Donor gives back to biology department through specimen donation

Colorado State University’s Department of Biology recently received a collection of taxidermy specimens to assist with the education of students, thanks to the generosity of a donor with ties to the University.

Rosemary Scotti recently donated her late husband’s taxidermy specimens to the department, which included an elk, a boar, a mountain lion, an antelope, several deer and a lake trout. Scotti said her husband, Joseph Scotti, enjoyed fishing and hunting before he passed and had a collection of taxidermy animals.

“Joe was a longtime Colorado resident and an avid outdoorsman,” Scotti said, adding: “With the exception of the fish and the boar, all were taken in the Colorado hunting areas he loved.”

The Scotti family’s ties to CSU run deep. Scotti said both her daughter and granddaughter graduated from the University. “We’re kind of a CSU family,” she said.

Scotti explained her husband would have liked the display in the Department of Biology, especially with the plaque that will be installed soon to commemorate the gift.

Shane Kanatous, a professor of biology who has taken the lead in receiving the specimens, explained the donation will support and improve experiential learning in his labs and classes. Kanatous, who regularly teaches vertebrate biology, said he often includes specimens in the lab sections.

“Cats are very difficult to taxidermy well, especially the face,” said Kanatous. “When you look at this mountain lion, you can tell the care that was put into the taxidermy. We use all of the specimens for classes and outreach. It’s important for students to be able to walk around the whole specimen, especially to understand how massive these animals get.”