Back to All Events

Furbearers of the Apostles or “Leave it to Beaver — and Others He knew!”

  • Madeline Island Museum 226 Colonel Woods Avenue La Pointe, WI, 54850 United States (map)
Steven Wayne Rotsch

Steven Wayne Rotsch

Wednesday, August 10th
Madeline Island Museum

Free and Open to the Public

Furbearers of the Apostles or
“Leave it to Beaver — and Others He knew!”

Speaker: John F. Olson, recently retired Furbearer Ecologist, Wisconsin DNR

The western Great Lakes region, especially the Apostles, harbor an extensive history relative to native wildlife, especially furbearers and most importantly, the beaver. This program will take you on a rapid journey through time, laced with interesting ‘stuff’ about these cool critters. John will weave the past into our world today and reveal interesting historic and recently discovered facts about furbearers.


John F. Olson recently retired from his position as a Furbearer Ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stationed at Ashland. In 2008 he received the 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.

Olson oversaw 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.

Olson worked tirelessly on Best Management Practices for trapping and cable restraints. He assisted wildlife research to develop better survey methods for otter and beaver, and he worked out solutions to problems and rule changes with partner groups including the Wisconsin Trapper's Association. Olson chaired 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. John developed more than 40 rule proposals to improve laws for furbearer management in Wisconsin.

Olson was a member of the Wolf Management and Wild Rice Committees and liaison to the County Forest Association and Conservation Congress Fur Harvest Committee. He was also a member of the U.S. Furbearer Conservation Technical Working Group.

Now Olson can be found harvesting wild rice, cross-country skiing, competing in the Birkie, kayaking, canoeing, hunting and trapping.

aiacf logo.jpg

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund.

Earlier Event: August 3
Geologic Time in the Islands
Later Event: August 17
Lamps in the Wilderness