Conococheague Institute Names New Board

Conococheague Institute Names New Board

The Board of Directors of the Conococheague Institute at the historic Rock Hill Farm in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, is pleased to announce that it has elected its new slate of Officers for 2021. The following Board Officers were elected unanimously in the Board’s January Meeting:

Betsey Lillard – President

Chuck Holland – Vice President

Josh Faust – Treasurer

Bob Schwartz – Secretary

Former Board President Carol Zehosky’s term having expired she was extremely happy to hand over the reins to such talented successors.  Having seen CI through some interesting years (including a Global Pandemic), Zehosky was glad to be able to end her term with the organization being stronger than ever, both financially and in terms of its staff, programming, and member engagement. “With this talented leadership team, I have every confidence that CI is well-positioned for future success.”

Lillard is a long-time resident of Washington County, MD, and enjoyed a career in the medical profession where she always strove to provide excellent communication with patients. A supporter of the arts and numerous charities such as the Friends of Fort Frederick where she served as chairperson of the 250th Anniversary Celebration of the fort.

Lillard also has a family connection to CI, as founder Dr. John Stauffer recently reminded her- that he and Lillard’s father were both in Boy Scouts together as youngsters as well as being colleagues as physicians. “I look forward to assisting in bringing CI up to its full potential- now and into the future” Lillard said at her confirmation.

2021 will be Vice Presidents Holland’s second year after he stepped up to the title last summer but his background in business leadership makes him a steady rock of support: and someone to count on when a job needs doing.

Faust and Schwartz will be serving their first year as Officers having been elected to the Board by the General Membership in October 2020, but have already instigated a lot of positive changes to the organization as well as their countless volunteer hours. In addition to serving as Treasurer and Secretary, Faust and Schwartz demonstrate the new energy of the next generation of pioneers. As well as their Board Offices, they both will be spearheading History and Nature volunteer management and training in 2021 (Faust is a passionate Historic Interpreter, and Schwartz an Environmental advocate and professional forester) to ensure that CI’s dedicated volunteer corp can serve the public in programming and education to their best degree.

The Board Officers Election is but one more step in expanding CI’s Frontier. With new growth and direction, CI looks forward to bringing the Cultural and Natural Resources of the site to a wider audience than ever before. For more information about CI go to, or show your support by joining their ever-expanding Membership for 2021. 

The South Mountain Landscape  is a unique and special place that is worth conserving and celebrating. Join the South Mountain Partnership as it celebrates the landscape and the work of partners to invest in a sustainable, healthy future for the South Mountain region. Also, on tap is the Spirit of South Mountain Award and South Mountain Mini-Grants. Anyone interested in making the South Mountain region a better place to live, work, and play is welcome.

Join us in welcoming Secretary Dunn of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Commissioner DiFilippo of Cumberland County, plus an impressive panel to the 10th annual event! Register here.


Optional Networking (8:00) – Informal virtual networking

Welcome and Opening Remarks (8:30am) Secretary Cindy Dunn, PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources and Commissioner DiFilippo, Cumberland County

Profiles of Action Panel- New and old faces will join us to discuss the evolution of the South Mountain Partnership, the need for preserving and promoting this landscape, why the diverse work of our Partners and programs matter, and the value that Landscape Conservation brings to the region.

2021 Plans, Accomplishments in 2020 – Reconnect with the Partnership to understand our 2020 work. Then, in with the new as we share our plans for 2021.

South Mountain Mini-Grant Award – Hear about the exciting projects that partners are undertaking in 2021 as recipients of South Mountain Mini-Grants.

Spirit of South Mountain Award – This meaningful award recognizes individuals, projects or organizations that have gone above-and-beyond to advancing a positive future for the South Mountain landscape.

Borough Seeks To Reclaim & ReDevelop Southgate Shopping Center

Borough Seeks To Reclaim & ReDevelop Southgate Shopping Center

Borough of Chambersburg is working with the Elm Street Advisory Council to reclaim and redevelop the Southgate Shopping Center into a mixed-use residential neighborhood.

The goal of the project, known as the Southgate Shopping Center Redevelopment Initiative, is to pay respect to the families that were displaced in 1962, when the shopping center was built, by creating a new sustainable neighborhood that promotes a mixture of uses to include housing, employment, retail and business services into the Elm Street Neighborhood.

A project website has been established to present information, and seek feedback, in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole:

Please visit the website to learn more about the project, participate in a community outreach meeting and to take an online survey.

For questions, please contact me: Guy Shaul, Community and Economic Development Specialist, at 717-251-2446 or

The Institute and Partners Mount a StoryWalk® Trail

The Institute and Partners Mount a StoryWalk® Trail

A new StoryWalk® children’s story trail is open at Pine Hill Recreation Area off Mentzer Gap Road in Waynesboro. The park is open during daylight hours, and visiting the StoryWalk® is free. It will remain in place through February. The StoryWalk® is presented by The Institute in partnership with Washington Township, Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library and the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD).

With pages of a children’s book mounted on signs along a park trail, a StoryWalk® is a fun way for visitors to enjoy being outdoors in a family-friendly activity, reading an adventure as they walk along the trail. 

The StoryWalk® trail, at the top of the park (just past the Dunlap Family Skate Park) is about 500 ft. long, easily accessible and wheelchair friendly.

“StoryWalks® are very popular nation-wide and we are excited to bring this one to our local community,” said Melodie Anderson-Smith, an education director for The Institute. “Sincere thanks to the township and all the partners for helping us make this happen.”

The story featured is “In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George. Two children and their dog explore the winter woods, searching for signs of animal life and clues to their activities, answering the question, “Who’s been here?”

This fun, active and safe way of reading a storybook together inspired the project’s partners. 

“I am excited that we were able to join forces as community partners and give families an additional resource that supports adventures outdoors, family time, and encourages learning!” said Erica Nemzek, WASD early learning coordinator.

“It has been a tough year for the library so I was excited to be a part of this project,” said Bailey Roberts, children’s librarian for the Alexander Hamilton library. “I personally wanted to be involved because I am new to the library, and I want to get to know the community. I hope this is something the library can be a part of in the future.”

The 174-acre Pine Hill Recreation Area is owned and operated by Washington Township. Jeff Geesaman, township manager, was happy to support the StoryWalk® project. 

“Pine Hill seems to be one of the best-kept secret treasures of Washington Township,” Geesaman said. “We are excited about The Institute and their programs, such as the StoryWalk®, not only at Pine Hill but in some of our other township parks. These activities help educate folks on what has been provided for their outdoor recreational enjoyment.”

The trail is open year-round, and plans call for a new book to be installed every month or two.

Participants should practice social distancing, giving others six feet of space, and follow official Covid-19 safety guidelines while in the park.

The StoryWalk®  is sponsored by Kathy Helfrick and Jane Glenn, with additional support from The Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; The John R. Hershey Jr. and Anna L. Hershey Family Foundation; APX Enclosures, Inc.; and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support courtesy of Washington Township.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.


Representatives of Washington Township, Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library, the Waynesboro Area School District (WASD), and The Institute and their WaterStriders stream study group installed a series of signs to create a StoryWalk® at Pine Hill Recreation Area.

Front row: Pam Rowland, Melodie Anderson-Smith, Erica Nemzek, Bailey Roberts.

Back row: Sophia Schowalter, Jeff Schowalter, Isabella Schowalter, Vernon Ashway, Jack Hubbard, Jeff Geesaman, Ava Magras, Grayson Magras, Chad Reichard.



Wellspan invites you and your family to embrace winter, keep moving and stay healthy!  Join today to learn more about physical activity, healthy eating and stress management during the winter months. Winter STREAK runs from January through March, so you can keep up a “streak” of physical and mental well-being activities! Access resources, register for prizes, and learn about upcoming Winter STREAK workshops at

Winter “STREAK” stands for: Start: Get motivated, set individual goals, determine your readiness to change and get started. Trekking: Get active outdoors in the cold weather. Relax: Practice relaxing, mindful behaviors. Eat healthy: Make healthy food and drink choices. Activity: Commit to increase physical activity. Keep it going: Find personal and community resources and supports to help you keep it going.

Workshops are:

Workshop 1 – Start (Nickie Fickel, Community Health Coordinator) Wed Jan 6th
Workshop 2 – Trekking (Linda Huber, Health Educator and Dr. Fawcett, MD) Wed Jan 20t
Workshop 3 – Relax (Kim Crider, Community Health Coordinator and Daphne Hathaway, Grant Evaluator CCBHC) Wed Feb 3rd
Workshop 4 – Eating Healthy (Fran Hadley, RDN) Wed Feb 17t
Workshop 5 – Activity (Melanie Wells, Community Wellness Coordinator) Wed Mar 3rd
Workshop 6 – Keep It Going (Sandy Gladfelter, Health Educator) Wed Mar 17th

Register here.

WellSpan Health, in collaboration with community health coalitions across the region: Healthy Adams County; Healthy Franklin County; the Community Health Council of Lebanon County; Healthy York; Northern Lancaster Hub; invites the community to participate in the “Winter STREAK” wellness program.

December at Allison Antrim museum

December at Allison Antrim museum

Allison-Antrim Museum’s annual Christmas Celebrations will be quite pared down this year due to the Coronavirus. On the kitchen porch (Ridge Avenue South), a “living holiday scene” depicting a Civil-War era scene of decorating the Christmas tree, will take place between 5:30 and 8:30 pm, on Friday, December 11. Decorations during the Civil-War era were handmade, such as marzipan fruits, cookie cutouts, dried orange and apple slices, and strings of popcorn, like those on the Museum’s tree.

And of course, the one-horse open sleigh, donated by the Sellers’ & Coldsmith families, will be in its traditional place, also on the South Ridge Avenue Irwin House porch.

Allison-Antrim Museum looks forward to seeing you as you drive by in your car or stroll down the sidewalk. Don’t forget to drive down the Museum’s driveway and catch a glimpse of the 1860 Irwin House front-door transom, decorated with a Della Robbia fruit arrangement.

Also, enjoy the December Virtual speaker at Allison-Antrim Museum, a look back at the twenty-three paintings of Mark Twain Noe, a legacy of the Greencastle area. View here.