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The Warren and Genevieve Garst photographic collection

February 23, 3009

When you combine 25 years of remarkable wildlife photography and two people heavily invested in the excellence of Colorado State University, the result is a fine website geared toward wildlife researchers, the K-12 community, and anyone interested in wildlife conservation and biology.

Donated 20,000 slides

Warren (M.S. ’63) and Genevieve Garst donated their collection of almost 20,000 slides to the Colorado State University Libraries in 1999 following their retirement from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Warren Garst’s years as chief photographer from 1962 to 1988 granted him and his wife access to all seven continents and the wildlife inhabiting exotic, fascinating locales.

Of the 20,000 slides, 1,340 are available for viewing on the Warren and Genevieve Garst Photographic Collection website. Many images are unique due to the scarcity of their subject matter. Extinction rates and endangered species levels have reduced the possibility of visually recapturing animals pictured in many of the slides. Additionally, the Garst collection chronicles a period of time when wildlife was not featured regularly on television. While we enjoy channels such as Animal Planet today, it is Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that stands at the forefront of such television.

Facts about each animal

Each photograph is accompanied by details about the animal, all of which can be searched for in the collection. Take the Komodo dragon, for example. You can search for this reptile by its common or scientific name, by the continent on which it resides, by habitat, endangered status, diet, or characteristics of the animal. By selecting the photograph of the Komodo dragon you will learn that there are only 3,000-5,000 left in the world. These giant reptiles are the world's largest lizards: they can eat more than 80 percent of their body weight (over 200 lbs.) at one feeding.

komodo dragon Other interesting features of the Garst collection include general information about the animal kingdom. The endangered species section includes endangered species designations, understanding the Endangered Species Act, and how to help save jeopardized animals.


The Garst Photographic Collection is also an invaluable multimedia resource for children and young adults in K-12 grades. Warren Garst’s favorite animal to work with was the gorilla, and his account of working with them is available in transcript or audio format. This is also the case with Genny Garst’s story of cheetah motherhood and Warren Garst’s description of elephant seals and killer whales. Such stories provide a multimedia experience for students that will bring the animals closer to home.

Warren and Genny Garst’s lives are a tribute to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Years of travel photographing animals from all seven continents provides us with a glimpse of rare and extraordinary creatures that we might not know about otherwise. The Garsts returned to Colorado in 1987 and brought the world back with them, and Colorado State University’s Morgan Library is richer for their generosity.

This article was originally published in Around the Oval magazine. To subscribe to Around the Oval, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Beth Etter
Phone: (970) 491-6533