Guest Speaker CSU Alum & Top Donor

Dr Edward M. Warner   

World-renowned scientist, conservationist & philanthropist

Ed Warner is a noted philanthropist and conservationist.  He had a career as an exploration geologist which culminated in his discovery in 1993 of Jonah Field and the first commercial exploitation of Pinedale Field next door in Sublette County, Wyoming.  Jonah and Pinedale combined are the third largest gas accumulation discovered within the continental U.S – possibly 50 TCF of reserves.  He is the ‘father’ of what is now the coalbed methane play, having developed the original project for Amoco Production Company in 1976 which lead to the discovery and development of the Fruitland coal gas production in Blanco Field – in excess of 10 TCF of reserves.  He also drilled the first coalbed methane wells in the Powder River Basin, the Raton Basin, the Piceance Basin and the Green River Basin as part of the Amoco project.


Ed left the natural gas business at the end of 2000 to pursue his philanthropic interests in the U.S. and Africa.  In 2005 he placed 45th on the Slate 60 list of American Philanthropy.  He has made major gifts to Colorado State University, the Sand County Foundation, MIT, Grand Valley State University, the Colorado Conservation Trust, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Nature Conservancy and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.  He has received Public Service Awards from the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and in 2018 received the Boy Scouts of America William T. Hornaday Gold Metal.  In 2005, Colorado State University named the College of Natural Resources after him.


Ed received his Bachelor of Science in 1968 from Colorado State University and his Master of Science in 1971 from UCLA, both in geology.  Ed has been a Visiting Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds an honorary position at Colorado State University’s Department of Geosciences as Faculty Affiliate. At Colorado State, Ed endowed the Center for Collaborative Conservation where he lectures as an Honorary Professor.  He has also lectured at universities, museums, businesses and government agencies around the world.  While Ed still occasionally lectures on topics in geology, his current lectures are on cooperative conservation, crisis resolution and ‘thinking outside the box’.  Ed has been professionally published in five fields: geology, geophysics, conservation biology, marine biology and virology.  He also writes book reviews for Denver based Bloomsbury Review and has been an infrequent guest essayist at Newsweek’s The Moderate Voice, Mongabay and Time Magazine.  In addition, for the last 20 years, Ed has run the Volunteer Geology Program at the famous Philmont Scout Ranch outside of Cimarron, New Mexico.


He was Honorary Chair of the CSU Capital Campaign, is a Director of the Sand County Foundation, the Explorers Foundation, the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,  as well as an Advisor to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.  He is a past trustee of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Geological Society of America Foundation and the American Geological Institute Foundation. In 2011, Colorado State University awarded Ed an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.