Nominations For Spirit of South Mountain Award

Nominations For Spirit of South Mountain Award

Each year the South Mountain Partnership recognizes an individual, project, or organization that has made significant contributions to advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape.

We need your help spreading the word about this honor and nominating the next recipient. This award is community supported through nominations from across the region.

Nominate a great person, place, or project.

Nomination forms must be submitted by Friday, December 3, 2021; award presentation will occur during the 11th annual “Power of the Partnership” celebration January 21, 2022. To nominate, download the form here. Email the completed form to Julia Chain at


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.

Friends of South Mountain Partnership Launched to Provide Membership, Financial and Capacity Building Support

Friends of South Mountain Partnership Launched to Provide Membership, Financial and Capacity Building Support

The South Mountain Partnership (SMP) is excited to announce a new collaboration with The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). SMP is launching the Friends of South Mountain Partnership – a Project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, fiscal sponsor, that allows for membership and tax deductible donations to further the cause of the partnership.

The SMP is a regional, landscape-scale conservation project in south-central Pennsylvania launched in 2006 to envision and secure a sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. TFEC was established in 1920 as The Greater Harrisburg Foundation as an organization “to support community members seeking to create long-lasting, meaningful impact.” TFEC handles donated assets and creates permanent funds, investment, and grantmaking for the benefit of local nonprofits in the region, and inspires giving by partnering with donors to achieve their charitable goals, and strengthens our local communities by investing in them now, and for future generations.

Janet Pollard, Executive Director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and a member of the SMP Leadership Committee said that “The Foundation For Enhancing Communities opens a new door for the South Mountain Partnership by bringing more exposure to its work and vastly increasing the Partnership’s relationship-building capacity through the Friends Group, while growing recognition throughout southcentral PA.”

“I am thrilled to launch the Friends of the South Mountain Partnership for many reasons, one of which is financial,” said SMP Director, Katie Hess. “To ensure the partnership is a resilient and powerful force for good in our region, our Friends group will start by offering memberships and securing tax deductible donations from interested individuals and businesses, and will soon launch a corporate sponsorship program. Our first and only consistent source of funding since 2006 has come from competitive grants submitted for the Commonwealth’s Environmental Stewardship Fund through Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. However, that special fund is consistently threatened for redistribution into Pennsylvania’s general fund during annual budget negotiations. Residents in our region deserve more investment, not less, and we will continue to help attract sustainable investment to the region.”

“Another reason is embodied by our tag line of ‘one million people, one future.’ The future quality of life and wealth of our children and communities depends on the work that we do right now to conserve our landscape resources, create vibrant communities, share a common sense of place, and collaborate on well-planned growth and sustainable economic development. We will continue to come together to build community and investments that are based on this region’s natural strengths and carried out in sustainable ways.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Friends of the South Mountain Partnership and how you can provide tax free support to the organization, please visit

Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes Show the Value of Places Like the South Mountain Region

Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes Show the Value of Places Like the South Mountain Region

The South Mountain Conservation Landscape is one of eight such landscapes across the Commonwealth that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recognizes for their unique cultural, historical, recreational, and economic features. Since 2004, Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscape Program has used place-based partnerships to drive strategic investments and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreation projects.

In 2019, an independent evaluation of the program was conducted to better understand the impact it is having, identify best practices, and recommend ways for improving and sustaining it.  Findings from the evaluation can be found in the recently released report, 2019 Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes – Models for Successful Collaboration, which can be downloaded at

The report identifies best management practices such as the power of partnerships, collaboration makes connections possible despite development pressures, and public investments are the foundation for locally-based entrepreneurship. DCNR and its conservation landscape partners in the South Mountain and across the state have already begun implementing these and other recommendations and will continue in 2020 and beyond to make Pennsylvania’s Conservation Landscapes a model for place-based partnerships across the United States.

The South Mountain conservation landscape, which encompasses portions of Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties, is made up of hundreds of partners from municipal, county and state governments, local businesses, nonprofits, academia, and concerned citizens. Since our creation in 2006, we have many successes to celebrate. This includes the White Rocks land acquisition project that ultimately protected 850 acres of valuable forestland on South Mountain in Cumberland County. The site was under serious threat of development and its protection helped provide a buffer and scenic viewshed of the Appalachian Trail.

“The South Mountain Partnership invests in building the capacity of its partners and uses a collaborative approach to tackle large projects like the White Rocks acquisition,” said Katie Hess. Director of the South Mountain Partnership. “That’s led to significant wins for the landscape including the conservation of 850-acres of valuable forested land on South Mountain, the rebirth of the Craighead House as a cultural and educational asset, and a current focus on clean water efforts for local communities and the Chesapeake Bay.”

To learn more about the South Mountain conservation landscape and our work for 2020 and beyond, please visit


Franklin County PA Tourism Summit Set For September 26

Franklin County PA Tourism Summit Set For September 26

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) is holding a Tourism Summit at the 11/30 Visitors Center on September 26, 8 AM to Noon. It will recap FCVB’s first year in the new visitors center, look ahead to 2020, and provide tourism partners an opportunity to share highlights of their organization or business. The goal is to share and learn and expand the footprint of tourism in Franklin County.

Keynote speaker Mickey Schaefer will present Driving Tourism Through Quality Experience. The presentation will help summit participants to understand strategies to make visitors experiences better. A good visitor experience is the way to bring more visitors, return visitors, and increase spending throughout the county. Schaefer is the founder of The EXPERIENCE Institute, a companion of the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program, and is an inductee into the Events Industry Council’s Hall of Fame.

Tourism brings $350 million in visitors spending to Franklin County’s economy and generates nearly $1 million in room tax that supports heritage, culture, agricultural and recreational vitality. To frame tourism’s importance and integrated value in both an economic and quality of life perspective, a panel discussion will follow the keynote. Panelists include Mike Ross of Franklin County Area Development Corporation, Katie Hess of South Mountain Partnership, Matthew Ross of Southcentral PA Works, Janet Pollard of Franklin County Visitors Bureau, and Mickey Schaefer.

The public, non-profits, and tourism-related or tourism-supporting businesses are welcome. There is no charge to register. Contact FCVB at 717.552.2977 or visit Eventbrite to register.