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Dear friend,

It happens every so often. All the times I get to share how we can use science education to address the world's problems. And each time I use the same example: the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program.

In the 1960s, New York's alpine zone, which contains the state's greatest concentration of rare and endangered flora, had all but deteriorated. Fragile plants had been trampled by hikers nearly to the point of eradication. And they would have been too, if the commitment wasn't made to be there every morning when that first hiker came above the tree line; the dedicated steward kindly directing them to stay on the rock face so as not to disturb the deer's hair and Bigelow's edge, the alpine azalea and alpine sweetgrass, the Diapensia and Lapland rosebay.

It was a relatively simple function, repeated consistently for several decades that successfully instilled a common ethic among repeat hikers who now know to do the "rock walk."

As a result, the miraculous occurred. The rare plants, once on the brink of extirpation, came back.

Last season was a particularly historic one for the program. For the first time since the 1980s, dwarf willow—once thought to have been extirpated—was rediscovered for the first time on Algonquin.

This is undoubtedly the result of decades of commitment by our stewards that have allowed previously undetected populations to flourish.

By using education, trail maintenance, and research, the Summit Stewardship Program continues to successfully protect New York's alpine ecosystem. With your help, we can continue and expand these efforts to include conducting photopoint monitoring in critical areas to demonstrate the impact that stewards have on this fragile ecosystem and educate more hikers on and off the mountain.

Yours in gratitude,

Kayla White
Deputy Director of Stewardship

 

 

Michael Barrett
Executive Director

FieldSet

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