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
Register Now for Spring Partnership Meeting

Join Us! for the Spring Partnership-wide Meeting
Topics include a focus on the region's water quality and pollution reduction requirements, the ATC's new Wild East initiative, and more! Plus, time for general announcements, updates, and networking.

Friday, May 3rd
9:00 am to 12:00 noon 
Penn State Fruit Research & Extension Center
Biglerville, Adams County 

9:00 AM        Informal networking & light breakfast

9:30 AM         Welcome & Opening Remarks
                          Adams County &  South Mountain Partnership                       
10:00 AM      County Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP3) - What they mean for                           Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties?
                           Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
                           & Adams County Planning Department

10:40 AM      Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership - creating local capacity
                           Chesapeake Bay Foundation

11:00 AM       Break

11:15 AM      "Wild East" Initiative
                          Appalachian Trail Conservancy

11:45 AM        Announcements & Updates

12:00 PM         Meeting Ends

12:05 PM          Optional Lunch (must register in advance)

**Due to space limitations at the venue, all attendees MUST register in advance**

About the Spring meeting:

Twice annually (Spring and Fall), the Partnership holds a Partnership-wide meeting in which all partners and interested parties are invited to come together and build relationships and collaborations. These meetings are a chance to:
  • Connect or reconnect with the Partnership, learning more about the initiative and on-going projects
  • Build and strengthen a network among organizations working throughout the region
  • Spark conversation and collaboration across political and sectorial boundaries
  • Help partners understand opportunities to engage in the on-going work of the Partnership
  • Allow partners to help define the direction of the Partnership

Recap: 8th annual  "Power of the Partnership"  Year-End Celebration

On February 1, 2019 over 130 attendees gathered at the 8th Annual "Power of the Partnership" Year-End Celebration to celebrate the successes of 2018, to have fun and spend time together, and to participate in the awarding of the 2018  South Mountain Mini-Grants and the 2018  Spirit of South Mountain Award , which went to Karen Lutz, retired regional director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Join your fellow regional advocates and leaders at the next "Power of the Partnership" event in early 2020. Until then, see what happened this year, organization you could get involved with, and how you can help to strengthen the 'power' of the Partnership in the p lace we all call 'home'. 

$10,000 to the Archaeological Conservancy, for trail building, interpretive signage, and am teaching aid at Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park near Greencastle. The award was accepted by Kelley Berliner and Andrew Stout, on behalf of the Archaeological Conservancy and project partners at Antrim Township, Greencastle-Antrim School District, Shippensburg University, and the Allison-Antrim Museum.

$5,500 to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, to develop a Letort Spring Garden Preserve management plan for the high value coldwater spring, to serve as a model for protection and management of high value natural resources within agricultural and urban contexts. This award was accepted by Ben Mummert, on behalf of Central Pennsylvania Conservancy and project partners at Letort Regional Authority, South Middleton Township, Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited, and Cumberland County Historical Society.

$17,160 to the Land Conservancy of Adams County, for planning and design of the 2.7-mile long Orchard Ales Trail to connect three permanently preserved farms and popular agritourism destinations and to promote broader support for land preservation. The award was accepted by Sarah Kipp, on behalf of the Land Conservancy of Adams County and project partners at Boyer Cellars, Nurseries and Orchards, the Round Barn's Thirsty Farmer Brewery, and Hauser Estate Winery.

$1,600 to Messiah College Office of Sustainability, for conversion of one acre to honeybee forage area, establishment of six Pennsylvania stock bee colonies, and changes to the sustainability major curriculum to provide student experience in programming for community-wide education and on-campus apiary and ecological conservation. The award was accepted by Brandon Hoover, on behalf of Messiah College Office of Sustainability and project partner Bee Friendly.

$5,740 to Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society, to restore the structural integrity of the National Apple Harvest Museum so that the facility can be promoted once again for educational and tourism purposes, promoting the natural resources that make the South Mountain landscape a specialized agricultural region. The award was accepted by Lucinda Heller and Robert Wenger, on b eh alf of Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society and project partners at Adams County Fruit Growers Association and Piney Ridge Timber Frames.

$10,000 to the National Wild Turkey Federation, to contribute to the landscape scale Big Pine Flat "Oak-Savanna" Restoration Project that will restore and manage approximately 470 acres of wildlife habitat in Michaux State Forest. The Big Pine Flats project will restore the area from overgrown hardwood forest into a mosaic of savanna and barren-like habitat, restoring landscape function while creating useable space for wild turkeys and other wildlife species. The award was accepted by Mitchell Blake, on behalf of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the local Fort Chambers, Adams County Longbeards, Michaux-Yellow Breeches, and Shippensburg Strutters chapters, as well as Michaux State Forest.

The 2018 Spirit of South Mountain award was given to Karen Lutz, retired Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). Karen joined the staff of ATC in 1988 after volunteering and being a founding member of the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club. Congrats to Karen and all the grantees!

South Mountain Mini-Grant Program Opens April First

The South Mountain Partnership's Mini-Grant Program was created in 2009 to catalyze on-the-ground projects that further the goals of the Partnership, and to advance the capacity of partners to complete projects throughout the region. The Program provides funding, on a competitive basis, to projects that sustain the South Mountain landscape's sense of place by protecting and promoting the region's Landscape Resources.

Examples of past project include trail and outdoor recreation infrastructure development (including signage); habitat restoration efforts; ecological research projects (targeting specific, defined management challenges); regional resource promotion and guides; resource interpretation; historical preservation; adaptive reuse and feasibility studies; education programming and development; and planning and revitalization studies and supportive efforts. Please note: land-use planning efforts at the municipal level (i.e. updating comprehensive plans or drafting zoning or subdivision and land development ordinances) are an acceptable use of Mini-Grant funding.

The pre-application period for the 2019 Funding Round is open from Monday, April 1 through Friday, May 31. All pre-applications must be received by 5 pm on Friday, May 31, 2019. Only applicants with strong pre-applications will be invited to submit a final application by July 31st. Invitations to submit final applications will be distributed by June 11, 2019. 

Project proposals addressing water resources will be given priority, as well as projects that assist municipalities and/or counties to implement conservation and preservation elements of their comprehensive plans. We are especially interested in projects that demonstrate significant, measurable project outcomes in helping municipalities and counties to:
  • Build capacity to meet water pollution reduction goals
  • Implement a watershed management, restoration, or a protection plan or strategy that has been adopted by local government 
  • Implement an approved strategy for addressing total maximum daily load study (TMDL) or well head protection plan 
The South Mountain Partnership Mini-Grant Program was developed in 2009 and financial support is provided by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through the Environmental Stewardship Fund.

Inaugural South Mountain Science Summit This April
Photo courtesy of Center for Land Use & Sustainability @ Shippensburg University

The inaugural South Mountain Science Summit will be held on April 11th and will launch set the stage for the 2020 South Mountain Research Corp. This pilot program will convene land owners, land managers, and academic researchers to learn ways to better connect research and land management needs throughout the region. The goal is to generate practical learning opportunities for all involved that will have a positive impact on land stewardship. 

Many landowners in the South Mountain region (consisting of portions of Adams, Franklin, Cumberland, and York counties) want to leave their land better than when they first gained ownership. Through time and dedication to managing the land, they have undoubtedly formed a strong attachment to it. At times, landowners may have questions about management issues and decisions.

At the same time, college students are looking for opportunities to gain tangible
experience and insight from work in the field so they can build skills that are
immediately applicable when interviewing for and starting their careers. In addition, may researchers from throughout the region are seeking research opportunities.

It is with those landowners, students, and researchers in mind that the South Mountain Research Corps was developed through collaboration among the South Mountain Partnership, the Center for Land Use and Sustainability of Shippensburg University, and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

To date, 14 land owners and land managers from throughout the region have expressed interest in learning more about Science Summit and Research Corp but more are encouraged to participate through one or more upcoming calls to action.
More information about the history and future of the South Mountain Research Corps can be found at

Watershed Workshop Kick Starts New Focus

Watershed groups across the South Mountain region have made great strides in protecting and improving water quality, keeping riparian areas as green space, and raising awareness about the importance of our rivers and streams. When these groups work collaboratively with their local municipalities, the impact of these partnerships magnifies the results and ensures longevity of the projects. 

On March 16, forty attendees from municipalities, watershed groups, and other organizations in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties gathered at the Adams County Conservation District office in Gettysburg  for a free half-day workshop to learn how several watershed groups in the South Mountain region was working effectively with their local municipalities on watershed protection efforts.

The morning kicked off with a welcome from Joe Hallinan, watershed specialist for Adams County, Susan Richards, Executive Director of Capital RC&D, and Katie Hess, Director of the South Mountain Partnership. This was followed by a brief overview of the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership by Brenda Sieglitz, partnership manager.

The bulk of the workshop included case studies of successful watershed group / municipal partnership efforts from across the South Mountain region:
Time was left at the end for all attendees to share what their organizations are doing to protect and enhance water quality in the South Mountain region, with the hopes that new cooperative projects will form as a result.

Presentations from the event can be viewed here.

Because of the success of the event and the overwhelming interest from attendees, the South Mountain Partnership, Capital RC&D, and others may offer another watershed-related event for 2020.

This workshop is funded by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, Chesapeake Bay Trust, National Fish and Wildlife Federation, US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chesapeake Bay Program. It was also funded by a convening grant from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.

2019 Speakers Series Underway!

The South Mountain Speakers Series is an annual lecture series hosted by the South Mountain Partnership. Each event highlights a specific topic or challenge central to the Partnership's mission and goals of protecting and promoting landscape resources.

The following free public events remain in the 2019 season:
  • April 16, 7 pm, at Dickinson College in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium in Carlisle. Charcoal Hearths, Collier Huts, and Haul Roads: Traces of the Iron Industry across South Mountain. Andre Weltman, Chair of the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, will discuss the connection between the 19th century charcoal iron industry and today's South Mountain landscape.
  • May 8, 6:00 pm, at Messiah College (Boyer Hall room 131) in Mechanicsburg. Pollinators and Their Habitat. Join Messiah's Director of Sustainability, Brandon Hoover, as he discusses the importance of pollinators, the local honey industry, and the role Messiah is taking to promote pollinators. Time will be spent outside visiting the college's hives; dress for the weather.
  • June 11, 6:30 pm, at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Shippensburg. Appreciating the PA Local Craft Brew IndustryDr. Alison Feeney, professor of geography and earth science at Shippensburg University, released a new book in 2018, For the Love of Beer. The book examines Pennsylvania's brewing history, geography and cultural richness while highlighting more than 100 of the state's thriving craft breweries. Learn firsthand from Dr. Feeney about what makes PA, including the South Mountain region, so great for the craft brewing industry.
  • And more this fall!
For more information on the South Mountain Partnership Speakers Series, please visit

Student Leadership Summer Courses Announced

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is actively recruiting for their PA Student Leadership Summer Courses, which are open to students entering grades 9 - 12 and offer students the opportunity to experience some of the most amazing natural areas in the watershed, all while learning how to be effective advocates for the world around them! The cost is $100 per course (not due at time of application).
The application deadline has been extended through April. 
Students can apply at 

Summer courses include:

Growing from Our Roots (July 8-12) 
Journey through the Pennsylvania Wilds region to discover how our choices impact water quality, habitats, species, and ultimately the health and vitality of our communities. Camping, hiking, fishing, and canoeing will allow us to investigate Pennsylvania's rich natural heritage in some of the most beautiful and inspiring places our state has to offer! Meet with experts in the field, create lasting friendships with like-minded student leaders, and become empowered to make positive changes in your own community.

Making History in Pennsylvania (August 12-16)
Travel to the place where land and water meet to explore the Chesapeake Bay's unique natural and cultural histories. Use boats and canoes to explore remote, remarkable regions of the Bay such as expansive saltmarshes near Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, mysterious bald cypress swamps along the Pocomoke River, and underwater grass meadows teaming with life. Along the way we will meet with local experts and decision-makers to understand this history and the future of the Chesapeake Bay region as we create our own plans for taking action to Save the Bay.

Saving our National Treasure (July 29-August 2)
Join a multi-state coalition of student leaders in our nation's capital and discover how federal legislation affects the health and economic productivity of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed! From American University, explore the city to investigate sustainable urban design strategies and gain ecological insight from national environmental leaders. As we examine the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, we'll create our own unique Clean Water Blueprints for our home communities.

Send us your trainings, educational and volunteer events, and other programs to add to the calendar!


March 29 - Fairfield
Macro-invertebrate "Critter Count"
No experience is necessary for this spring macro-invertebrate count of "critters" from Toms Creek. Participants will meet in the Nature Center at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, 1537 Mt. Hope Rd., Fairfield at 4 pm. Pizza will be served to volunteers, so please RSVP ahead of time to today!


April 3 - Chambersburg
Citizen's Climate Lobby Monthly Meeting (Chambersburg Chapter)
Monthly meeting to meet other volunteers, discuss climate issues & policy making and plan community outreach events. Details here.

April 4 - Webinar
Community Revitalization's Strategies for Food Systems, Health, and Economic Development
Improving environmental and human health outcomes in communities across the country is challenging under any circumstances. In the early part of the 21st Century this is particularly true given the economic, political, and social changes occurring. EPA's Office of Community Revitalization has developed strategies and programs that assist communities' efforts to take stock of their assets, identify visions for growth that supports a better environment and healthy living. Free. Details here.

April 5 - Carlisle
Order Deadline for Cumberland County Conservation District's 42nd Annual Tree Seedling Sale 
Find tree list, pickup information, and ordering information here.

April 9 - Webinar
The Color of Law: A Conversation about Segregation and Environmental Racism 
Gentrification and displacement are critical topics for cities and neighborhoods, and for redevelopment, as well. CCLR is pleased to welcome Richard Rothstein, author of the 2017 book The Color of Law. Richard will frame the history of segregation in the United States, and help us understand how racial segregation shapes redevelopment decisions today.  Join CCLR for this first in a series of webinars dedicated to equity, displacement and redevelopment, as we explore how these issues have impacted communities around the country, and what different local jurisdictions are doing to mitigate the risk of displacement as a result of land recycling. Free. Details here.

April 11 - Fayetteville
South Mountain Research Corps Science Summit
This pilot program will convene land owners, land managers, and academic researchers to learn ways to better connect research and land management needs throughout the region. The goal is to generate practical learning opportunities for all involved that will have a positive impact on land stewardship.  Details here.

April 16 - Carlisle
Charcoal Hearths, Collier Huts and Haul Roads - South Mountain Speakers Series
Andre Weltman, Chair of the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, will discuss the connection between the 19th century charcoal iron industry and today's South Mountain landscape. This free presentation will take place in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium at Dickinson College at 7 pm.

April 17 - Webinar
Making the Most of Historical and Heritage Assets: How a Preservation-based Design Ethic Can Promote Economic and Community Vitality
Many planners and community development practitioners know implementation of a traditional design ethic in their communities is essential to their work, but many still question how or even if historic properties fit into our diverse, dynamic 21st century communities, real estate markets and marketplaces. During this webinar you will learn how a preservation-based community design ethic fits into vital economic and community development strategies and discover best-practice planning approaches and tools to preserve, promote and invest in local historic character and properties. From Noon to 1:15 pm. Free. Details here.

April 26 - Carlisle
Tool Library's 1st Annual "Cement Mixer"
Celebrate the first anniversary - The Tool Library operates much like a library for books, except its shelves are stocked with a variety of hand and power tools. Details here.

April 27 - Waynesboro
Earth Celebration Day and Festival of Art 2019
The Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies will celebrate the Earth on Saturday, April 27th.  Renfrew Institute's Earth Celebration Day and Festival of Art is a full day of discovery, education, music, and art.  Held in conjunction with the event, the 14th annual Recycle/Reuse Yard Sale is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the picnic area of the park. Exhibit opportunities are available to non-profit, commercial, county, and state agencies. Local artists will add high quality displays, demonstrations. Details here.

April 27 - Boiling Springs
5th Annual Craighead House Perennial Exchange
10:00 to 10:30 a.m. Bring your plants and look over the other plants for exchange. 
It's fun & free - Here's how it works: 1)  If you want to participate in the exchange, bring up to five perennials of the same or different species. You receive a ticket for each plant you bring. If you just want to watch the fun and/or the presentation, you don't have to bring any plants; 2)  At 10:30 a.m. the ticket drawing begins. As the tickets are drawn, each person gets his or her choice of one plant per ticket; 3)  After the exchange, take time to walk around the property; read the informational signs on the Craigheads, their work, and their home; and relax on the beautiful banks of the Yellow Breeches Creek.

April 27 - Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Earth Day Volunteer Day
Meet at the park from 9 am to noon to volunteer, meet other like-minded folks, and help out the park. Details here.


May 1 - Chambersburg
Citizen's Climate Lobby Monthly Meeting (Chambersburg Chapter)
Monthly meeting to meet other volunteers, discuss climate issues & policy making and plan community outreach events.  Details here.

Pollinators and Their Habitat - South Mountain Speakers Series
Join Messiah's Director of Sustainability, Brandon Hoover, as he discusses the importance of pollinators, the local honey industry, and the role Messiah is taking to promote pollinators. Some time will be spent outside visiting the college's hives. This free presentation will take place at Messiah College, Boyer Hall room 131, at 6 pm.

May 14 - Gettysburg
Complete Street Seminar
The PA State Association of Boroughs will host a  Complete Streets seminar from 9 AM-4:30 PM in Gettysburg. Training includes example policies and "field time" to walk in host community & review concepts. Space is limited. Registration: 

May 18 - Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Woodsy Owl Weekend
Earn two nights of free camping in the park in exchange for a morning of volunteering. Details here.


The Friends of Pine Grove Furnace are organizing the 9th annual Charcoal Challenge 5K run (or walk), which takes you through the woods of the park and parts of the Michaux State Forest. Register before May 13 to guarantee a race shirt and get a discount. Register here. Or if you would like to volunteer for the event, email

Appreciating the PA Local Craft Brew Industry - South Mountain Speakers Series
Dr. Alison Feeney, professor of geography and earth science at Shippensburg University, released a new book in 2018, For the Love of Beer. The book examines Pennsylvania's brewing history, geography and cultural richness while highlighting more than 100 of the state's thriving craft breweries. This free event will take place at Appalachian Brewing Company in downtown Shippensburg at 6:30 pm.

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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). 

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

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

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

LeTort Stream Studies Field Program
contact: Holly Smith at , or call  (717) 514-4607

South Mountain Partnership
The South Mountain Partnership works best as a network of people and organizations working toward common goals. Visit our Get Involved page to learn about all of the ways to contribute!

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