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Remembering Dr. Nancy Guttmann Slack

Remembering Dr. Nancy Guttmann Slack

January 17, 2023

ADK is deeply saddened by news that Dr. Nancy Guttmann Slack, a world-renowned scientist and notable author, has passed away. A leading figure in the alpine stewardship community, Nancy devoted her life to studying the alpine zone and inspiring others to protect it. 

Dr. Slack is well-known throughout the Northeast for her numerous field guides to alpine ecosystems, published through the Adirondack Mountain Club and Appalachian Mountain Club, which she coauthored with Allison Bell. Since their publication, they have helped introduce a new generation of naturalists, scientists, outdoor recreators, and others to the alpine zone, its significance, and how we can protect it for future generations.  

“Nancy was an outstanding writer and plant ecologist whose field guide, Adirondack Alpine Summits, coauthored with Allison Bell, has educated countless visitors to the High Peaks. She was exacting and demanding in her work, commensurate with the breadth and scope of her talents,” said Andrea Masters, former ADK Publications Editor, who worked with Dr. Slack on the field guide. 

In addition to her books for the lay audience, Dr. Slack’s research on mosses and lichens was global in scope and significance. Her most recent research focused on the impact of climate change on these tiny plants. 

Dr. Slack also supported the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program for many years. Using her expertise in botany and bryology, she led annual trainings with summit stewards to help familiarize them with the Adirondack Park’s rich alpine communities. 

“Whether through her research or the time she put into training stewards, Nancy was a tireless advocate for the Adirondack Park’s alpine zone. She played a key role in supporting the Summit Stewardship Program and other stewardship efforts in the northeast for many years. Between this and her field guides, I can think of few who have helped connect more people to the Northeast’s alpine ecosystems than Nancy,” said Julia Goren, ADK Deputy Executive Director and former Summit Steward Coordinator

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