Photo by Noah Shatzer

Director of South Mountain Partnership

Katie Hess

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.

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