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.

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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.


Adirondack Watershed Institute members come out to support the first year of Climb it for Climate. $33,440 was raised, including $8,920 by other hikers climbing 131 High Peaks, for sustainability initiatives at Paul Smith’s College.


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.


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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