This landscape is home, it is where we live. Together, the Partnership strives to collaborate in sustaining all that makes our home landscape so special and all that supports the quality of life that we enjoy.

News Around South Mountain
We've Been Busy Planning for a Better Future 
Courtesy of Tonia Hess

The South Mountain Partnership (SMP) is happy to announce the completion of a strategic action plan that it will use from 2018 to 2021 to advance its efforts and help grow the partnership.
From fall 2017 through early summer 2018, fifteen partnering organizations from Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties - each serving as members of SMP's Leadership Committee - worked with a strategic planning consultant hired with funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust's and Funders Network's Regional Capacity Building program. Each of these member organizations have pledged to help implement the new plan.
To create the Strategic Plan, the group assessed the organizational model and program of South Mountain Partnership. The assessment found that deepened partner engagement, clarified goals and structure, and targeted brand awareness will help the SMP, as well as partnering organizations, to enact bigger, better conservation goals and projects.
"One element of the Strategic Plan that is most energizing for our group is the creation of working and advisory committees," said Katie Hess, Director of the SMP. "We learned that, while we are getting partners in the room together to learn and have a good time, we had no mechanism in place to help empower them to take action and authority over projects collaboratively or to delegate work to willing partners."
Hess went on to say that, "The assessment showed that many partners desire to be more engaged in their areas of expertise and to take on more responsibility within the SMP. All that was missing was a mechanism for us to activate these partners. This is addressed in our new Strategic Plan through the creation of working and advisory committees formed around different sectors, topics, and priorities."
This structure will create a more collaborative framework that existing and new partner organizations can 'plug into' to better promote and preserve the Landscape Resources of the South Mountain landscape region.
The South Mountain Partnership is a great way for people to get more involved with promoting and preserving the Agricultural, Cultural/Historic, Natural, and Recreational resources that make the region so unique and the quality of life so high. To stay informed on the strategic planning process as it moves forward, be sure to visit on a regular basis.
The South Mountain Partnership would like to thank the following partners who were heavily involved in the strategic planning process:
  • Adams County Planning Department
  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  • Capital Resource Conservation & Development (Capital RC&D)
  • Center for Land Use & Sustainability, Shippensburg University
  • Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation/Visitors Bureau
  • Cumberland County Planning Department
  • Franklin County Planning Department
  • Franklin County Visitors Bureau
  • Land Conservancy of Adams County
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA
  • PA Audubon
  • PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR)
  • PA State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO), PA Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC)
  • Partnership for Better Health
  • York County Planning Commission


South-central PA Watershed Workshop a Success!
On June 20, more than 50 members of watershed groups, state agencies, nonprofits, and others gathered at Dickinson College in Carlisle to share their success stories, learn from their peers, and discuss challenges and opportunities related to watershed health across south-central Pennsylvania.

The workshop was hosted by the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) at Dickinson College and co-organized by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), Capital RC&D, the PA Organization for Watersheds & Rivers (POWR), and the South Mountain Partnership. It was one of many such workshops being held across the Commonwealth to identify needs and provide organizational capacity and technical resource tools to those working to improve water quality.

Attendees learned about t he use of high resolution land cover data, drone imaging, and story maps for riparian buffer mapping and management from Claire Jantz and Scott Drzyzga at the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University. Also highlighted was the Conodoguinet Creek Snapshot Program by Lori Glace with the Cumberland County Conservation District and Helen Schlimm from ALLARM. In addition, tips on how to effectively w ork with municipalities were offered by Susan Myerov with PEC.
Capital RC&D and the South Mountain Partnership will be organizing follow-up trainings throughout the second half of 2018 and early 2019 for anyone interested in conserving and enhancing watershed health across south-central Pennsylvania. Details will be posted to the South Mountain Partnership website as it becomes available.
Next Speakers Series Event - August 16
Doors open at 6:00 pm & refreshments will be provided!

Join the South Mountain Partnership and the Gleaning Project of South Central Pennsylvania on August 16 at 6:00 p.m. at the Adams County Arts Council, located at 125 S. Washington Street, Gettysburg, to learn what gleaning is and how you can get involved.

The Gleaning Project processes and preserves excess produce left on local farms after the harvest. Volunteers keep their hands busy while learning about the work on this non-profit collaborative community solution to reduce food loss on farms and improve regional food security. All preserved produce is distributed to food insecure community members through the South Central Community Action Programs Produce Stand.

This is one speakers series program you won't want to miss!

For two weeks in August, when you visit select Adams County restaurants and order off the " Bounty of the County" menus, you will get to eat meals made with produce from the county's more than 20,000-acres of fruit and vegetable farms. This second-annual event, sponsored by the Adams County Fruit Growers Association, is a great way to eat well while supporting local farmers.

Adams County is the 4th largest producer of apples, and is also known for its peaches, nectarines, cherries, and myriad veggie varieties. By buying local produce, and eating and local restaurants that support local farms, you do your part to preserve local farmland, keep local farmers in business, and support the local economy in general.

So eat up this August! Additional details can be found here.

Funding for Community Revitalization is Available Now!

Are you looking for a way to enhance a local initiative through the creation of a partnership between the public and private sectors? Are you looking for funding to make your community a better place to live and work?

Then the Keystone Communities program offered through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) may be for you! The grant program, which is open from July 2 to August 31, 2018, supports community programs that work on the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. The program allows communities to tailor the assistance to meet the needs of its specific revitalization effort. Eligible entities include local governments, housing authorities, nonprofits, community development corporations, and business improvement districts.

One aspect of the program is designations. Communities may wish to consider one of the following designations: Keystone Main Street, Keystone Elm Street, Keystone Enterprise Zone, or Keystone Community. Designation is an opportunity for targeted investment and development, including the identification of specific needs for investment and/or development and the design and implementation of a strategy to address those needs.

The Keystone Elm Street program encourages communities to integrate downtown revitalization programs with a neighborhood renewal strategy for a residential area adjacent to a commercial district. Those designated residential neighborhoods then receive resources to enhance and improve quality of life.

The Keystone Main Street program follows the principles of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Approach. The designation serves to preserve and strengthen existing retail and business centers, make downtowns more attractive, act as a catalyst for small business development, among other goals.

Additional details about what is funded and how to apply can be found here.

SMP Trails Workshop Scheduled for November 20
The South Mountain Partnership, is pleased to be working with Capital RC&D, local county planning commissions, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and others to organize a workshop focused on trails and active transportation (bike lanes, walkable communities, etc.) in the south-central Pennsylvania region.
The one-day workshop will be held at Shippensburg University on Tuesday, November 20. Various breakout sessions as well as a mobile session will occur throughout the day, covering topics such as the economic benefits of trails, working with landowners and other stakeholders, and lessons learned from successful trail projects.
Anyone interested in financing, designing, constructing, and/or maintaining trails, bike lanes, and walkable communities is welcome to attend. More details will become available on the SMP website in the next few weeks.

Success! Cumberland Valley Will Not Build on Preserved Farm

Many thanks to all who came together to address the issue of development versus permanent conservation of protected farmland. Had the construction of a new school for the Cumberland Valley School District gone through on the McCormick Farm property, which had a conservation easement on it, it could have set bad precedent for land protection across Pennslvania.

The decision of the school board to halt its plans is in no small part due to a coalition of members of the public, non-profits, local government, local press, state agencies, and the PA legislature. We encourage this growing coalition to continue their efforts by diving deeper into the issues that helped to spark this situation, such as rapid growth and development, and land use planning. Learn more about the Strong Towns effort hereEach individual should also consider attending a Cumberland Conservation Collaboration meeting to meet many of the conservation and preservation organizations and volunteers in the area.
Related Articles:

Alone Time in Nature is Good for Body and Soul

According to a June 5, 2018 article published by CityLab, Americans are overscheduled and overwhelmed by technology. As a result, any opportunity for solitude and silence - which has health and mental wellbeing benefits - is nonexistent. We fill any quiet, "boring" moment with music, web videos, and games. Being truly alone makes many Americans anxious and uncomfortable.

However, being alone does not have to equal being lonely. And research shows that time spent alone in nature is actually good for our health.

The authors have been conducting research for nearly 20 years on Outward Bound and undergraduate wilderness program participants. They studied participants' experiences using multiple methods, including written surveys, focus group interviews, one-on-one interviews and field notes. In some cases, they revisited participants years later to ask them to look back and reflect on how the programs had affected them.

The studies showed that people who took part in these programs benefited from the outdoor settings and from the experience of being alone. Researchers can show that time alone in nature reduces stress and restores your attention.
To read the full article, click here.

Additional Items of Note 

Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities


July 28 - Chambersburg
Creek Cleanup - Creek Cleanup Project
Free - Learn more.

July 29 - Gardners
"Adventures of Angry Bird on the Via Alpina in Switzerland (2015)" - The Appalachian Trail Museum 
Free - Learn more.

August 1 - Gettysburg
Garden Chat - Penn State Master Gardeners 
Free - Learn more.

August 5 - Carlisle
Music on the Mountain: Bluegrass - The Friends of Kings Gap  
Free - Learn more.

August 12 - Gardners
"Water Races of Pine Grove Furnace" - The Appalachian Trail Museum
Free - Learn more.
August 14 - York
Flood Risk Workshop for Business Owners - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Free - Learn more.
August 16 - Gettysburg
Save the Bounty of our Counties: Preserving Produce with the Gleaning Project of South Central PA - South Mountain Partnership Speakers Series event
Free - Learn more.

August 25 - Chambersburg
Monarch Mania Class - Franklin County Master Gardeners 
Free - Learn more.

August 25 - Carlisle
Brick Repointing 101 Learning Lab - Cumberland County Historical Society 
Free - Learn more .
August 29 - Gettysburg
Garden Chat - Penn State Master Gardeners 
Free - Learn more.

September 2 - Carlisle
Music on the Mountain: Celtic - Friends of Kings Gap 
Free - Learn more.

September 14 and 15 - Pequea
"For the Trail, on the Trail" Training Event - Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
$40 per session - Learn more.
September 17- Shippensburg
Twilight of the Hemlocks and Beeches: Inspiring Photographs and Writings of Tim Palmer - South Mountain Partnership Speakers Series event 
Free - Learn more.

September 22 - Shippenburg
28th Annual Franklin Fall Farm Fun Fest at the Musser Farm
Free - Learn more.

September 29 - Mont Alto
The Cradle of Conservation: Hike at the Historic Pennsylvania State Forest Academy - South Mountain Partnership Speakers Series event 
Free - Learn more.

Please contact us anytime to add additional training opportunities to this list!  

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Do you have news to share with the South Mountain Region?  We welcome you to submit announcements and updates of projects and events that are strengthening our quality of life.  

Include an image and brief description of the event or call to action (approximately 3 sentences). 

CALL TO ACTION   Looking for ways to get involved in the South Mountain community? The following organizations and events are looking for volunteers:

Appalachian Trail Museum

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail 
contact:, 717-860-0444

Friends of Pine Grove State Furnace Park
contact: 717-486-7174

Friends of Caledonia State Park
contact: 717-352-2161

South Mountain Partnership
contact: Katie Hess at 717-258-5771
*Individuals with all experiences are welcome to volunteer. We especially need assistance from those with event and meeting coordination, as well as communications experience. 

PA Parks & Forest Foundation

South Mountain Partnership | Appalachian Trail Conservancy | 717-258-5771 |