Photo by Noah Shatzer

The ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award

Each year we recognize an individual, project, or organization that has made significant contributions to advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. The Spirit of South Mountain award is to be presented at the annual “Power of the Partnership” celebration.


Award nominations will be judged based on the degree to which they:

  • reflect the mission of South Mountain Partnership: “Conserving Landscape Resources to enrich the quality of life and sense of place of the South Mountain region’s citizens and communities

advance the goals of the South Mountain Partnership:

  • Conservation of Landscape Resources – conserving and stewarding the natural, cultural, recreational and agricultural resources that make the South Mountain landscape unique;
  • Promotion of Landscape Resources – elevating public awareness of the natural, cultural, recreational, and agricultural resources;
  • Connections Across the Landscape – creating a community of collaboration amongst a critical mass of public agencies, non-profit and community organizations, businesses, and citizens.

Past Award Winners

The South Mountain Partnership is proud to award the 10th Annual Spirit of the South Mountain to Lori Rice and Janet Pollard for their work on the “Stop Transource Project” Please enjoy this acceptance video with Lori Rice, Janet Pollard, and Patti Nitterhouse. “It takes a village to protect a valley” is the phrase used to describe this project and two outstanding individuals who spearheaded the movement from 2017-2021, bringing together an entire valley since to assess a 135-foot-high high tension, high voltage powerline proposed to run for 29 miles from Shippensburg to the south into Maryland. Thanks to the efforts of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau under the direction of Janet Pollard and Lori Rice – a farm owner and salon business owner – public officials at the state, county, and local levels; school board members; businesses both large & small; landowners;, nature lovers; and artists were brought together as a community to study the proposal – and to ultimately say “No, thank you.” The Spirit of South Mountain award is an important award given to an individual, project, or organization that has made a big impact in advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape. This year, the awardees were announced as Lori Rice and Janet Pollard during the 11th annual “Power of the Partnership” event.

The 9th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was presented to Dr. Claire Jantz, Director of the Center for Land Use and Sustainability and professor at Shippensburg University. Michaux Forest District staff had this to say about Dr. Jantz: “She is as comfortable creating and leading collaborative dialogue around data sharing and research prioritization…as she is organizing, energizing, and executing trail building and litter clean-up work days across the Michaux’s diverse recreation stakeholder groups. I have never met someone with Dr. Jantz’s scientific chops so wonderfully integrated and with such good humor, commitment to community engagement and development, and motivation to do good – practically – and in all things.”

The 8th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was presented to Tonya White, of the Historic Round Barn & Farm Market and Thirsty Farmer Brew Works, for championing the creation of the South Mountain Conservation Landscape (South Mountain Partnership) in 2007. Tonya’s advocacy on behalf of this region led to alignment of and action around farm and open space protection, historic preservation, and expansion into new markets of tourism, agriculture, land protection, stewardship, recreation, heritage, and agricultural tourism.

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.

The 6th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was presented to the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail Coalition in recognition their work that reflects the Partnership’s mission to collaboratively preserve and promote the landscape resources which make the South Mountain landscape unique and special, including a massive infrastructure project in Newville that installed one bridge and one underpass to address safety issues and open the trail to the east, one mile of trail was built at the Carlisle terminus, and an additional bridge was installed to connect the trail to downtown Shippensburg via Shippensburg University.

The 5th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was awarded to Franklin County Commissioners and Greene Township Supervisors, in cooperation with the Eagle Rock Project, led by The Conservation Fund, which worked to conserve over 1,100 acres of land in Greene Township.

The 4th ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award in 2014 (no award was given in 2013) was awarded to two organizations – the Land Conservancy of Adams County and the Conococheague Creek Trout Habitat Enhancement project. The Conservancy was selected due to its significant contribution to land conservation in 2014: seven conservation easements covering more than 1,060 acres of land. The Creek Project was selected for helping to sustaining the South Mountain landscape’s clean, high-quality streams and drinking water.

The 3rd ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was presented in 2012 to the South Mountain Speakers Series Steering Committee for their tireless commitment to developing and implementing a series of free public presentations that showcase the special people, features, and events of the South Mountain region.

The 2nd ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was given to Middlesex Township for the Trindle Road A.T. Trailhead project in 2011.

The 1st ‘Spirit of South Mountain’ Award was given to the Pine Grove Furnace State Park team for their outstanding partnership activities that directly support the vision of the South Mountain Partnership, including promotion of local agriculture, cultural heritage, natural resources, recreational opportunities, and business opportunities for over 500,000 visitors.