Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival

Jackie Orsulak


                               2020 Wings Over Water Keynote Speaker - Colleen Olfenbuttel

Colleen Olfenbuttel is the Black Bear and Furbearer Biologist for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the state agency responsible for conserving, restoring, and managing the state’s wildlife resources and their habitats.  She received her bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Ohio University (’97) and her master’s in wildlife management from Virginia Tech (’05). Colleen is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and has over 20 years of experience in the wildlife profession. She was the lead author for the state’s Black Bear Management Plan and the Coyote Management Plan. Currently, she has several on-going research projects with bears and furbearers, including a collaborative study with North Carolina State University on urban-suburban black bears in Asheville, NC.

Keynote Talk: ​Black Bears: A North Carolina Wildlife Success Story…but what now?

After decades of science-based wildlife management, black bears have been successfully reestablished in over 60% of their historic range in North Carolina. Black bears are our state’s largest mammal, and bring out a myriad of emotions from the public, from a sense of wonder and awe to trepidation and fear.  With this success story, questions are emerging on how a large mammal can co-exist and continue to thrive with a growing human population. Colleen will discuss how North Carolina restored black bears, emerging issues and challenges, and how we can co-exist and appreciate our wild neighbors​.

​Learn to live responsibly with bears by following the 6 BearWise Basics: