The Jim Olterman Scholarship Award is offered annually to encourage and support an upper-level (junior or senior) Colorado college student in the pursuit of a career in wildlife biology and management through a generous donation of $5,000 by his wife Robin.  Robin requested that the CCTWS manage the Scholarship Award until funding was exhausted.  In 2005 the CCTWS Board voted that all proceeds, once costs were covered, of the CCTWS commissioned lynx print would go to the Scholarship fund to prolong the existence of the fund.  No additional funding of the Scholarship will be provided by the CCTWS.  The intention of the fund never was for the purpose of maintaining the Scholarship into perpetuity.

Contribute to the Jim Olterman Scholarship Endowment Fund


Jim Olterman Scholarship Award – Request for Applications

Download an application

The Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society (CCTWS), in cooperation with Robin Olterman, annually request applications for the Jim Olterman Scholarship Award, to honor Jim and his contributions to Colorado’s wildlife legacy.

The Jim Olterman Scholarship Award is offered annually to encourage and support an upper-level Colorado college student in the pursuit of a career in wildlife biology and management. The recipient will receive $500 and a plaque, and is recognized at the annual CCTWS Annual meeting in February.

Jim Olterman Biography:

Jim Olterman, a Colorado Division of Wildlife Senior Terrestrial Biologist and pilot, died in a plane crash on September 4, 2002, while conducting aerial fish stocking operations in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southeastern Colorado. During the crash, Jim’s actions saved the life of a CDOW hatchery technician flying with him.

Jim was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee where he gained a deep appreciation for the outdoors in general and wildlife in particular while hunting, fishing and exploring the backwoods of his aunt’s farm. In 1964, Jim headed west to enroll at Colorado State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology. In 1968, he joined the U.S. Army and later left the service as a decorated Vietnam Veteran. During his early years in the army, Jim learned to fly and flying quickly became one of the great passions of his life. After his time in the service, Jim received a Master’s in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. Jim led a spectacular career of 30 years in the CDOW. Starting our as a District Wildlife Manager in 1972 he successively assumed the positions of Wildlife Biologist in Montrose, Senior Terrestrial Biologist in the Southwest Region, and finally Senior Terrestrial Biologist for the western slope. He was also a fully commissioned peace officer and a Division pilot frequently flying survey, radio tracking, stocking, transport and law enforcement operations for the agency. Jim played an integral role in bringing desert bighorn sheep into Colorado, and moose, lynx and game birds into the southwestern part of the state. He was also an active supporter of the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society and The Wildlife Society (main/international level). He served on the CCTWS Executive Board in 1979 and 1980 and encouraged his colleagues and employees to be active members of this and other professional organizations.

Jim’s main passions in life were the wildlife resources, fishing, flying and above all, his family: daughters Lara and Sally, son Tandy and his wife Robin. Robin claims that no one “new” rode in Jim’s plane without hearing of his family. Shortly after his death, Sally gave birth to a daughter: Abigail James.

Rick Kahn, CDOW Wildlife Management Supervisor, a colleague and close friend of Jim’s, once stated so well: “Jim was proud to live in Colorado, proud to be a wildlife biologist in this great state and proud to be part of the wildlife family. He was an inspiration to many who knew him. He was passionate about the resource and the people who appreciate it. Jim Olterman epitomized the professional wildlife biologist; he lost his life while doing the job he truly loved.


You must meet the following criteria to be considered for the Jim Olterman Scholarship Award:

  • You must be a member of either The Wildlife Society or the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society (You may submit a membership form with payment to the Colorado Chapter of TWS when submitting your scholarship application if you are not currently a member. Please see attached membership application).
  • By December of the preceding year, you must have completed two-thirds of the credits required for graduation with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology or Management or a related natural resource field.

The application consists of the following materials:

  1. A current resume.
  2. A current transcript (unofficial transcripts are acceptable) indicating your current number of credits and grade point average.
  3. Two letters of reference. One reference shall be from a professor familiar with your academic capabilities and accomplishments. The second reference shall be from a supervisor whom you worked for in a natural resources-related position (volunteer work is acceptable).
  4. A short essay (1-2 pages in length) describing (1) your interests in the biological field, (2) your career goals and how they relate to wildlife management, and (3) how you would use the award to further your professional development.

Please direct questions to Nick Kaczor: 303-345-4299, nick_kaczor<at>fws<dot>gov

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society no later than January 4, 2020. Please submit applications to Nick Kaczor at nick_kaczor<at>fws<dot>gov.

Questions? Email us at coloradotwsmembership<at>gmail<dot>com  or contact one of our officers.