Photo by Noah Shatzer

Program Manager

Julia Chain

Program Manager of the South Mountain Partnership
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

P.O. Box 122
Boiling Springs, PA 17007

Julia Chain is the Program Manager of the South Mountain Partnership.  Before joining SMP Julia worked for Capital RC&D in the USDA-NRCS field teams in Adams and York Counties, and prior to that was the Associate Director of Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide historic preservation non profit. A life long resident of the South Mountain region, she is excited to put her passions for conservation and collaboration to work for SMP.   Julia holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in American Studies from Pennsylvania State University. A Schreyer Honors College scholar, her academic concentrations were in public history and non profit management.  Julia and her husband own a small farm and enjoy spending time outdoors and with their many animals.

Director of South Mountain Partnership

Katie Hess

Director of the South Mountain Partnership
Director of Pennsylvania Landscape Conservation
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

P.O. Box 122
Boiling Springs, PA 17007

Katie Hess is Director of the South Mountain Partnership (SMP) and co-founder and Director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) on-the-ground Landscape Conservation program. Hess has 15 years of experience in connecting people and organizations with the knowledge and resources needed to overcome challenges. As the Director of the SMP, one of eight Conservation Landscapes (Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources), she leads over 40 local committee members and partners in preserving the regions’ sense of place and unique assets through programs that motivate citizens and elected officials to take on the challenge of effective land use planning, investment, civic engagement, and revitalization. As the Director of Pennsylvania Landscape Conservation for the ATC, she scales the models developed in Conservation Landscapes and builds a program that leverages Pennsylvania’s landscape-scale investments with the Appalachian Trail - the largest East Coast Climate Corridor and national park - and the Appalachian Trail Landscape Partnership network. Prior to joining the ATC, Hess managed GIS mapping and data for Pennsylvania’s surveyed above ground cultural resources at the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. While there, she developed the bureau’s community and landscape scale preservation efforts. Katie earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Stuckeman School of Arts and Architecture, Pennsylvania State University. Previously, Hess was employed in cooperative research at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center and earned a BA in Environmental Science & Policy from Hood College, where she interned in the Maryland Governor’s Office and researched the effect of land use and policy on water quality in Frederick County, Maryland.

DCNR Internal Lead

Tyler Semder

Recreation & Conservation Advisor
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Tyler Semder is a Project Manager at the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). As a Project Manager, he manages trail development, planning and acquisition grant projects across the Commonwealth. Prior to working at DCNR, he worked at the State Historic Preservation Office, PennDOT, Cumberland County GIS, Chester County Planning Commission, and Gannett Fleming. He grew up in Monroe Township, Cumberland County, and currently resides in the Borough of Dillsburg with his wife and two children. In his spare time Tyler enjoys playing the violin, traditional archery, hunting, fishing and walking with the family. Tyler is the DCNR alternate representative on the Leadership Committee.

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