Geologist gives total of $30 million to CSU’s natural resources college |

Geologist gives total of $30 million to CSU’s natural resources college

DENVER ” A geologist who made his fortune in natural gas exploration said Thursday he is giving an additional $25.7 million to Colorado State University, the largest gift in the school’s history.

Edward M. Warner, a 1968 CSU graduate, helped discover the largest natural gas deposit in the last 50 years ” Wyoming’s Jonah Field ” in 1993. His donation is going to the school’s college of natural resources, which is being renamed in his honor.

He previously gave $4.3 million to the college to endow chairs in geophysics and economic geology, making his total gift $30 million.

Such donations are invested to provide a continous stream of funding to attract the best faculty, paying for their salary, laboratories and graduate research.

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., announced that $2 million has been set aside for CSU’s Center for Geosciences and Atmospheric Research in this year’s defense bill.

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Warner’s latest donation will create another geosciences endowment and will be used to hire a scholar to direct a new conservation institute. It will work with communities around the world to balance managing natural resources with improving economies and social well-being.

Warner, who is also on the board of directors of the Sand County Foundation, an environmental group based in Madison, Wisc., said the focus will be on having landowners, academics, non-profit groups and governments work together on environmental issues.

“Historically the environmental movement has asked government to solve our problems and people have had good intentions but there have been some bad results. The world is changing and people are realizing what we’re needing is cooperation, not government coercion,” he said.

He said the new approach is needed, in part, because about 80 percent of the land considered to be critical habitat is privately held and people need to look at managing natural resources with economic and social needs.

Warner, who lives in Denver, said one good example of the new approach can be found in Kenya, where the government has paid the Maasai herders not to farm or fence in some land to keep open a migration route for zebras and wildebeests.

“They have to have an economic incentive. That’s true of western ranchers and lumber companies. And why shouldn’t they?” Warner said.

CSU president Larry Penley said Warner’s gift will help the school realize its goal to become a “premier 21st century land-grant university.”

“The issues of environmental science and the quality of the environment may be some of the most important ones of the 21st century,” Penley said.

Until now, CSU’s largest donation was $20.1 million awarded by heiress Pat Stryker’s Bohemian Foundation.

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