A Musk Ox Moved into Warner, And He Needs a Name

By now, you’ve probably seen that the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building has a new resident. No, The Warner College of Natural Resources didn’t suddenly decide to start repping that other university south of here. It’s not a buffalo, it’s not a bison, it’s a musk ox!

Why is there a musk ox in the atrium?

Joel Berger at Everest
Joel Berger

If you have been around Warner long enough, you’ve heard the name Joel Berger. Berger became a WCNR professor in 2015, and he is the Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair of Wildlife Conservation in the Fish, Wildlife and Conservation department. Berger is known for his work in climate change and wildlife, often conducting research in extreme conditions.

Did you hear about how Berger’s research on threats to musk oxen herds led to him dressing like a grizzly bear in Alaska? It’s a pretty wild story.

When someone does research in such a memorable way, people take notice. In 2018, a local community member donated a musk ox mount to Berger. Because there are only so many places that a musk ox can be displayed due to its sheer size, the musk ox has lived in the Wagar building on campus since its arrival…until now.

Over winter break, several workers spent a morning disassembling doors, reassembling doors, and rolling the musk ox mount from its old home in Wagar into its new home in the atrium of the Michael Smith Natural Resources Building.

Honoring Joel Berger’s Dedication to Natural Resources

To honor Berger’s passion for the natural resources field and his adventurous spirit, it only feels right to give the musk ox a name that reflects that. However, instead of naming the musk ox after one of Berger’s adventures, we want to name it after one of YOUR natural resources-related experiences.

Naming Competition

WCNR is not only looking to name the musk ox, but we want to hear (and tell) those stories that make the people in Warner College so unique and special. We are looking to our Warner community to share a name idea for the musk ox that relates to something that you have done while involved with WCNR or some other natural resources-related experience that you have had.

For Example:

  • Name Idea: Forest, because you attended the Women’s Forest Congress in 2022
  • Name Idea: Breck, because you went snowboarding in Breckenridge during your first winter break at CSU
  • Name Idea: Bucky, because you accidentally took the slightly scary Buckhorn Road route to the Mountain Campus instead of going through the Poudre Canyon.

Get creative with your ideas! The name doesn’t have to be from an actual outing. Is there something from a natural resources class that you loved that would make a good name? Is there a piece of natural resources research that you found fascinating? As long as you can give us a little background on the name, and it relates to Warner and/or natural resources, we want to hear it!

The Musk Ox Naming Committee, made up of members of the Dean’s Leadership Team, will pick the top submissions. Those submissions will be shared with the Warner community as social media stories and the Warner community will get to vote on their favorite name. The submission with the most votes will be the musk ox’s name. The winning name will be announced during the NR banquet on Monday, April 17! The winner will not only get bragging rights for naming such a majestic creature, but the WCNR will share your story and picture on the musk ox’s display case so that people know for years to come how the musk ox got his name!

Criteria for Naming Competition

  • You must be currently or previously affiliated with the Warner College of Natural Resources in some way (student, alumni, faculty, staff).
  • Name ideas deemed inappropriate and/or offensive by the committee will NOT be considered.
  • One submission per person.
  • Submit no more than five sentences about your name idea that we could then share as a mini story on social media.
  • Submit a picture that relates to the name suggestion (e.g. a picture of you from your first snowboarding trip to Breckenridge). If you don’t have a picture associated with the name idea, you can submit a picture of yourself.
  • Learn more about the important research about climate change and musk oxen AND submit your name idea HERE by Friday, March 31, 2023
  • Questions? Reach out to Jen.Hitt@colostate.edu