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Article: Scholarship Winner: Emma Palermo

Scholarship Winner: Emma Palermo

Scholarship Winner: Emma Palermo

Emma embodies what we stand for at getting out there and giving back. We were impressed with her application and are proud to introduce her as one of our 2020 scholarship winners.    

From the moment Emma laid her eyes on the Adirondack Mountains she was hooked. Towering over New York, it’s no wonder she fell in love. As the first place she was introduced to the outdoors, it soon became her favorite place to hang out, play, reset and relax. In college, Emma was part of an outing club where she learned how to properly use climbing and backpacking gear. After graduating from college, she was naturally pulled back to the Adirondack Mountains. A job in outdoor education enabled her to teach others her same love and appreciation of the wilderness.

Today, Emma is striving to spread a love of nature and lead a good life. With the pandemic engulfing the nation right now, there is a lot to be sad or angry about, but Emma impressed us with her outlook on life. “A good life means being good to myself and others; listening more than I speak, putting effort into the earth that I love so much, supporting the people around me and asking for what I need.” 

You can follow Emma’s adventures here at or on Instagram at Some of her favorite brands are Altra and Black Diamond - known for their leading hiking and climbing gear.


Age: 22

Being outside makes me feel: strong! Being outside makes me feel capable to get through any of the challenges the earth throws at me. Rain? I won’t melt. A mountain? My legs are strong enough to carry me up it! Hitting a bonk? No worries, I remembered to bring the sour gummy worms:)

My hero: Mirna Valerio! She’s the coolest trail runner and marathoner ever, and uses her platform on Instagram and her blog to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the running community, all while being a supportive mom, leading workshops and retreats, writing a book, and generally being a badass!

What kinds of adventures will the gear on your wishlist make possible? I’m hoping to be doing some more climbing outside! A climbing helmet will complete my on-person gear and help keep me safe on the rock. I’d also like to get some baselayers, hiking pants, and some good gloves to help keep me warm on my hiking & backpacking trips – I’ve frozen my butt off too many times on a summit and I’d like to be cozy and prepared!

How will you pay it forward to your community? I’m starting a job as an outdoor educator in Montana this summer and I’m so looking forward to engaging with students again in the outdoors about geology, outdoor recreation, and other science topics! During the pandemic, I’ve been putting extra intention into picking up trash in my hometown, on my local trails.

In five years, I want to be: still kicking it in the outdoors! There are a lot of things that would bring me joy in the career department, and as long as I’m working with kids, the earth, and some level of silliness, I think I’ll be pretty content.

Bagels or donuts: bagels! The coffee shop my friends and I used to frequent in university sold this amazing bagel sandwich called the omega – housemade everything bagel, egg, cheese, and avocado!

Ocean or mountains: mountains – but a hard choice! I spent a summer farming on San Juan Island in Washington State and the mix of mountains and ocean was absolutely perfect.

Three things on your bucket list: hike the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains, have a piece of writing published, and pee off of Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park

Three words my friends would use to describe me: kind, adventurous, compassionate

Favourite book: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank or Get In Trouble by Kelly Link

Favourite movie: Zombieland!

Favourite cause: Adirondack Mountain Club and Girls on the Run!

Outdoor misadventure story, and what did you learn from your experience? I planned a backpacking trip with two friends and based too many of our logistics off of another hiker’s blog. We ended up camping on top of a mountain in a rainstorm and, in the morning, everything was soaked! I learned to always rely on my map and my own judgement when making plans, and to take all hiking blogs/reviews with several grains of salt!

If I’m not at school or outside, I am: writing and scribbling in my notebook or having a wholesome hang with friends!

Anything else? Stoked to be here, thanks!!

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