Partnership Welcome & Update
The South Mountain Partnership works best as a network of people and organizations working toward common goals.

Our common goal? Making the future of our region better.
For nearly 15 years, the South Mountain Partnership has galvanized resources to support organizations, landowners, municipalities and others in south-central Pennsylvania in their land conservation, historic preservation, and community revitalization efforts. Now a new organization is supporting the Partnership itself — and making it easier for others to contribute financially to its work.

The Friends of South Mountain Partnership launched July 1, the result of an agreement between SMP
and The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC), a community foundation based in Harrisburg. Through the agreement, TFEC will provide a variety of administrative resources, such as event registration and fund management, including donations made to the Friends group.

The relationship between SMP and TFEC and creation of the Friends group will help the Partnership move toward a longtime goal of diversifying and strengthening its financial footing.

A public-private partnership led by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, SMP is funded by the commonwealth’s  Environmental Stewardship Fund . Each year, however, the status of those funds grows more precarious. This year, with the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the likelihood is increasing that those monies could be redirected elsewhere.

The ultimate beneficiary of this effort will be SMP’s growing network of landowners, businesses, nonprofits, governmental agencies and others who call the South Mountain landscape home. “We want to continue helping our partners envision a better economic future, tackle our shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic and recreational resources that define our region and make it a place where so many people want to live, work and play,” Hess said.

Learning more about the Friends of the South Mountain Partnership by visiting .
Fall Partnership Meeting
Our Fall Meeting will be held on the morning of September 18 and will most likely be a webinar because COVID-19 cases are rising and meeting and travel restrictions continue. The Program Subcommittee is finalizing speakers; the agenda will focus on how organizations can better advocate for resources and best practices for messaging and communications. We'll likely also form break-out groups for attendees to connect with others throughout the region doing similar work.
September 18 @ 9:00 am
SMP Director Presents on Landscape-Scale Efforts to National Audience
South Mountain Partnership Director, Katie Hess, was asked to present on the organization’s landscape level work and its connections to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy during a May 2020 webinar for the National Park Service’s (NPS) “ Connected Conservation ” effort. Other presenters during the webinar include Julie Judkins from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Kayla Carter from the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.
New Leadership Committee Members
The Leadership Committee operates to provide strategic direction and oversight of the South Mountain Partnership. The Leadership Committee was convened in 2011 to ensure direct partner engagement in the Partnership’s work; the Committee represents the diversity of partners and interest areas of the broader South Mountain Partnership, and also reflects the region’s geography.
Social Media & Partner News Roundup
The following are some of the most recent popular posts from our Facebook page,
followed by partner-submitted news we thought you might find useful.

Follow us for the latest news, upcoming events, and more!
South Mountain Partnership
Shippensburg University Signs Campus Climate Commitment, SMP as Community Partner
Shippensburg University, in collaboration with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the South Mountain Partnership (SMP), and Michaux State Forest, is launching a campus/community task force as one of its first initiatives under the Campus Climate Commitment. The task force will engage stakeholders from around the region.

“One of the first initiatives will be to launch a campus/community task force, working with DCNR and the South Mountain Partnership to convene folks from around the region to identify the pieces of community resiliency that are most important to them,” said Dr. Claire Jantz, who is co-chair of the Campus Climate Commitment effort with professor Dr. Russ Hedberg.
Project Profile: Dillsburg Heart & Soul
The South Mountain Partnership is partnering with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC), the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Dillsburg Arts and Revitalization Council , and the Orton Family Foundation to support Dillsburg along its path to becoming stronger and more vibrant using Community Heart & Soul®, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.

“Seeing communities come together, deepening their connection to one another and to the things that they love about their communities is half of what makes me a supporter of this project,” said Katie Hess, the South Mountain Partnership’s director. “The other half is about community development and economic revitalization based on those shared values – ways for the community to build wealth that stays in Dillsburg and retains and improves quality of life.”

If you are interested in being a part of the Dillsburg Heart & Soul effort, please reach out to them through their Facebook page at
Partner Updates from Spring (Virtual) Meeting
After the June 5, 2020 Spring (Virtual) Meeting we sent a survey to all participants to see if they had any partner news, events, or updates. The following is content shared with us. We always welcome partner updates for this e-newsletter, as well as for our website and social media accounts, so if you have anything you would like to share with the rest of us, please send to Katie at . Thanks!
  • The PA Fish and Boat Commission finally (after 15 years of trying) achieved the passage of legislation that authorizes a Fishing License fee increase! A news release will be issued as soon as Governor Wolf signs the Bill.
  • After 69 consecutive summers of presenting the finest in live Broadway musicals and plays at our theater in Caledonia State Park, the Totem Pole Playhouse has had to postpone its 70th Anniversary season until next summer... hopefully. This will be an extremely challenging financial time for this venerable cultural landmark in the middle of Michaux State Forest.
  • The York County Agricultural Land Preservation Board selected three farms for farmland preservation during their May 19 Board Mtg and will be considering more during their June 16 meeting.
  • York County: Keep your eyes open for the announcement of the Open Space and Land Preservation Grant program later this summer!
Share with the region through the Around South Mountain e-newsletter and the SMP Website!
Send us your events, trainings, work days, celebrations, challenges, and other updates. Type "For Newsletter" in the subject line of your email. Include your event date, time, location, title, and short description. We will try to include on our website and/or in the next issue. Thanks!
Trainings, Workshops & Learning Opportunities
Due to the COVID-19 and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), please visit individual partner organization's websites to confirm event details prior to the event. Stay healthy!
Virtual National Land Conservation Conference
The Land Trust Alliance is pleased to host the first-ever virtual Rally: National Land Conservation Conference October 6–8, offering an interactive, cost-effective and rewarding opportunity for any member of the conservation community to participate.

The first to be announced Rally speaker is Nina Simon from the OF/BY/FOR ALL, a global nonprofit that creates tools to help organizations become more inclusive, relevant and sustainable. Simon is the best-selling author of The Participatory Museum and The Art of Relevance.

Registration details are available at .
Seeking Nominations for Great Public Spaces and Neighborhoods!

 If you know a special public space or neighborhood that displays a wealth of best practices in community planning and serves as a model for other communities, nominate it!

The   deadline for Nominations is
August 31 .
Calendar of Events
August 1
Caledonia & The Civil War
Come learn about Caledonia State Park's connections to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution. Join park staff every Saturday from July to September 5 from 2-4 pm to see how the area ties to the Civil War. Participation is limited to 10 people, More info here .

August 7
First Friday Walks at Gifford Pinchot State Park
Led by the park naturalist, explore the trails in the Conewago Day Use area on an approximately 1.5-hour easy walk. Held on the first Friday of every month through October, starting at 10 am, this is a free program, and is retiree-friendly and family-friendly. More info here .

August 16
Yellow Breeches Family Cleanup
Join the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association at Lower Allen Park for a cleanup of the Breeches. Participants must bring their own canoe or kayak, life jacket, paddles, and water bottles. $10 donation accepted. More info here .

August 29
Sunset Hike at Kings Gap EEC
Enjoy the beautiful sunset on this free evening hike from 6-8 pm. This hike is about 2 miles on uneven terrain. Registration required by Thursday, August 27 to