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Mount Nittany News
Mount Nittany Newsletter
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As sweet as any Homecoming victory at Beaver Stadium may be, even sweeter for many students, alumni, and friends is a Penn State Homecoming hike on Mount Nittany.
Penn State Homecoming, in its own words, exists to “celebrate tradition and instill pride in all members of the Penn State family through active engagement of students, alumni, faculty and staff across the community.” Tens of thousands of Penn Staters and friends return to Happy Valley for Homecoming, and hundreds make the special journey into Lemont and up to the Mount Nittany Trailhead, either to the Mike Lynch Overlook or to Mount Nittany’s other overlooks across its miles of trails.
The journey to Happy Valley for Homecoming is a special tradition in itself, as one recalls the highs and lows of days gone by, but the journey from Penn State’s crimson-hued campus to the top of the Mountain stirs in the heart not only the memories of the past but a clarity and recognition of the sweetness of our presently-unfolding lives. Our loyalty to Penn State, and our love for Mount Nittany, bear witness to a deeper reality: as a people who share common loves, we also share a common future.
We hope that Mount Nittany remains forever a treasure for Penn Staters, Central Pennsylvanians, and friends, and that these scenes from Penn State Homecoming 2023 and a hike to the Mike Lynch Overlook remind you of a place you will always be able to call home.
Consider making a one-time or recurring financial gift to the Mount Nittany Conservancy to support our perennial work of conservation. Together, we will ensure Mount Nittany remains accessible and for the public benefit for the future.
On Sunday, October 8th I led the Mount Nittany Conservancy’s latest “Mount Nittany Hikers” expedition for ten hikers. Our approximately 3.5-mile hike up and around the crest of Mount Nittany started at the Mount Nittany Trailhead. We proceeded to trail markers 1, 10, 6, 5, 3 (Mike Lynch Overlook), 2, and then back down to 1 and the trailhead parking area.
If you’ve had the pleasure of hiking Mount Nittany, you’ll know that the ascent and the descent are each quite rocky and steep, with difficult footing, for about half a mile. The trail segments atop the Mountain crest, in contrast, are mostly level or undulating, with generally good footing and some rocky patches.
A highlight of the hike was observing more American chestnuts than I ever have before, especially along the segment of trail between markers 5 and 3. I’m sure they’ve been there all along, but this time I was more observant. Here’s a nice shot of one of our hikers holding three American chestnut leaves in different color phases as autumn proceeds:
Our Mount Nittany Hikers group is now up to 147 members! If you have an interest in joining us for a future hike, please consider joining the group for notifications.
Leon Kolankiewicz, Mount Nittany Conservancy board member and organizer of the Mount Nittany Hikers Meetup group, led a natural history hike up Mount Nitany on Sunday, May 28th.
The hike was led on behalf of Centred Outdoors, a project of the ClearWater Conservancy and drew more than 30 participants. Leon led about a 3-mile loop hike, up to and along the crest, and stopped frequently to talk about such topics as Mount Nittany’s geology and ecology as well as trees, forests, Lyme disease, birds, plate tectonics, a host of relevant topics, and of course, the history of the Mount Nittany Conservancy.
Leon has shared these photos with the Mount Nittany Hikers Meetup group as well as the Centre Day Hikers Meetup group.
Thank you to all who contributed to the Mount Nittany Conservancy’s 2023 Centre Gives campaign! We were grateful to surpass our $15,000 fundraising goal thanks to the support of 78 donors.
We set many records for our Centre Gives participation this year. We achieved 50% growth in gifts over 2022’s total of $10,330, and we set an all-time record with 78 unique contributing donors, shattering our 2021 record of 70 unique donors.
We also achieved record giving participation from our active board members, with 19 of 21 active board members making a gift. Our emeritus board members also participated meaningfully, with 12 of 27 emeritus board members making a gift, including 5 of 7 living past presidents making a gift.
Together, we finished among the Top 20% of Centre Gives participating organizations, at #35 on the leaderboard out of 206 participating causes.
Centre Gives is a unique online giving event in Central Pennsylvania designed to encourage community giving and to support the work of Centre County causes. Mount Nittany Conservancy is one of more than 200 nonprofits that participates in this annual event. Donors to Centre Gives join a community of thousands who support worthy causes across all our communities, all near Mount Nittany’s gentle shadow.
Thanks to the generous donation of time and resources from Mount Nittany Conservancy board member Brian Stouffer and his company TurnKey Logistics, all of Mount Nittany’s public trails are now captured on Google Street View.
Whether you are a regular hiker or haven’t made it up the Mountain in many years, you can explore all of Mount Nittany’s trails using the street view feature, navigating images up and down the trails.
Simply go to Google Maps and drag the yellow person onto the trial, or click the white arrow below to explore this new feature.
Here are some of our favorite views, including the Mike Lynch Overlook, the Tom Smyth Overlook and the square inch marker section:
Thanks again to Brian and TurnKey Logistics for this new feature.
The Mount Nittany Conservancy recently formed a group on Meetup.com — a platform designed for members of local communities to meet new people and pursue their mutual passions together. The group, called Mount Nittany Hikers, hopes to organize all who love the Mountain and the outdoors. The service will coordinate group hikes for those who want to get to know Penn State’s picturesque Mount Nittany and Her trees, trails, and views.
We recently held our first group hike, led by our board member Leon Kolankiewicz. Check out some photos of this inaugural effort and click here to join Mount Nittany Hikers and to be notified of the next adventure.
As summer quickly fades and the fall season approaches us, it’s important to take a moment and reflect.
Mount Nittany serves many purposes for the inhabitants of the Nittany Valley, but as the winds of change draw nearer, one can look ahead and see those physical effects of seasonal change reflected in the Mountain.
Currently, the leaves of the trees who call the Mountain home still vibrantly display the lush green of summer. Slowly, but surely, her leaves will begin to change to the fiery shades of fall as the weeks pass by. For some—myself included—it’s easy to lose track of the days and feel somewhat disconnected from the present.
In the past, I’ve found myself feeling as though time has flown with each glance of the calendar. But lately, I’ve allowed myself to focus more intently on the present and appreciate it by simply looking up. Up at the towering, full trees around us, and up at Mount Nittany wherever I may be in town.
Time will continue to pass, and the summer season won’t last forever. But each time I feel myself losing that present focus, I look to the Mountain, and I see her abundant shades of green. It helps to ground me, and allows me to be thankful. It comforts me, and helps me reflect on the wonderful summer months we’ve enjoyed, but also offers an appreciation of the current moment we are in.
I hope anyone feeling similar can feel that reassurance when they look to Mount Nittany. We can appreciate the time that’s passed us by, but focus on the moment at hand. It helps the days slow down, and offers a feeling of excitement for the days, weeks, and months we have to look forward to.