South Mountain Partnership Recognizes New Mini-Grant Recipients and Spirit of South Mountain Awardee at Recent “Power of the Partnership” Celebration

On January 29, 2021, more than 100 people met virtually to celebrate the South Mountain landscape and the work of its partners to invest in a sustainable, healthy future for our communities and citizens. A full recording of the event can be found on the South Mountain Partnership’s YouTube page.

After welcome comments from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Cumberland County Commissioner, Vince DiFilippo, and a thanks to event sponsors – Franklin County Visitors Bureau and HRG Inc. – a panel discussion about Landscape Conservation and the value of partnering to preserve the region took place with Lauren Imgrund, DCNR Deputy Secretary; Jonathan Peterson, Catalyst Fund Manager for the Center for Large Landscape Conservation; Janet Pollard, Executive Director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau; Antonia Price, Project Manager for the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University; and Dennis Shaffer, Director of Land Conservation for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Katie Hess, Director of the South Mountain Partnership, presented the Spirit of South Mountain award that recognizes exemplary people, projects and organizations that significantly and positively impact the region by contributing to its sense of place through promoting or conserving its natural and cultural resources. This year’s recipient is Dr. Claire Jantz, Director of the Center for Land Use and Sustainability and professor at Shippensburg University. Michaux Forest District staff had this to say about Dr. Jantz: “She is as comfortable creating and leading collaborative dialogue around data sharing and research prioritization…as she is organizing, energizing, and executing trail building and litter clean-up work days across the Michaux’s diverse recreation stakeholder groups. I have never met someone with Dr. Jantz’s scientific chops so wonderfully integrated and with such good humor, commitment to community engagement and development, and motivation to do good – practically – and in all things.” Congratulations to Dr. Jantz.

The virtual event wrapped up with announcements of the 2020 South Mountain mini-grant award recipients, which are funded by DCNR through the Environmental Stewardship Fund. These grants are given each year 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. In the last 12 years, over 65 projects have been completed through the Program – just over $490,000 in grants have been awarded: leveraging more than $1,000,000 in matching funds.

This year’s awardees are:

Cumberland County Historical Society for their “Two Mile House Management Plan and Interpretation” project that will preserve the historic building that was built in 1820 and build a connector trail to a nearby hospital for patients and staff to use

Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association for “Creek Clean-up Equipment and Commemorative Booklet” project that will fund the purchase of a trailer for creek clean-up and riparian buffer planting events and allow them to do more outreach

Mt Tabor Preservation Project and Mount Holly Springs Borough for “Phase 1 of the Mt Tabor AME Zion Church Restoration” that will help begin the preservation process for this historic church built in 1870

Adams County Farmers Market for their “Strategic Planning and SMP Partner Cross-Promotion” project that will address food insecurity in the region while supporting local farmers

You can view a series of videos about each of the grantees and their projects at South Mountain Partnership YouTube page.

The Power of the Partnership is the South Mountain Partnership’s way of celebrating all the good work of partners across the landscape in the preceding year. To learn more about the event, all past mini-grant and “Spirit” award winners, and the Partnership, visit