Conserving Mount Nittany

“The story of Mount Nittany’s conservation is the story of a people’s extraordinary response to an ordinary Pennsylvania mountain. It is the basis for this extraordinary response with which this book of conversation and record is concerned.”

Tom Shakely, Introduction

Conserving Mount Nittany: A Dynamic Environmentalism

In presenting the first complete history of Central Pennsylvania’s most famous mountain, Tom Shakely pieces together the story of Mount Nittany as perhaps the most famous symbol of The Pennsylvania State University and the Nittany Valley.

“Conserving Mount Nittany” tells the story of the physical and cultural environment from which a spirit of both affection and protection for the Mountain has been evident from the time of the American Indians into the present. In his explication of “dynamic environmentalism,” the author presents conservation in a fresh yet historically-informed context as a community’s expression of itself through time.

Assembled through conversational and historical record, this history of Mount Nittany is as accessible as it is provocative, particularly in outlining the conservation efforts of the 20th century from the early actions of an elite few to a democratic effort supported by the people of the valley.

A book packed with anecdotes, observations, and reflections, “Conserving Mount Nittany” delights as a conversation on how to cultivate a spirit of magic in the midst of a practical age.

All proceeds from the sale of this work support Centre Foundation’s Mount Nittany Conservancy Fund.

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Inspiriting Mount Nittany

Tom Shakely spoke to Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, on “Inspiriting Mount Nittany:”


“Conserving Mount Nittany” is available in audiobook format, recorded with Tom Shakely and Ben Novak and produced by volunteers. It is available to own on Audible, Amazon, Apple, and it is also made available for free here:


A “meta story of pride, determination, and action born of love … to preserve the largest natural physical symbol of our alma mater.” —Roger L. WilliamsExecutive Director, Penn State Alumni Association

“If the passion of Princess Nittany beats within you, this book will immerse you in the history of how it got there. An encompassing work from someone who clearly bleeds not only the blue and white of Penn State, but the brown and green of a vibrant Mount Nittany.” —John HookPresident, The Mount Nittany Conservancy

“Tom Shakely has given to future generations a wonderful history of both how and why Mount Nittany—’an ordinary Pennsylvania mountain,’—came to be conserved for generations to come, and why that conservation matters. … Pick it up, pass it along, and savor this wonderful and lively book.” —Scott Paterno

“From Mount Nittany’s mythological place within the Nittany Valley, to the fundraising masterpiece that Novak crafted to preserve the mountain through the generous efforts of townspeople, alumni and students, Shakely and Novak show how Mount Nittany rose to its proper place as an invaluable community symbol of the Penn State, State College and Nittany Valley communities.” —Amazon Review