Ted Turner revolutionized the news media when he created the first 24-hour cable news station, CNN, in 1980. He is now in the process of revolutionizing environmental conservation. Turner owns more than 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) of land in 12 U.S. states and Argentina, making him the second-largest landowner in America. He has set aside much of that land for conservation, particularly for restoring the native bison and prairie dog populations that once thrived on America’s Great Plains. His herd of 50,000 bison is the largest privately owned herd in the world.
In 1990, Turner established the Turner Foundation to prevent damage to Earth’s water, air and land systems and to develop a sustainable energy future. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $350 million in grants to support environmental programs. In 1997, he founded the Turner Endangered Species Fund. The fund works to prevent the extinction of many species, including the Bolson tortoise, the Aplomado falcon and the Mexican gray wolf.
The Nature Conservancy, an environmental charity, honored Turner in 2013 for his commitment to conservation. During the event, conservancy president and chief executive Mark Tercek said that “no single private landowner has ever done so much to conserve this country’s vital natural areas as Ted.”