‘Do you know the origin of that word, saunter?’

“Hiking—I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains—not hike! Do you know the origin of that word, ‘saunter’? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre,” ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”

—John Muir, as quoted in The Mountain Trail and Its Message, 1911

Dr. & Mrs. Joab Thomas’s Square Inch

By Tom Shakely

I’ve been spending some time recently on scanning and digitizing a few boxes worth of early Mount Nittany Conservancy archives that Ben Novak provided to me. As the Mount Nittany Conservancy’s founder and first president, Ben was instrumental not only in the organization’s major land preservation and fundraising efforts throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, but also in creating and promoting the distinctive “Square Inch” Life Estate Deeds, which provide a true, legal square inch of Mount Nittany for the life of the donor—recorded with the Centre County Recorder of Deeds—in exchange for a beautiful, framed deed certificate.

Over the course of these scanning and archival efforts, a number of prominent Penn Staters and State College names appear, including Dr. Joab Thomas and his wife. Dr. Thomas was Penn State’s president from 1990-1995, and he and his wife ordered their Square Inch in the early 1990s:



Marking 30 Years

The ability to look back and reflect on where we’ve been should always temper the path forward. In 1945, the Lion’s Paw Alumni Association (LPAA) saved 525 acres from lumbering through a fund-raising campaign among its few hundred members. In 1981, LPAA formed the Mount Nittany Conservancy (MNC) to acquire additional land. With community and alumni support, the Conservancy has obtained through purchase or donation another additional 300 acres.

In 2011, the Mount Nittany Conservancy marked 30 years of keeping the Mountain ‘green and growing’.

Other groups might use the word ‘celebrate’ when they reach an anniversary year. The term ‘celebrate’ though gives the appearance that we’ve done our job, completed our task, and can move on. For the MNC board, our community volunteers, friends, and supporters of Mt. Nittany, this will never be. Our mission will continue to be the preservation of Mt. Nittany for future generations of Centre Countians, Penn Staters and other lovers of the outdoors. We know for example that the gypsy moth will be back to threaten the Mountain someday. We plan to be here when they do return.

Not-any Mountain

“It’s not really much of a Mountain. It measures only 2,077 feet above sea level, or 1,050 feet above the valley floor – hardly a Himalaya, by any standards. Irreverent visitors and tourists at one point dubbed it ‘Not-any Mountain’. But Mount Nittany looms regally over Penn State by making up in tradition and familiarity what it lacks in geological fact. And to every true Penn Stater, it’s as much a part of the University as the school song which mentions it.”

So begins an article from a 1982 publication called Faces of Penn State. The piece starts out exploring one of the legends surrounding the Indian maid Nitta-nee. The article then goes on to tell how “in the fall of 1945. William Ulerich, then editor at the Centre Daily Times (later to become president of the University’s Board of Trustees), and Russell Clark got wind of the rumor that the Mountain would be sold to a lumber company and stripped of its tress. With only hours left to save the Mountain, the men bought the upper two-thirds of Mt. Nittany in the name of Lion’s Paw.” The story of how Lion’s Paw protected Mt. Nittany from the first gypsy moth infestation in 1980, along with a $900 donation from the Delta Chi fraternity is included as well. This view from the early 1980’s is a wonderful look back at the early history of Mt. Nittany and its place in all our hearts.

Nita-nee – A Tradition of a Juniata Maiden

Of all his stories. by odds his favorite one. dealt with the Indian maiden. Nita-nee. for whom the fruitful Nittany Valley and the towering Nittany Mountain are named. This Indian girl was born on the banks of the lovely Juniata. not far from the present town of Newton Hamilton. the daughter of a powerful chief. It was in the early days of the world. when the physical aspect of Nature could be changed over night by a fiat from the Gitchie-Manitto or Great Spirit. It was therefore in the age of great and wonderful things. before a rigid world produced beings whose lives followed grooves as tight and permanent as the gullies and ridges.

During the early life of Nita-nee a great war was waged for the possession of the Juniata Valley. The aggressors were Indians from the South. who longed for the scope and fertility of this earthly Paradise. Though Nita-nee’s father and his brave cohorts defended their beloved land to the last extremity. they were driven northward into the Seven Mountains and beyond. Though they found themselves in beautiful valleys. filled with bubbling springs and teeming with game. they missed the Blue Juniata. and were never wholly content. The father of Nita-nee. who was named Chun-Eh-Hoe. felt so humiliated that he only went about after night in his new home. He took up his residence on a broad plain, not far from where State College now stands, and should be the Indian patron of that growing institution, instead of Chief Bald Eagle, who never lived near there and whose good deeds are far outweighed by his crimes.

The Legend of the Valley

Long, bright, ribbon of gold, blending, graying, into the deep blue of a twilight sky, set atop of a mountain line, rugged irregular ; the breath of a night wind, soft, uncertain, rustling faintly across the broad expanse of tree tops ; a thread of shining white in the valley just below her, all this Nittany saw and was thankful. Many were the moons and long, since her warrior went out to battle. Many were the flocks of wild geese that had flown northward and southward above her, and still, he had not returned. Manitou, Manitou the Mighty, was cruel, and yet-the south wind grew bolder and kissed her brown cheek, withered now and old ; the dying light in the west lingered on her face, kindled answering lights in her eyes,- another day was gone.

Mount Nittany with Thompson Pond

This very famous picture of Mount Nittany with Thompson Pond in the foreground from Photographer Robert Beese was taken in the 1940s. It shows “a panoramic view of Mt. Nittany taken from spot where Colleg Ave. now goes under University Drive.”


MNC Past Presidents

Isaac Newton remarked, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” The Conservancy would like to honor all its past Presidents for their vision and leadershiip on behalf of the MNC.

  • 2011-Current – John Hook
  • 2008-2010 – Vince Verbeke
  • 2006-2009 – Ron Woodhead
  • 2002-2006 – Pat Farrell (deceased)
  • 1999-2001 – Ben Bronstein
  • 1996-1999 – Bill Jaffe
  • 1995-1996 – Ken Reeves
  • 1991-1994 – Rich Pirrotta
  • 1981-1990 – Ben Novak

Around the County with John Hook

John Hook, MNC President, was interviewed by the Centre County’s Government & Educational Access Network (C-NET) as part of their “Around the County” series.

In the opening segment, John discusses how Lions Paw first purchased its Mt. Nittany land and how the Conservancy was started.

Adding Land in 1989

From the Daily Collegian Nov 6, 1989:

The Mount Nittany Conservancy — a local non-profit group — says it will purchase 61 additional acres of Centre County’s famous landmark to protect the land from any future development.

The conservancy, which made its last purchase of 209 acres in 1985, announced Friday its plan to raise $61,000 in donations to buy the land on the south side of Mount Nittany.

Read more…

Note: Thanks to Rich Pirrotta, MNC Director from 1989-1995, Executive Director from 1989-1991 and President from 1991-1994 for this link.

Falling Short

From Jan 1985, we know that the story has a happy ending!

The Mount Nittany Conservancy is $20,000 short of the $120,000 needed to purchase 209 acres on the mountain, the Conservancy director said.

Ben Novak said yesterday at a press conference held in Old Main that the Conservancy recently received a $40,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in Pittsburgh to help complete the purchase. The foundation occasionally contributes to conservation projects which help preserve land in its natural state, he added.

Novak said individual contributions exceeding $60,000 have been made by University alumni, local residents, businesses, and members of the University community. The Lion’s Paw Alumni contributed $33,000 of that amount, Novak said.

Mt. Nittany Through the Years

Penn Pilot, a project sponsored by the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, is an online library of digital historical aerial photography for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Using the interactive map provided on this website, you can browse, view, and download thousands of photos covering the Commonwealth from 1937 to 1942 and 1967 to 1972.


The Changing Forest on Mt. Nittany

By Tom Smyth, MNC Board member, November 2008

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon cars were parked down around the bend on ML Nittany Road and the trails were filled with hikers. As I headed up the Hal White Trail the folks coming down seemed happy and several remarked on what a beautiful hike it is and how good the trails are. And, they were right. That got me to thinking about how different the hike was when I first went up in 1955 as a young faculty member, an advisor to the Penn State Outing Club (PSOC). Then, the only trails were apparently old logging chutes that came steeply down the fall line. The mountain had been clear cut early in the 20th century so the forest consisted of saplings and small pole timber, mostly sprouts from old stumps, and some seedlings that had been released by the lumbering. There was a very small view at what has since been named the Mike Lynch Overlook. The hike provided a good physical workout; we climbed Mt. Nittany “because it is there”, not for the beauty of the forest or excellent views.

Over the next several years, with help from some PSOC members we added a loop trail on top (now blazed white) partly following old logging tracks, and cleared several more outlooks. In the late 1970s Tom Thwaites and Steve McGuire made the diagonal Hal White Trail, since modified by additional switchbacks. The blue trails and outlooks have been added since the early 1990s. Diagonal trails have made the ascent less arduous and reduced trail erosion. The additional viewpoints have made the hike more rewarding.

Meanwhile, the forest itself has been maturing and changing. Sprouts from decaying stumps following lumbering often become trees with rotten cores and a reduced life span. Many have died, providing an opportunity for the survivors to grow larger. Helpful thinning has also been provided by several other agents. In 1955 one of my first assignments was to attend a conference in Carlisle on oak wilt, a fungus disease mainly spread by leaf hoppers, possibly by woodpeckers, and through root grafts. Affected trees may die within a month or survive up to a year. Oak wilt killed some trees. The next plague was extensive defoliation by oak leaf roller caterpillars. There was some tree mortality directly due to recurring extensive defoliation and more due to “oak decline”, a loss of vitality abetted by air pollution, leaving the trees more susceptible to secondary attack by other insects and pathogens. Over the recent decades gypsy moth populations have increased to damaging levels twice and have been controlled by aerial spraying, once with a chemical (Dimilin) and recently with a bacterial spray. Again there was some tree mortality.

More thinning has been caused by other agents. Lightning strikes are common on or near the ridge. Heavy snow or ice burdens and freak winds have brought down a few trees. Trail compaction by hikers weakens nearby trees. Campfires scorch the surrounding forest. A few trees have been cut to block eroding older trails or provide logs for water bars and benches. I can recall five surface fires that cleared out underbrush but harmed few of the larger trees. Where trees die, surrounding trees are able to grow more vigorously. There is also an opportunity for new trees to have a chance. What these new trees are depends on what seeds are present and on environmental conditions, especially the soil and water.

Most of the mountains of the ridge-and-valley province, including most of Mt. Nittany, are capped with white Tuscarora sandstone (or quartzite). This breaks down to a white sand which easily washes away. It is quite acid, drains rapidly and is unable to bind more than a minimal amount of plant nutrients. Most of the useful nutrients on the ridges are contained within the vegetation, especially the bark of trees. Thus, harvesting the trees impoverishes the soil. The trees best able to survive on these ridges are chestnut oaks which an tolerate poor acid soil, dry summers and exposure to the winds. Their thick bark resists surface fires. Another tree that withstands these conditions is pitch pine, but there is very little pitch pine on the southwest end of Mt. Nittany. However, there are numerous table mountain pines, a southern species found here at the extreme northern limit of its range. Just below the ridge there are black and paper birches and red maples. The ground is covered with lowbush blueberries and teaberry. The fragrant pink flowers of trailing arbutus are a bonus in late April.

At the southwest end of the mountain the ridge is a little lower and is topped by the older Bald Eagle sandstone. This brown sandstone is softer and apparently contains more plant nutrients because the forest is more diverse. It must have supported a forest of American chestnut before the lumbering. The chestnuts were killed to the ground by chestnut blight early in the 20th century but the roots survive and continue to send up shoots There are many young chestnuts even today, but they don’t grow to a trunk diameter of more than three or four inches before the blight attacks and kills them back to the ground. The forest on this end of the ridge today contains many pignut hickories, red oaks, black cherries, service berries and small sassafras trees. Pink azaleas provide a fragrant display in mid-May. Teaberry is very abundant

Lower on the slopes where the soil is deeper and moister there are many more red and black oaks which eventually overtop the chestnut oaks and they grow larger where the bedrock is mainly shale. Still lower, near the parking area and lower boundary of Lion’s Paw land the soil is deeper, richer and moister. White oak, white ash, shagbark hickory and black maple are common trees; witch hazel and viburnums are common shrubs; anemones, violets and saxifrages and some of the woodland goldenrods are among the ground cover plants. Wild grape and Virginia creeper, formerly rare, are becoming more common and can be expected to provide food for wildlife in the future.

The broad top of the mountain is level to somewhat dish shaped. Secondary soils have developed in places. White oak, white pine, black birch, black cherry and hickory are growing to larger size and are increasing in numbers. Where there is enough light blackberry, huckleberry, lowbush blueberry, and deerberry are more likely to bear fruit here than elsewhere on the mountain. This is where one is most likely to see wild turkey and grouse.

The forest today is becoming mature, with some large trees providing a canopy above smaller species or younger trees, large shrubs, small shrubs and ground cover plants. Some vines are present Chestnut oak will continue to dominate the crest of the ridge, but is being replaced mainly by other oaks farther down. From the progression of sizes of seedling to sapling trees, it appears that white ash and shagbark hickory are spreading up the mountain and pignut hickory out and down from the southwest top. White pine has increased on the flat top. The forest is still not old enough to provide many den trees for wildlife, but should soon reach that stage Without fire, pitch and table mountain pine should continue to die out without much replacement.

In summary, the forest on the mountain has become more interesting and attractive over the years and the trails are more hiker friendly. Visitors to the mountain are appreciative.

The Story behind the Mike Lynch Overlook

Have you ever considered why there is a Mike Lynch Overlook on Mt Nittany? This article, published in the June 2007 Mt Nittany News, contains the answer.

Mike Lynch: Linchpin of Mount Nittany’s First Stewardship
By Erich May, MNC Lion’s Paw Representative

New to the board, I have been inquiring about the history of the Mount Nittany Conservancy. This much is clear: before there was a conservancy, another body was steward of the mountain, and his name was Mike Lynch. “He loved that mountain,” recalled John Black, a 1962 graduate of Penn State. “He was synonymous with the mountain.”

A native of Somerset County, Mike was a student body president at Penn State. He earned a B.S. in poultry husbandry in 1945 and an M.S. in rural sociology in 1957.

He worked for the Cooperative Extension Service for nearly 35 years, first as a county agent and ultimately as an associate professor and coordinator of staff development at University Park.

Mike was a frequent climber of Mount Nittany, even before Lion’s Paw bought its tract in 1946. Later, Mike would serve as chair of Lion’s Paw’s Mountain Committee. In that capacity—and he held the post for decades—Mike would organize mountain cleanups.

“He would gather a group of people every year, because he absolutely hated that shale pit,” remembered Ken Reeves, a 1983 graduate of Penn State. “He would take people up there with literally hundreds of saplings, and they would descend on that shale pit and plant those saplings in the hopes that one or two would actually grow.”

In this and other ways, Ken said, “He made it a habit to pass on his passion to alumni, young and old.” That passion extended beyond the mountain to all things Penn State. His famous slide shows included shots from campus and seasonal sequences of Mount Nittany. At one time, his slide show was the second most popular program offered to alumni chapters, surpassed only by Coach Paterno, related Tom Kidd, a 1955 graduate of Penn State: “People would stand up and cheer after seeing the slide show, ‘For the Glory of Old State.’ He was an extraordinary fellow,” said Tom, and that sentiment is shared by all who knew Mike.

Ken remembers Mike as a sincere and caring man, and a devoted husband and father. Mike was awarded the prestigious Lion’s Paw Medal in 1980, for, among other things, “his constant glorification of Dear Old State,” and “his reverent watch over Mt. Nittany.” In the pamphlet written for the occasion, Mike described his work on Lion’s Paw’s Mountain Committee: “Our main objective there is to keep Mount Nittany free from construction and ruin, so that old grads can see the symbol of Penn State like it was when they were in school.”

Mike died in 1983 while walking into Giants Stadium to attend the first Kickoff Classic against Nebraska. “If it had to happen, it was nice that it happened on the way in, so he didn’t have to endure our loss against Nebraska,” noted John. The previous year, Penn State had beaten Nebraska in Beaver Stadium and gone on to win the National Title. But in that Kickoff Classic, the Lions lost to Nebraska 44-6, so “when Mike died, we were still number one.”

Our Mountain
by Mike Lynch

Across the silent valley stands our Mountain old and strong,
Part of our college heritage in story and in song.

Through all the natural seasons, we watch her change her face,
Shedding the white of winter to green with gentle grace.

In the heat of the summer, she grows new leaves and wood,
In the golden glow of autumn, her beauty is understood.

What is it about this Mountain, with rugged rocks and rills,
That gives we Penn Staters a thousand prideful thrills.

It’s a sense of belonging to a school that’s part of us,
In the annals of our lives, we mark it as a plus.

Today, we pledge our loyalty to our Mountain and Old State,
By doing this, we join our founders, strong and great.

A Mountain’s Tale

This article is from the publication Faces of Penn State, Vol 8 No. 1 Winter 1982. The piece describes Mountain legends and history.

Things have changed since it was published. The Outing Club no longer maintains the trails (the Conservancy does it now) or hosts a climb up Mt. Nittany to start the school year. The Halloween “Idiot Overnight” event has also fallen by the wayside.

What remains the same is the “special place in the hearts of Penn Staters” that the Mountain still holds. At the end, we also are given a glimpse into the formation of the Mount Nittany Conservancy.

“Not-any Mountain”

It’s not really much of a Mountain. It measures only 2,077 feet above sea level, or 1,050 feet above the valley floor – hardly a Himalaya, by any standards. Irreverent visitors and tourists at one point dubbed it “Not-any Mountain.”

But Mount Nittany looms regally over Penn State by making up in tradition and familiarity what it lacks in geological fact. And to every true Penn Stater, it’s as much a part of the University as the school song which mentions it.

Mt. Nittany is at the fore of the Nittany Mountains, an 80-mile ridge that stretches from the Centre Region to the Susquehanna River near Lewisburg. It’s visible from anywhere in the Nittany Valley, and is, for alumni, the first verification that they are indeed “home” at their beloved alma mater.

Mt. Nittany seems always to have owned a special place in the hearts of Penn Staters, inspiring romantic and mystic legends as to its origin. As long ago as 1916, when the mountainous surrounds of the then Pennsylvania State College were serious obstacles instead of picturesque scenery, students waxed poetic about the Indian princess, Nitta-nee.

Legends, as quoted in the 1916 La Vie yearbook, holds that an old warrior and his squaw, living in the valley, planted crops that were wrested from them by a cantankerous North Wind at harvest time. After several hungry winters, they were rescued by a mysterious Indian maid from the hills who taught them to build shields against the wind. The appreciative Indians called her Nitta-nee, which meant “wind-breaker.”

When she was stricken by a mysterious illness and died, the warrior and his wife built her a burial mound which, during a cataclysmic night storm, was transformed by the Great Spirit into Mt. Nittany. This version of the legend is joined by many other slightly varying versions in a clamor for preeminence. But that has never been a problem, because the Mountain has always inspired a reverent mysticism that rises above mere fact.

It was with this reverence that sprang to life in the fall of 1945. William Ulerich, then editor at the Centre Daily Times (later to become president of the University’s Board of Trustees), and Russell Clark got wind of the rumor that the Mountain would be sold to a lumber company and stripped of its tress. With only hours left to save the Mountain, the men bought the upper two-thirds of Mt. Nittany in the name of Lion’s Paw, an honorary society which uses the Mountain for its “secret” solemn night induction ceremonies.

The society, which has annually inducted the outstanding senior students leaders since 1908, paid $2,000 for 517 acres – a good deal, even though it’s rumored that the “lumber company” was actually a ruse to speed the sale of the land.

Lion’s Paw, which has long promoted the best traditions of Penn State, has sent many honorees on to fame in various fields, and many have served as University trustees. The society and its Alumni Association were apt choices as stewards of the Mountain. They dedicated themselves to the preservation of the Mountain in its present, unspoiled, “green and growing” state, and designated it “a shrine to all Penn State alumni who were killed fighting all the United States’ wars.”

Since then, the society and association have increased their holdings to 537 acres and weathered several attempts to make “improvements” of all kinds to the Mountain.

Once close call came in 1921, when there was great popular support for the erection of a gigantic “S” on the Mountain’s face. It would either have been made of concrete (and painted white) or of light and dark-leafed trees. The idea was catching on and gaining monetary support until its deflation by famous writer and professor of English Frederick L. Pattee, who called the addition “a hideous scar” that would turn the Mountain into a “sensational object” and “a mere billboard.” Enthusiasm waned immediately thereafter.

Since that threat, there have assuredly been other, lesser attempts. But the society’s stance has been to quietly ward off all challenges with minimal fanfare, letting Mountain defend itself as much as possible. And the Mountain has done remarkably well; in many cases, the best action for Lion’s Paw to take has been no action.

The “hands-off” policy has worked especially well in the case of recreational use of Mt. Nittany, according to Michael “Mr. Mountain” Lynch, chairman of the Lion’s Paw’s Mt. Nittany Committee.

“For many, many years, the Mountain has been a favorite area for students who want to hike and camp,” Mr. Lynch says. “It’s in use every season of the year. And, since it has never been abused, we’ll continue to rely on the good sense of the Penn State students, who’ve always protected the landmark.”

A burst of interest in hiking and camping, the proximity of the Mountain, and the relative ease of the climb to the top have made Mt. Nittany more popular than ever with Penn Staters, according to Larry C. Brody, president of the Penn State Outing Club. One of the most popular of the Penn State traditions is an annual climb up Mt. Nittany to kick off each school year. The climb is especially “de rigueur” for freshmen.

“We tell freshmen that it’s required for graduation,” Mr. Brody confesses. “After the climb, some even ask us to sign their cards saying they’ve made the climb. We had about 125 people climb it this year, though the crowd varies with the weather; it has been as high as 300. After the climb, we provide a free dinner of ‘tube steaks’ (hot dogs) and lemonade for everyone at the base of the Mountain.”

The Outing Club’s Hiking Division builds and maintains trails on Mt. Nittany, and sells a hiking map of the area that includes hiking trails up the Mountain. The Hal White Trail, named after the retired associate professor of recreation and parks who helped start the Outing Club, is the most popular: it’s the best-marked (and easiest) way to the top.

“There are really only one or two official trails up, but so many people hike up from Penn State that there’s a network of ‘unofficial’ trails,” Mr. Brody says.

“Lots of people are hiking up every day, with more on weekends. If they don’t have classes the next day, they’ll go climb and spend the night. I hear we’ve even gotten calls on the easiest way to roll a keg of beer up.”

Probably the newest Mt. Nittany tradition is the “Idiot Overnight,” inspired by Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” cartoon. On or near Halloween, groups of students climb to the summit to await the arrival of “The Great Pumpkin.” Though there have been no verified sightings, many students keep the vigil.

But not everyone is as fond and protective of the Mountain as true Penn Staters. Mr. Lynch has all sorts of stories that he could tell of encroachments of all kinds; they include the construction of an unauthorized cable television antenna, a shale pit, ramshackle huts and shacks, and dirtbike riders.

It may be the mystique of the Mountain, but Mr. Lynch says that none of these incidents have ever managed to disturb it for long. All have ceased through little or no action of the society, usually even before they’re discovered.

Probably the only lasting “intrusion” on nature is noteworthy because it occurred more than 6,000 years ago. University archaeological researchers have uncovered the remains of an Indian hunting camp that dates back to 8,000 B.C. The Derry Site, as it’s called, was first located in 1978, and is being researched by Penn State doctoral candidate Christopher Stevenson, with Penn State regional archaeologist Dr. Conran Hay.

Because of its location on the Mountain, the site was undisturbed by farming or building in later eras, and offers valuable relics and information on native American life centuries before Columbus arrived.

A more recent, but less successful, invasion attempt came in the spring and summer of 1981, when the scourge of gypsy moth descended on most of the northeastern Unites States. Centre County suffered the most damage of any county in Pennsylvania, and the defoliation of Mt. Nittany would have been particularly devastating: one portion of the bowl shaped Beaver Stadium had been left incomplete precisely so that Penn Staters could enjoy the Mountain’s flaming fall foliage while the Nittany Lion football team trounced its victims. But the ever vigilant Lion’s Paw was equal to the task.

Lion’s Paw Alumni Association members, who had been following gypsy moth infestation patterns over preceding years, were prepared for the onslaught that caught so many others by surprise. Insecticide sprayings of most of the Mountain had been arranged with the county and state in October 1980. The bill for the sprayings – almost $1,800 – was met through a fund raising drive within its 625 members and a $900 donation from the Delta Chi fraternity.

“We were concerned about it three years ago, and we consulted with entomologists then,” Mr. Lynch explains. “I’d talked to the alumni and members of Delta Chi about it, and the president of the fraternity came to me three years ago to ask if they could run their annual marathon for the Mountain.”

Mt. Nittany’s future can literally be described as “green and growing,” as a motto for the Mountain says. The growing part reflects Lion’s Paw’s continuing efforts to acquire more of the Mountain. It is moving to buy two more parcels of land which will put its total holdings over 580 acres.

The green is appropriate because money is needed to complete the purchases, land surveys, and other costs. And, according to J. Arthur Stober, president of the Lion’s Paw board of directors, the way is being made for all Penn Staters to contribute to the growth and care of their shrine.

“In the past, Lion’s Paw members have contributed money for land purchases, taxes, gypsy moth spraying, and everything else,” he says. “But now, we’re forming the Mount Nittany Conservancy, Inc., a non-profit corporation dedicated to the upkeep of the Mountain.

“Anyone will be able to make tax-deductible donations to the Conservancy, and be assured that the money will go only for the Mountain,” he says. Contributions can be made to the Conservancy in care of Lion’s Paw Alumni Association in 104 Old Main, University Park, PA 16802.