Hello friends, neighbors, and partners, it’s great to be writing to you all for the first time as the DCNR internal lead for the South Mountain Partnership! I have continued to be impressed (and grateful) by the hard work of such dedicated, passionate, and energetic partners. As I ponder what unites our diverse network of partners, and what draws us together, it’s clear to me our landscape’s strong sense of place, and the shared love for this sense of place, is one of the main ingredients. To many of us, this landscape is also our home!
There has been no shortage of amazing work done in the past year, including some strategic organizational changes, and several context sensitive projects to meet the challenges and opportunities of our ever-changing landscape. Some of these highlights include:
- Hiring a program manager
- Growth of our fund-raising committee and communications work
- Strategic engagement of new partners
- Efforts to educate and collaborate with partners around climate change and solar energy
- Advancement of our South Mountain Science Research Corps.
- Convening of a new mini-grant review committee, and selection of seven awesome mini-grant projects
- And development of a framework and system to collect data and establish metrics for the first time ever
Two items from this list I would like to expand more on are our mini-grants and our efforts to collect data and build metrics. Our mini-grants play a critical role in providing diverse, small scale recreation, conservation, educational funds to communities whose project might not traditionally fit or be competitive in larger grant programs, like DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program. These South Mountain Partnership mini-grant projects help fill this gap by providing key projects and resources in areas that have been identified as having low access to these amenities.
In 2021, DCNR, for the first time ever, undertook an effort to collect data and establish metrics for all eight conservation landscapes, including the South Mountain Partnership. As we near the end of 2021, we need the help from our significant partners to inventory projects/data that were completed. The six main resource categories we would like to collect data under are: natural resources, cultural resources, social resources, rural/agricultural resources, recreational resources, and economic resources. More information on these resource types, and how to specifically provide this data to the Partnership can be found in this metrics guidance document.
Again, a big thank you to all our partners, friends and neighbors who we work and interact with daily. Your collaborative and united efforts truly due make our landscape a better place to live, work and play. I hope everyone has a great rest of the year!
Tyler Semder| Recreation and Conservation Advisor
Internal Lead of the South Mountain Partnership
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Recreation & Conservation
Phone: 717.772.4762| Fax: 717.787.9577