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– Research Awards

The South Mountain Research Corps includes a pilot program with small research awards (up to $1,000) to support student experiential applied research as well as natural and cultural resource conservation efforts of landowners and land managers throughout the South Mountain region.

Teams may apply to work on a project or question that originated through the South Mountain Research Corps network and occurs within Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and/or York counties. A site visit is required prior to submitting the application. Teams must include at least one member from the following categories:

  • Landowner or Land manager (grants access to the property and helps to develop the research question or project)
  • Researcher (supervises the primary research of the student and co-coordinates the project)
  • Student (conduct primary research in the field) *note: student does not need to be identified to submit the application, but is expected to be the primary researcher*

Current Funding Round

The 2020 RFP is on hold. Please stay tuned for funding opportunities through this program.

Coming Soon

*Please see our updated Terms and Conditions here

Funding for the South Mountain Research Corps Program is provided by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Environmental Stewardship Fund, under the administration of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. The Center for Land Use and Sustainability is providing administrative support to the South Mountain Research Corps Program on behalf of the South Mountain Partnership.

2020 Research Awards

SMRC: Dickinson College/Michaux State Forest

Project: Macro and Chemical Parameters of an un-named stream flowing by private cabin

The Wildlife Ecology Class from Dickinson College in Carlisle PA. will conduct a macro-assessment of a small stream running next to a private cabin in Michaux State Forest. Students may also visit the site at night to shine lights into the water to determine what amphibians breed in the ore hole into which the stream flows. Data will be entered on a standard ALLARM form and distributed to South Mountain Research Corps, Cumberland County Conservation District, ALLARM, and Michaux District office. Project Team: Private cabin owner and Dickinson College

SMRC: Harrisburg University/Michaux State Forest

Project: Ecological Evaluation of Stream Impacts Due to Unplanned Trail Use

Recreation on public lands is increasing in popularity, particularly for those within proximity of urban centers. Most public lands have a multi-use mandate that seeks to provide users with a positive outdoor recreation experience while maintaining ecological integrity. Past studies have shown that recreational trail use can have deleterious effects on stream ecosystems. Trail use can compact soils, increasing peak flow events during storms, increase stream sedimentation, alter stream flow, and decrease habitat quality for aquatic life. However, base-line data on trail impacts to streams is often lacking. Without such data, it is difficult for land managers to make informed decisions regarding trail management, including trail closures or issuing event permits. How many trail stream crossings can a public land sustain without deleterious effects? This study proposes to collect base-line data on stream impacts due to trail crossings along Tom’s Run and Mountain Creek within Michaux State Forest. Project Team: Michaux State Forest and Harrisburg Univeristy

SMRC: Shippensburg University/Ebbert Spring

Project: Use of Fluorescence techniques, passive samplers, and geochemical parameters to monitor source characteristics and organic loading to Ebbert Spring

Ebbert Spring a critical water resource, that apparently has been utilized by humans since settlement of North America and continues to serve as a partial supply to Greencastle, Pennsylvania. Like many karst springs, it is likely vulnerable to surface influences, and little is known about its source waters. The proposed study will use physio-chemical measurements to characterize features of the contributing karst basin and fluorescence techniques to characterize organic loading from impervious, agricultural, or other anthropogenic sources. Project team: The Archaeological Conservancy and Shippensburg University

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