Climb it 4 Climate is an annual campaign to raise money for student scholarships at Paul Smith’s College while raising awareness of our changing climate. Our goal this year is to raise $42,182 for two types of scholarships — change agents, available to all areas of study, and the other for women in science, environmental studies, or recreation.

Why $42,182? It’s the combined height of Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, two of the world’s Seven Summits. Paul Smith’s College President Cathy Dove will attempt to reach Africa’s ceiling and, and two months later, Instructor Bethany Garretson will attempt the same in South America. Both are going to use their journeys to collect climate stories along the way.


See your dollars doubled! Through Paul Smith’s College’s Coming Home Challenge, all gifts are matched by an anonymous donor. Those donations go into the college’s general fund.

Click here to help make a difference!



Want to support Climb it 4 Climate and metaphorically climb Aconcagua?

Bethany and Spencer’s team begins their journey to South America on 2/14. Between the dates of 2/15 to 3/4, form teams up to six people to rack up a total elevation gain of 22,841 feet.

Get a team! Give yourself a name and mascot. 😊
Record every foot of elevation gain. All elevation gain must be foot powered (No driving cars up mountains) and even climbing stairs, rock walls and ice walls count, just track yourself with an elevation app. You can also hit the back country and climb a mountain. For example, a hike up Mount Marcy from the ADK Lodge would count for 3,170 feet. With a group of six, you’d nearly have your elevation goal!

Please follow the format below when recording and submitting your elevation challenge. When entering elevation gain include: Name, date, task, picture and elevation gain

Example: (From Cathy’s Kilimanjaro Challenge)

Team Name: The Bombers
Team Members: Bethany Garretson and Andy Johnstone
Mascot: Marshall the Bobcat!
Bethany, 12/26, hiking Mount Marcy, 3,170 feet
Andy, 12/26, hiking Mount Marcy, 3,170 feet
*When you’ve hit 22,841 feet or more of elevation gain, send in your list and pictures to Andy Johnstone at

Where does this challenge take place? Everywhere! East coast, west coast, NYC skyscrapers and ADK mountains. Be creative and safe. Feel free to post photos on our Climb it 4 Climate Facebook page too! And PSC social media using the hashtags #Smittypix and #Climbit4climate

All participants will be entered to win a surprise prize!


Climb it 4 Climate is led by a group of globally minded students and faculty at Paul Smith’s College. Above is Bobcat Marshall, our spirited mascot!


By the end of 2017, Climb it 4 Climate pulled in funds to support projects at Osgood Farm, including an irrigation system, chicken coop, compost system, vegetable garden and programming.




Bethany Garretson is an Environmental Studies instructor at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York. She’s a passionate mountain climber and writer, and her research examines the intricate relationship between nature and culture. After participating in Bill McKibben’s “Step It Up” campaign in 2007, Bethany felt inspired to focus her efforts on climate change education. In 2016, she formed Climb it 4 Climate, a mountain climbing fundraiser that brought in over $30,000 in its first year. Outreach was wide and proceeds went toward improving sustainability and supporting scholarships at Paul Smith’s College.

More at »



Dr. Cathy S. Dove is the 10th President of Paul Smith’s College. Since joining the college in 2014 she has developed a passion for the Adirondack region and spends as much time as possible exploring the mountains and lakes. Cathy is a long-standing advocate for environmental and wildlife issues, and with thanks to the faculty at Paul Smith’s College has become much more educated about critical issues such as climate change. She decided to tackle Kilimanjaro as a way of raising awareness for these global challenges, as Kili’s shrinking glaciers are a clear indicator of environmental global change. At the same time, she is using the trip to raise scholarship support for PSC students — our next generation of environmental leaders.


Bethany is working with the Climate Stories Project, an effort to allow people from around the world to share their stories and to engage with climate change messaging in a direct way.

Dr. Curt Stager, when asked about how climate change is impacting the Adirondack Park:

1. Weather stations scattered all over the Park confirm that it is getting warmer, especially in September and June but also other times of year, including winter. The rate is similar to that of global warming as a whole.

2. Ice-out records from Mirror Lake go back a century, and they show that ice goes out a week or two earlier than it did half a century ago. Our own lake shows the same trend since the 1970s, as do several other ADK lakes. Lake Champlain’s freeze-up record goes back two centuries, showing a definite increase of ice-free winters in recent decades. All because warming is shortening our winters on both ends of the season.

3. Weather records from the ADKs show that heavy rainstorms are becoming more frequent. Storms dropping 2 inches or more in a day over the ADKs show a statistically significant increase over the past century.

4. Diary observations of animals and plants on or near PSC campus show statistically significant changes in the timing of spring emergences and flowerings. native bees are emerging earlier, salamanders are migrating earlier, red maples are blooming earlier.

Dr. Curt Stager

Professor, Paul Smith's College


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