Conococheague Institute Launches “Get To Know Nature” with Support from F&M Trust

Conococheague Institute Launches “Get To Know Nature” with Support from F&M Trust

The Conococheague Institute near Mercersburg, PA has announced a new exciting event for the Spring season, made possible by a generous sponsorship by F&M Trust. On Saturday April 15th from 10am to 4pm, the event Get to Know Nature: Learning then Conserving will take place at this beautiful 30-acre site.

The theme of the event is understanding nature and conservation (and its global impact), in advance of Earth Day 2023 the following Saturday. CI has been partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Conococheague Audubon Society for many years, and so is no stranger to tree plantings, native plants and birding walks. What makes this event special is the F&M Trust sponsorship that has enabled two incredible new components: A Live Creature program by Wonderfully Wild, and a Birds of Prey and Falconry Demonstration by Miller’s Falconry.

The event will also feature the Franklin County Library Bookmobile, CBF tree plantings, Conococheague Audubon talks, medicinal plant walks, pollinator crafts, StoneHouse History offering 18th century life in the cabins, as well as other craft vendors and activities.

Matthew Wedd CI’s Executive Director explained how the event grew in the planning stages. “We’ve been doing free programming and events for two years now with great success, relying on the skills and dedication of our volunteers and staff. To make this event stand out from the rest, we had to think about what we COULDN’T do ourselves…and animal handling is definitely that! Both the animal program and falconry are going to be a really unique aspect for all ages. I myself will be in the front row to hold a python or look into the eye of an owl up close. The F&M Trust sponsorship is what made this happen as these talented handlers will be paid for the program they provide and to care for their creatures. We’re incredibly thankful for their support.”

The activities planned will be an incredible draw especially for younger children who are always amazed at the beauty of nature up close, but the day’s theme on educating everyone on the wonders of the natural world, and the need to protect it through conservation will be woven into every program. Most of the activities will be ongoing throughout the day but the Wonderfully Wild creature program will be held at 11am in the Visitor Center, and the Miller’s Falconry flight demonstration will be at 1pm at the large field adjacent to the cabins.

The program will be free to all, with donations being accepted for parking and programming support.

For more information visit CI’s website at or email


Grils Scouts in Heart of PA Add “We Keep Water Flowing” Patch Program

Grils Scouts in Heart of PA Add “We Keep Water Flowing” Patch Program

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is thrilled to share Pennsylvania American Water’s “We Keep Water Flowing” patch program with girls across its 30-county footprint.

GSHPA received a $10,000 grant from Pennsylvania American Water to encourage girls to expand their knowledge about water resources and their impact on our environment. “We Keep Water Flowing” will inspire Girl Scouts to learn more about water sources in their community, strive to protect those water sources, and explore careers in the water industry. Keeping it girl-led, participants will be able to work through the program individually and choose activities that meet their interests and available resources. The program will align with the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) to achieve the following goals:

· Discover: Seek opportunities to learn about the wide world of water.

· Connect: Collaborate with others to expand water knowledge.

· Take Action: Do something to help protect water sources.

“Our ‘We Keep Water Flowing’ patch program will help Girl Scouts connect real world water processes and issues to their daily lives by encouraging girls to participate in activities such as touring their local water treatment plant, hiking along a river or stream, and meeting and learning from women who work in the water utility business. All of the activities are designed to teach young people where their water comes from and the importance of water in their lives,” said Marcus Kohl, director of water quality and environmental compliance for Pennsylvania American Water.

“We are so excited for this partnership with Pennsylvania American Water to bring more environmental education to our Girl Scouts. This patch program is so much more than a

collection of fun water activities – it’s an opportunity for children, parents, and community members to learn how our actions have a direct impact on one of our most important resources,” said Lutricia Eberly, GSHPA Chief Membership Officer.

The “We Keep Water Flowing” patch program will run for two years. GSHPA anticipates officially launching the program in January 2023. For more information about the patch program, check out the “We Keep Water Flowing” program pamphlet.

ATTACHED PHOTO CUTLINE: (From left to right) Pennsylvania American Water’s Marcus Kohl, director of water quality and environmental compliance, and Kristi English, external affairs manager, award Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s Lutricia Eberly, chief membership officer, and Jackie Stem, director of fund development, with a $10,000 grant to encourage girls to expand their knowledge about water resources.

About Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA)

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for a cause that motivates them, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alumnae, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect or donate, visit

About Pennsylvania American Water

Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and Follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Ghost Pit Joins Stories on Mountain Tour – August 24

Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to explore South Mountain in Stories of the Mountain Tour on August 24, 9 AM to 4:30 PM. South Mountain holds centuries of history and lore. The mountain forests fed the iron ore industry, sheltered escaping enslaved, saw the strife of Civil War and was reborn through Pennsylvania’s conservation movement. Life on the mountain is the story of small communities across America. Learn the secret, tangled routes of the Underground Railroad, visit a general store museum, hear the eerie story of the silvery lady of Pond Bank., and join the Ghost Pit (Paranormal Investigation Team) for a lunchtime investigation of Penn National Inn.

The tour begins at Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, 9 AM, where participants will view “Road to Freedom,” a video about the Underground Railroad of South Mountain, the iron ore industry, and the beginnings of the conservation movement of Pennsylvania.  Stops include Caledonia State Park and Thaddeus Steven’s Blacksmith Shop and Preserving Our Heritage Museum, housed in a one-room schoolhouse with a relocated 1930 – 1950 general store. Learn about the South Mountain Restoration Center, where fresh air gave hope to thousands of tuberculosis patients. Discover the South Mountain connection to John Brown and his raiders.

Lunch is at Penn National Golf Course and Community, where the views of the mountain are breathtaking. After lunch, the Ghost PIT will invite tour participants to help investigate the “old inn,” on the Penn National property. Step back to 1812 and visit the Royer farmhouse at Renfrew Park and hear the story of the Renfrew Sisters, Daniel Royer, and the Nicodemus family. Continue up the mountain to Monterey Pass Battlefield where 10,000 Union and Confederate troops fought along the mountain ridge in a blinding thunderstorm during the late hours of July 4 and early hours of July 5, 1863, part of the retreat from Gettysburg.

Single tickets are $30/ person or two tickets for $50. Bring a friend and save!  Tour fee includes lunch at Founder’s Grille and all admission fees. Tickets can be purchased online here or by contacting the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060.

Project SNOWStorm & Project OwlNet: Rescheduled During Severe Cold Set For Tues., Feb. 12

Project SNOWStorm & Project OwlNet: Rescheduled During Severe Cold Set For Tues., Feb. 12

Owls are in the spotlight during a program on Project SNOWStorm and Project OwlNet on Tuesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the visitors center at Renfrew Park. The program is sponsored by Renfrew Institute, and admission is free.

As reports of increasing numbers of snowy owl sightings emerged across Pennsylvania and other northern states in the winter of 2013–14, a team of researchers gathered to learn more about these owls, calling their effort Project SNOWstorm.

Steve Huy is a co-founder of Project SNOWstorm, and co-director of Project Owlnet, a long term study of saw-whet owls based at the Lambs Knoll station in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

Project SNOWstorm uses innovative science to track and understand snowy owls, and to engage people in their conservation through outreach and education.

Huy began banding snowy owls for future identification several years ago. Some of the owls are fitted with solar-powered transmitters that provide insight into their activities for several years, including data on latitude, longitude and altitude.

Researchers have discovered that some owls are “home-bodies,” rarely traveling more than a quarter-mile. Other owls travel hundreds of miles in just a few weeks, moving from islands along the Atlantic coast to Pennsylvania farm country, and then back to the coast.

The owls are given nicknames, some of which reflect where they were originally tagged. Stella, Pettibone, Baltimore, Pickford, and Island Beach are just a few of the owls whose movements are tracked by Project SNOWStorm.

Join South Mountain Partnership For Power of the Partnership Annual Breakfast

Join South Mountain Partnership For Power of the Partnership Annual Breakfast

The 7th-annual South Mountain Partnership‘s Power of the Partnership breakfast is slated for January 26, 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM, at Bongiorno Conference Center in Carlisle . It is a celebration of the South Mountain region, encompassing the South Mountain and Michaux Forest landscape of Franklin, Adams, Cumberland, and a small portion of York Counties. The region encompasses four state parks–Mont Alto, Caldeonia, Pine Grove, and King’s Gap– and such communities as Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Gettysburg, and Carlisle The mountain greenway is a special mix of heritage, culture, nature, and recreation and contributes a distinct character, attracting residents and visitors to the landscape.

South Mountain Partnership invites individuals, businesses, municipalities, and non-profits:

  • Celebrate our collective accomplishments in 2017, and look forward to what’s to come in 2018;
  • Connect with the Partnership as a whole and get an understanding of how the Partnership works and where we are going;
  • Network with folks in the region who are making a difference;
  • Hear about projects that have received funding through the 2016 South Mountain Mini-Grant Program.

Cost is $10 for a full-breakfast. Register here.

The South Mountain Partnership is a regional, landscape conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania. Launched in 2006, the Partnership operates as a public-private partnership between Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It has grown into an alliance of citizens, businesses, non-profits, academic institutions, and local, state and federal government agencies and officials collaborating to envision and secure a sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. This landscape is home to many. Together, the Partnership strives to collaborate in sustaining the South Mountain landscape.