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.
A "meta story of pride, determination, and action born of love … to preserve the largest natural physical symbol of our alma mater." —Roger L. Williams, Executive 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 Hook, President, 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
Great book for incoming students (or anyone affiliated with PSU)
Really enjoyed reading this. This book is perfect for PSU alums, students, and those with an interest in conserving our natural treasures.
I'd especially recommend this as a gift for high school students considering applying to or who are planning to attend Penn State. Its fast paced, conversational Q&A style makes this book a fun, light read, and it will give these incoming students a sense of some of what is magical about State College-- beyond just football Saturdays.
I especially appreciated the tactical elements of the story-- how and from whom the land was purchased, the fundraising, strategic moves, and negotiations that ensued, etc.
Most of the action is in the Q&A style part of the book, but the piece on the Hort Woods disaster and the historical news pieces that close out the book are worthwhile background for those with a deeper interest in the specifics of Mount Nittany.
Bottom line: Worth a read, especially for incoming & current students
An important resource for those who want to learn about Penn State's oldest symbol
Far too often, we take the things around us for granted, especially the things that have always been there. The generations of students who come to consider State College and the Nittany Valley their home have never known a skyline without the comforting and distinct slope of Mount Nittany. It’s a view that is easy to take for granted – easy to write off as just another ordinary mountain of the Alleghenies that make up most of Pennsylvania.
But, in the hearts of Penn Staters and townsfolk, Mount Nittany is more than just an ordinary mountain. In Tom Shakely’s "Conserving Mount Nittany," our mountain comes alive in ways some of us may have taken for granted. Shakely tells a vivid story of not only something worth climbing or photographing, but of an indomitable part of the Penn State culture and a sine qua non of the community spirit.
Through rich interviews with those who love the mountain and intensive research of primary source documents produced by some of the Mountain’s earliest stewards, "Conserving Mount NIttany" will be an important resource for generations who want to learn about Penn State’s oldest symbol.
"Conserving Mount Nittany" must-read for Nittany Valley, State College communities
Mount Nittany is a symbol and a presence that many people, including myself, possess a great adoration for before even realizing why. In "Conserving Mount Nittany: A Dynamic Environmentalism," Thomas A. Shakely eloquently expresses this phenomena within his well-crafted conversations with Ben Novak, the founder of the Mount Nittany Conservancy and a four-term former Penn State Trustee. 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 to the of Penn State, State College and Nittany Valley communities.