– Power of the Partnership Year-End Celebration

The annual Power of the Partnership is a breakfast meeting to celebrate our collective accomplishments each year and to preview what is to come.

The 9th Annual Power of the Partnership will take place on Friday, January 31, 2020 at Liberty Mountain Resort in Fairfield, Adams County. Anyone interested in making the South Mountain region a better place to live, work, and play is welcome to attend. While there you will hear from various local organizations and individuals about the important work they are doing in the landscape and find out who was selected for the South Mountain Mini-Grant awards. Attendees will also see the awarding of the 8th Spirit of the South Mountain award, which recognizes individuals, projects, or organizations that have made significant contributions to a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape.



Thank you to our sponsors!


Highlights from Last Year’s Celebration

More than 140 attendees gathered on February 1, 2019 at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center to learn more about the South Mountain Partnership network, find out how they can get involved, and meet a diverse individuals and organization that are making a difference.

This meeting included:

  • Preserving the rural landscape character of the Cumberland Valley
  • Investing in community development through planning
  • Award of 2018 South Mountain Mini-Grants
  • Presentation of the ‘Spirit of the South Mountain’ Award


2018 South Mountain Mini-Grant Awardees

Peter Hoagland, State Forester at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the federal Lead for the South Mountain Partnership, kicked off the awards. The purpose of these grants is “to stimulate on-the-ground projects to sustain the South Mountain region’s sense of place through the protection, enhancement, or promotion of the area’s natural, cultural, recreational, or economic resources. The grant program was launched in 2009, developed by South Mountain Partnership, and administered with help from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Over the last 9 years, more than 60 projects have been completed through the South Mountain Mini-Grant Program – approximately $440,000 in grants have been awarded; leveraging just under $900,000 in matching funds. The South Mountain Mini-Grant program is funded via the Commonwealth’s special funds, known as the Environmental Stewardship Fund and the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, which are part of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnerships Program.


• $10,000 to the Archaeological Conservancy, for trail building, interpretive signage, and am teaching aid at Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park near Greencastle. The award was accepted by Kelley Berliner and Andrew Stout, on behalf of the Archaeological Conservancy and project partners at Antrim Township, Greencastle-Antrim School District, Shippensburg University, and the Allison-Antrim Museum.


• $5,500 to the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, to develop a Letort Spring Garden Preserve management plan for the high value coldwater spring, to serve as a model for protection and management of high value natural resources within agricultural and urban contexts. This award was accepted by Ben Mummert, on behalf of Central Pennsylvania Conservancy and project partners at Letort Regional Authority, South Middleton Township, Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited, and Cumberland County Historical Society.


• $17,160 to the Land Conservancy of Adams County for planning and design of the 2.7-mile long Orchard Ales Trail to connect three permanently preserved farms and popular agritourism destinations and to promote broader support for land preservation. The award was accepted by Sarah Kipp, on behalf of the Land Conservancy of Adams County and project partners at Boyer Cellars, Nurseries and Orchards, the Round Barn’s Thirsty Farmer Brewery, and Hauser Estate Winery.


• $1,600 to Messiah College Office of Sustainability, for conversion of one acre to honeybee forage area, establishment of six Pennsylvania stock bee colonies, and changes to the sustainability major curriculum to provide student experience in programming for community-wide education and on-campus apiary and ecological conservation. The award was accepted by Brandon Hoover, on behalf of Messiah College Office of Sustainability and project partner Bee Friendly.


• $5,740 to Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society, to restore the structural integrity of the National Apple Harvest Museum so that the facility can be promoted once again for educational and tourism purposes, promoting the natural resources that make the South Mountain landscape a specialized agricultural region. The award was accepted by Lucinda Heller and Robert Wenger, on behalf of Biglerville Historical and Preservation Society and project partners at Adams County Fruit Growers Association and Piney Ridge Timber Frames.


• $10,000 to the National Wild Turkey Federations, to contribute to the landscape scale Big Pine Flat “Oak-Savanna” Restoration Project that will restore and manage approximately 470 acres of wildlife habitat in Michaux State Forest. The Big Pine Flats project will restore the area from overgrown hardwood forest into a mosaic of savanna and barren-like habitat, restoring landscape function while creating useable space for wild turkeys and other wildlife species. The award was accepted by Mitchell Blake, on behalf of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the local Fort Chambers, Adams County Longbeards, Michaux-Yellow Breeches, and Shippensburg Strutters chapters, as well as Michaux State Forest.



The 7th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was presented to Karen Lutz, retired Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). Karen joined the staff of ATC in 1988 after volunteering and being a founding member of the Cumberland Valley Appalachian Trail Club. Congratulations to Karen and all the grantees!