January/February Partnership Update

February 28, 2021

We have big dreams for this region and a vision of – a South Mountain landscape of conserved resources and vibrant communities sharing a common sense of place and collaborating on well-planned growth and sustainable economic development. It will take all of us working together to realize this vision for sustainability. You can join us by getting involved in the South Mountain Partnership!

If you missed the exciting announcements during our annual celebration in January, do not worry, we have lots of ways for you to catch-up in this edition of Around South Mountain. If you want a summary of our 2020, be sure to review the Year In Review. There are short videos for you learn about the newest South Mountain Mini-Grant projects and why Dr. Claire Jantz was awarded the 9th Spirit of South Mountain award. If you want to take a deep dive into Landscape Conservation and the value of partnering to preserve our region, be sure to review the panel discussion that took place during the annual celebration with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, the Franklin County Visitors Bureau, and the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University.

The first Speakers Series of the year was held on February 2nd. The third and final event of a Climate Action Series that we facilitated in partnership with a number of other organizations, the event showed how local K-12 schools, colleges and universities are reducing emissions of climate changing pollutants, educating their students about climate risks and solutions, and working with community partners to help make our communities climate resilient and low-carbon. The series covered what is already being done about changing climate, and how citizens, municipalities, schools, and related organizations should get involved to expand and accelerate efforts. You can watch all three forums on the Speakers Series playlist on our YouTube page.

We are building bridges in 2021 – between you and other partners throughout the region, across political and geographic boundaries (think county lines),and across perspectives and worldviews. A few of our Spring projects and initiatives doing that and setting the stage for more action:

  • Directories – Attendees of the 2020 Fall Partnership Meeting breakout exercise gave us great feedback about wanting to connect with other attendees from throughout the region but not knowing how. Our committee members are hard at work putting that together now!
  • We are growing – A full time Program Manager for the Partnership and a project manager for our Research Corps & Science Summit pilot are adding to our capacity to take strategic action.
  • Mini-Grants – Our 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. Preapplication opens in April; visit our Mini-Grants page for details.
  • Spring Partnership Meeting – save-the-date for the virtual online meeting, to be hosted by Adams County – May 14th from 9:30am – 11:30am.

As we experience winter thaw and life regenerate during another trip around the sun together, I hope that you join me in feeling gratitude and happiness for this generous, beautiful landscape that we are lucky to call our home. I look forward to “seeing” you soon!


My Best,

Katie Hess

Director, South Mountain Partnership & Director of Pennsylvania Landscape Conservation