

In this episode, Kate discusses her journey from a young girl visiting the Tetons on a family road trip, to making Jackson Hole her home and pursuing a career in education. She talks about her experiences working with local organizations such as the Teton Literacy Center, Teton Science School, and the Jackson Hole Community School.

Kate also shares her excitement about her new role at the Teton Behavioral Health Alliance and the mission of this newly formed organization. She and Stephan then discuss Girls Education International, which is focused on providing girls in rural communities of Tanzania and Pakistan with access to education.

Throughout the conversation, Kate emphasizes the importance of education, not only for individuals but also for communities and the world at large. She highlights the ripple effect that educating women can have, and the many ways in which it can lead to positive change.

Episode 210 – Overcoming Adversity and Carving the Future with Talia Atkins 

By Michael Moeri | 10/06/2022 |

Talia Atkins is the Executive Director of Carving the Future. She was born right here in Jackson. After graduating from High School in 2008, Talia left home to volunteer, travel, and find her place in the world. 6 years and 35 countries later, Talia realized everything she was searching for was back in Jackson. She returned to her hometown in 2014, to coach for the JHSC Freeride Team. Talia has worked with youth of all ages, teaching English, music, art, yoga, gymnastics, big-air, snowboarding, and leading therapeutic wilderness trips for teens.

In this episode, Talia and Stephan talk about mental health, childhood adversity, addiction, loss, gratitude, resilience, and helping underserved populations.