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

Nominations Open - 'Spirit of South Mountain' Award 
Every year, the South Mountain Partnership recognizes an individual, project, or organization that has made significant contributions to advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. The Spirit of South Mountain award is to be presented at the annual "Power of the Partnership" year-end celebration in January. 

Nominate your landscape conservation role models now - 
give them the recognition that they deserve!

  2015 'Spirit of South Mountain' Awardees included Franklin County Commissioners (shown: Chairman David Keller, center, and Robert Thomas, left) and Green Township Supervisors (shown: Shawn Corwell, right) for their coordination and support of the Eagle Rock Project, led by the Conservation Fund, which conserved over 1,100 acres of land in Greene Township.

Apply Now! South Mountain Master Naturalist Training Announced for Spring 2017 
In the spring of 2017, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is partnering with the South Mountain Partnership and Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve to prepare citizens to become volunteer leaders in their communities through natural resource conservation education, citizen science, and stewardship. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a citizen volunteer initiative with three key components:  an initial 55-hour volunteer training, annual volunteer service, and continuing education in the natural sciences.

Spring 2017 Registration Deadline is January 1, 2017.
For information or questions, please contact Ellyn Nolt at or (717)368-4899.

Master Naturalist volunteers design and pursue a wide variety of service projects from habitat restoration and native plantings, to nature walks and interpretative displays or publications on natural history, to water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations.  Since 2010, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have:
  • engaged in more than 14,000 hours of conservation service
  • contributed over $330,000 in conservation value and impact to numerous regional partners
  • reached over 20,000 people through education and outreach initiatives
  • improved 620 acres of habitat through stewardship service
PA Master Naturalist class
Courtesy of Lancaster Conservancy
Interested Applicants:

Once accepted into the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program, participants begins by attending an initial intensive training.  This natural history training includes 55 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field sessions (Saturday).  Following this training, participants will engage in 30 hours of service in the first year and 8 hours of continuing education in order to become certified as a Master Naturalist Volunteer.  Participants also complete annual service and continuing education hours to maintain their status as Master Naturalist Volunteers.

The trainings will take place in Adams County at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Fairfield, PA and will begin on April 11th and continue weekly on Tuesdays with some Saturday field sessions until June 20th. Look for details of all classroom and field sessions at SHNP Training Schedule Spring 2017.  The finalized training schedule along with the application and information about training can be found on Pennsylvania Master Naturalist's website at under "Become a Master Naturalist."

Spring 2017 Registration Deadline is January 1, 2017.
For information or questions, please contact Ellyn Nolt at or (717)368-4899.

Local School Poster and Video Competition with Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation
From Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation We've learned many lessons through the efforts of the Stewards of Penn's Woods Graffiti Busters, and have three very important takeaways from their work thus far. First, the removal of graffiti is time and labor intensive. Second, graffiti often attracts other negative behavior that creates an unsafe environment for visitors. Third, graffiti impacts all of us by removing the enjoyment of a place either through safety concerns or visual blight. There are certain inescapable facts about graffiti on Pennsylvania's public lands - chief among them that it is illegal. Period.

While we continue to remove graffiti and monitor our public lands, we know that the only way to combat graffiti in the long run is through a program of education and community involvement. If the presence of graffiti and litter and illegal fire rings and other evidence of bad behavior on our public lands troubles you as much as it does our Graffiti Busters, consider taking a few steps.

Financial Assistance for Your Garden Project
Do you live in the Yellow Breeches watershed? Funds are available to help homeowners in this watershed purchase plants and other materials. You could save as much as 80%!  Visit the Yard Design Tool to design your garden and apply to plant in the spring! Visit it soon - the program is first come, first serve.

The Yellow Breeches/ Conodoguinet watersheds include the following municipalities:
  • Adams County: Bendersville, Huntington, Latimore, Menallen, Tyrone, York Springs
  • all of Cumberland County
  • Franklin County: Fannett, Greene, Letterkenny, Lurgan, Metal, Shippensburg, Southampton, St. Thomas
  • York County: Carroll, Dillsburg, Fairview, Franklin, Franklintown, Monaghan, Warrington, Wellsville

To Reduce Your Stormwater, the online Yard Design Tool will walk you through each step of designing and installing the right Rain Garden or Conservation Landscape for you. Simply answer questions about your yard and pick one of five garden templates. The tool will create a personalized plant list and suggested planting arrangement for you.

Stormwater, rain that runs off hard surfaces and eventually into local waterways, is a major and fast growing source of pollution effecting our recreation and drinking water. Stormwater may carry sediment, nutrients from lawns, waste from pets and farms, oil and litter from streets, and other contaminants into streams or storm drains. Reduce Your Stormwater shares steps that anyone can take to help reduce pollution and runoff. 

Program provided by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Historical Marker Application Deadline Fast Approaching
Do you know of a person, place, or event that you think deserves some recognition? Well, now's your chance. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) invites the members of the public to prepare and submit marker nominations for the upcoming  December 1, 2016   deadline . The PHMC's Historical Marker Program is one of its most popular public programs, with nearly 2,500 markers throughout the Commonwealth and new ones dedicated each year.  Visit the PHMC website and download the application to get started.

The Ralph E. Brock historical marker located at Mont Alto.
Photo courtesy of - Marker located near Penn State Mont Alto in Franklin County.

PA Growing Greener III
"The viability of Pennsylvania's two largest industries - agriculture and tourism - depends on clean water and the availability of open space, parks, trails, farmland, and wildlife habitat," said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. "Our natural treasures support our economy, create healthy communities, and provide recreational opportunities for families."

Pennsylvania's Constitution mandates that the Commonwealth conserve and maintain its natural resources. As article 1, section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution reads: "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all of the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."

"Pennsylvania has more miles of streams and rivers than any state other than Alaska," said John Dawes, executive director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. "Our goal is to protect the best and restore the rest so there will be clean water for future generations."

More than 26,000 miles of Pennsylvania's waterways are classified as impaired, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. This means the state's rivers and streams are so polluted they cannot sustain aquatic life; are not safe for drinking or recreational use; and cannot support agriculture and other industries. Failure to meet water quality standards could result in greater federal oversight and penalities.

Funding for the state's Growing Greener program, established in 1999, has decreased from an estimated average of $200 million in the mid-2000s to $57 million this year - a 75 percent cut.  The program is currently funded through tipping fees on waste disposal, as well as contributions from the Marcellus Legacy Fund and the Oil and Gas Lease Fund.

The Coalition's blueprint for a Growing Greener III program was developed with input from a wide range of stakeholders. (Read more)  

Additional News 

Bike Lanes May Be the Most Cost-Effective Way to Improve Public Health

Trainings, Workshops, & Learning Opportunities


November 10 - Swarthmore, Deleware County
Fall Forum: Smart Growth = Smart Policy
Join the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance (DVSGA) for a discussion of planning and growth management strategies. "Sprawl is a product of outdated public policy.  But public policy can counter sprawl and promote smart growth. On November 10th, we'll celebrate three leading communities who have leveraged policy to protect open space, expand cycling options, and revitalize urban cores. Our keynote will be Geoffrey Anderson, the head of Smart Growth America, a national advocate for smart growth policies in land use and transportation.  Following his keynote presentation, DVSGA will honor the efforts of 3 local governments in the Delaware Valley as we kick off our new municipal recognition program. Register here

November 15 - Hustontown, PA
Specialty Crop Tour for Young Growers
Hosted by the Young Grower Alliance. Tuscarora Growers Coop was founded in 1988 when three growers banded together to help manage the demands for prduce they received at the Baltimore and DC markets. Today it is a three million dollar business, owned and managed exclusively by its members. Participants will discuss daily operations of a food hub, see multi storage coolers and docking facilities, fall production in high tunnels, and review the 2016 season's Extension practices. Register here.

November 15-18  -  Houston, Texas
Past Forward, The National Preservation Conference
PastForward is the premier educational and networking event for historic preservation professionals, volunteer leaders, and advocates. Expert practitioners lead learning labs and field studies, all designed to provide tools that participants can use to improve their own communities. Preservation Studio offers attendees the chance to explore exhibits, see live demonstrations and watch films. In addition, the live streaming TrustLive engages new audiences as they explore preservation through new lenses. More info here.

November 17 - Online
Think Beyond Boundaries
Pooling resources and cooperating across town boundaries is a great way for rural communities to gain efficiencies and improve quality of life. Join our free 60-minute webinar to hear how small towns are working together to support each other. Representatives from the National Association of Development Organizations, Networks Northwest, Kentucky Arts Council, and the South Carolina Arts Commission. Register for FREE. 

November 18 - Harrisburg
Practical Sustainable Development: Tools for Municipalities
A growing number of municipalities are looking for ways to make economic development, social well-being, and environmental protection work together for improved quality of life. This program will showcase eight model sustainability ordinances drafted by Widener Commonwealth law students under the close supervision of Widener Commonwealth faculty and in coordination with representatives of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs. Building on these presentations, the program also includes an explanation of the ethical responsibility of lawyers to analyze legal problems through the lens of sustainable development. Register.

November 29 - December 2 - Telford, Bucks County
Historic Masonry Restoration Field School
The Field School Program is a hands on workshop intended for those who want to get into this line of work professionally or wants a better understanding of the details behind a historic masonry restoration campaign and business. The intent is to instill an attitude toward historic masonry conservation that is respectful of irreplaceable historic fabric and understand how to sympathetically work a repair into and adjacent to the original material. The work site will actually have substantial repair work accomplished during the field school. Other classes available. Register.  

November 30-Dec 2 - East Lansing, MI
Farmer Veteran Coalition 2016 Stakeholders Conference
Farmer veterans from across the country will connect with the government, agriculture, educational, and nonprofit groups that support them. The conference works to foster collaboration between all groups, public and private, that assist in the effort to help military veterans transition into agriculture; identify federal and state government programs to assist veterans entering into careers in agriculture; understand how working with plants and animals and producing food is therapeutic to those dealing with post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injuries; develop achievable pathways into viable careers in agriculture for U.S. military veterans. More information.

November - all month
Apply for South Mountain Master Naturalist Training
In Adams County, a training course coordinated by The South Mountain Partnership and Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Fairfield, PA will begin on April 11th and continue weekly on Tuesdays with some Saturday field sessions until June 20th. Look for details of all classrooms and field sessions at SHNP Training Schedule Spring 2017. Apply by January 1 - contact Michele Richards (; 570-441-3364)

Apply for South Mountain Master Naturalist Training
In Adams County, a training course coordinated by The South Mountain Partnership andStrawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Fairfield, PA will begin on April 11th and continue weekly on Tuesdays with some Saturday field sessions until June 20th. Look for details of all classrooms and field sessions at SHNP Training Schedule Spring 2017. Apply by January 1 - contact Michele Richards (; 570-441-3364)

December 1 - Online
Tools & Strategies to Facilitate Access to Land for the Next Generation of Farmers Webinar
A conversation with Holly Rippon-Butler from the National Young Farmers Coalition, this free webinar will discuss land access, one of the top challenges faced by the next generation of farmers across the country.
NYFC's Land Access Program Director will discuss how the context for accessing land has changed over the past few decades, making it more difficult for farmers now than ever before. She will then provide details on various tools and strategies to help farmers gain access to land that is affordable and equitable, with a focus on how organizations such as non-profits, land trusts, government agencies, and farmland investment groups can be part of the solution. Holly will review tools and strategies, share case studies from across the country, and provide time for participant questions. More information.

December 9 - Lancaster
Sustainable SITES Initiative Seminar & Workshop
The Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES┬«) is the most comprehensive rating system for developing sustainable places.  SITES certification is for development projects located on sites with or without buildings-ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, from streetscapes to homes.  The SITES rating system is currently being used by policy makers, developers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, designers, and others.  SITES is based on the understanding that land development can be planned, designed, and maintained to protect and enhance ecosystem benefits.  Administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), SITES is designed to define sustainable sites & measure their performance. Register 

December 8, 12, or 14 - Online
Chesapeake Bay Watershed GIS Land Cover Data
Chesapeake Conservancy is holding a series of webinars to discuss the new Chesapeake Bay Land Cover Data. Tune in to learn where and how to download the data, context and methodology behind the creation of the dataset, and to view user cases and sample analyses that demonstrate the capabilities of the dataset: Thursday, 12/8 from 1-2 PM; Monday, 12/12 from 10-11 AM; Wednesday, 12/14 from 10-11 AM. The presentation will run for approximately 30 minutes with time at the end for questions.Click here for the link to the webinar - participants will all register as guests.

January 2017
January 1
Application Deadline for South Mountain Master Naturalist Training
In Adams County, a training course coordinated by The South Mountain Partnership andStrawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Fairfield, PA will begin on April 11th and continue weekly on Tuesdays with some Saturday field sessions until June 20th. Look for details of all classrooms and field sessions at  SHNP Training Schedule Spring 2017. Apply by January 1 - contact Michele Richards (; 570-441-3364)

February 1-4 - State College, PA
26th Annual Conference - PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture
This annual conference is PASA's signature event and the main vehicle for community building. Widely regarded as the best of its kind in the Eastern US, this event brings together an audience of over 2,000 farmers, processors, consumers, students, environmentalists, and business and community leaders annually. More information & registration.

March 5 and 6 - State College, PA
PA Statewide Conference for Watershed Organizations
Network with watershed groups, funders, technical, and organizational providers, and others. Learn how to strengthen your local organizations and discover new and emerging resources. For more information, contact Susan Myerov at

March 30-April 1 - Tulsa, OK
Strong Towns Summit - America's Next Transportation System: Transforming More While Spending Less
"This summit will show how our current land use and transportation patterns are bankrupting our cities-but that a more productive model for prosperity is possible. Our conversation will feature national transportation, engineering and planning experts, as well as local government and nonprofit leaders. Plus, we're offering the chance for Strong Towns members to give presentations and/or be published as part of this event." Summit topics include: 
the private and public costs of our ever-expanding development model; b
eing strategic about transportation funding; 
congestion and street design; 
making smart choices about the amount of parking in your town; h
ow walkability can improve the financial productivity of your town. More info.

April 11 - June 20 - Adams County
South Mountain Master Naturalist Training 

May 1-3 - Pittsburgh
Main Street Now! Conference
The Main Street Now Conference is a one-of-a-kind event, providing attendees with an opportunity to convene and learn about the innovative methods and practices that make the Main Street Approach┬« one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation. Whether you hail from an urban business district, small rural downtown, or some place in between, you will find real solutions to common problems and techniques to help position your Main Street Program and your community to thrive. More info and Register.

M ay 4 - Caledonia State Park, Franklin County
Project WET Educator Workshop 
The issue of water is expected to define the 21st century. Every day, the quality and quantity of water resources affect the health and well-being of the planet's nearly seven billion people.  Participants who attend this Workshop will receive the new Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide, Generation 2.0 (revised in 2014) which is filled with hands-on, interdisciplinary lessons that make all facets of water education accessible to all. The workshop is open to formal and non-formal educators. Designed to complement existing curricula rather than displace or add more concepts, Project WET (Water  Education for Teachers) activities address Pennsylvania state and national education standards. 
For more information and to register, call 717-485-3948.

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? Consider contacting the following organizations:

Appalachian Trail Museum

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

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

LeTort Stream Studies Field Program
contact: Holly Smith at , or call  (717) 514-4607
This program promotes hands-on, stream-side (yes, outside!) investigative education.   Nearly 1,100 studentsparticipated in the field studies during the 2015-2016 academic year.
We are seeking interested organizations and/or individuals to support the program in several ways:
  • Riparian Partner: The stream studies program is dynamic and ever-expanding to incorporate richer field activities, using real-life situations, skills and technology.  Our general wish list includes:
    • Occasional funding for equipment, technology, Pa native plants, water chemistry kits/reagents, academic materials and other resources
    • Printing and/or laminating of field materials
    • Other logistical and financial support as needed

South Mountain Partnership
contact: Katie Hess at 717-258-5771

*Special need for individuals with event planning and management experience to help plan and coordinate the Annual "Power of the Partnership" Celebration that will be held in January 2017.  

PA Parks & Forest Foundation
South Mountain Partnership | Appalachian Trail Conservancy | 717-258-5771 |  |