ASHLAND – John Olson, Department of Natural Resources Furbearer Ecologist stationed at Ashland, recently received the 2008 Wildlife Leadership award from his colleagues. The award is given annually to department wildlife staff who show outstanding performance in a program that supports wildlife management.
In presenting the award at a statewide wildlife meeting, DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Chief Tom Hauge said, “Olson is an inspiration to others and those touched by his presence are better people.”
Olson oversees the Wisconsin Fur School. He expanded it from a DNR training for wardens and wildlife personnel to UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and Northland College students. The school is now nationally recognized as a model. Hauge noted Olson has worked tirelessly on Best Management Practices for trapping and cable restraints.
“John assists wildlife research to develop better survey methods for otter and beaver,” Hauge said, “and he works out solutions to problems and rule changes with partner groups including the Wisconsin Trapper’s Association.”
Olson chairs the Furbearer Species Advisory Committee for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. The trapping regulations, furbearer forecasts, cable restraint and coyote publication all have his touch, Hauge explained.
His wide knowledge and expertise in other fields have made Olson a member of the Wolf Management and Wild Rice Committees and liaison to the County Forest Association and Conservation Congress Fur Harvest Committee. He is also a member of the U.S. Furbearer Conservation Technical Working Group.
“John has developed more than 40 rule proposals to improve laws for furbearer management in Wisconsin,” Hauge said. When not in public service, he added, Olson can be found harvesting wild rice, cross-country skiing, competing in the Birkie, kayaking, canoeing, hunting and trapping.