Preserving Wetlands for Waterfowl

Peter Stent
Peter Stent

As a fourth generation Californian and avid outdoorsman, Peter Stent ’63 is passionate about protecting California's wildlife.

With a degree in Range Science and broad experience as a rancher, farmer and businessman, Stent brings a multi-faceted perspective to his leadership roles in numerous wetland restoration and conservation projects. A former board member of the California Waterfowl Association and The National Audubon Society, Stent is knowledgeable about the wetland and agricultural habitats for waterfowl in California’s Central Valley. Twenty percent of the nation’s geese, swans and ducks live in or migrate through the Central Valley every year. 

So when internationally recognized waterfowl researcher and UC Davis professor Dennis Raveling died in 1991, Stent recognized that the university’s efforts to protect waterfowl were in need of new leadership. He and his wife Nora along with several other dedicated waterfowl enthusiasts decided to establish the Dennis G. Raveling Endowed Professorship in Waterfowl Biology.

“The loss of more than 90 percent of our wetlands has made California the emergency room of the biological sciences,” says John Eadie, who has held the professorship since 1995. “The Raveling endowment enables me to put graduate students into the field quickly and get vital research done.”

More recently, Peter and Nora were among the first respondents to a donor challenge to increase the endowment.

“Endowing a professorship leverages a lot of resources. You don’t just get one professor,” said Stent, who was also a member of the Campaign Cabinet, a group of volunteers who provided leadership and expertise to The Campaign for UC Davis. “You get all of his or her students who end up going into the field. This endowment is supporting applied research to help birds, but just as importantly it’s about the next generation of waterfowl scientists.”