Rob Olson is the Managing Director of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. Since being hired one and half years ago he has provided the organization with a new focus and energy that has the group moving once again to place of prominence in this provinces conservation circles.
Hooked had a chance recently to sit down with Rob and discuss his background and his vision of the future.
“When I came here the Federation was grappling with the issue of what is the right mix of volunteers and staff. You will always need the great volunteer support but you need a strong staff to bring out the best in the volunteers. The staff give you that steady ownership, making sure the volunteers know who is on first, second and third, and it’s the two of them together that make that magic. You have to find the right mix of the two.” “The reason I took the job with the Federation was I thought it could have a whole 50% more of an impact it could be making and I wanted to take the experience I had gained at Delta Waterfowl and bring to bear here to make a positive impact in the rebirth. I spent the first part of my career as a duck biologist, mostly in America, and I wanted to take those experiences and make a difference in Manitoba where I live. I have a seven year old boy that is passionate about the outdoors so I wanted to make a difference here for him and his kids.”
“The other thing that I wanted to accomplish through the Federation is weld all the groups together, organizations like the Swan Valley Enhancement group. United we stand and divided we fall is how I would compare it. So we are starting here on big game because there are crisis with our moose and elk populations. So while we are focusing on these issues, we have big dreams. We plan to also get heavily involved in the recruitment of anglers and on the policy side.
“We are at the stage now with the Federation that we don’t yet have the funds to hire more people so we kind of have to hang on for a bit but I have never had more fun in my entire career, this is the most fun mayhem I have ever been part of.”
“I feel my calling is to introduce people to the outdoors. That is my passion and what I want to do with my life. While hunting is a big part of my life, I actually spend more time introducing people to fishing just because it’s easier. I see fishing, though, as a starting point to bring people to hunting later because it is more complicated. I spend my time bringing families and new groups of people shoreline fishing in Winnipeg. There are endless opportunities on the fishing side and while we are working on hunting full time, fishing provides a lot of excitement for me personally.”
“Part of why I took the job is to change the culture of everybody working independently, were we try to lead to bring everyone working together to achieve. A round table on fishing and hunting would be outstanding so find out what we have to do for the resource plus how do we introduce more people to these pastimes.
“To me the Federation needs to be about authenticity, telling the truth, promoting the outdoors for all the right reason and hopefully creating an open door that people walk through!”