January/February Around the South Mountain Newsletter Introduction

Dear Partners,

SMP is starting off the year with a flurry of activity! Early in 2022, we were excited to celebrate the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Community Conservation Partnerships Program announcing a $70 million investment in outdoor recreation, infrastructure, and conservation. This announcement has special implications for the South Mountain Region, including funding the South Mountain Partnership. As a Conservation Landscape Initiative, we rely on this funding for our Mini-Grant Program, staff salaries, communications, and annual programs like convening partners, organizing events, and the Speakers Series and Science Summit and Research Corps. We are so grateful for the continued support of PA DCNR for these efforts! We are also glad to report this funding included a total allocation of over $1.7 million in our region alone and will fund land acquisition, community parks, and trails across the South Mountain landscape. This funding comes from the Keystone Fund, generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, fees for ATV/Snowmobile licenses, and federal monies.

We then held our 11th Annual “Power of the Partnership” event on January 21st. Learn more about the contents of the agenda below and watch the recording of the event. We were excited to award the Spirit of the South Mountain to Lori Rice and Janet Pollard. We are meeting with them soon to have an award ceremony and will have even more to share with you next month on SOSM!

This action-packed newsletter is full of great news and stories from around the region. I want to orient you to some of the most important actions you can take after (and while reading) this newsletter!

  • Sign on to our letter encouraging the counties to allocate ARPA funding to recreation and conservation initiatives in this region. Our region desperately needs this funding, and your show of support demonstrates the breadth of organizations that would benefit from this funding!
  • Watch our Mini-Grant videos and cheer on our 2021 awardees! Each video contains interesting tidbits of facts about the region and highlights the inspiring work of your colleagues. Think about if you know of a worthy project for a 2022 Mini Grant… applications will open in the spring!
  • Read about our Partners and pay special attention to the new column “Tending Change in Michaux”. We are really excited about this partnership with the DCNR Bureau of Forestry as it gives you a “behind the scenes (or trees?)” view of the work on the Michaux.

Talk again soon! Wishing you the best start to your new year!

Julia Chain

Program Director of the South Mountain Partnership