South Mountain Partnership Announces Spirit Of South Mountain Award Winner, Mini-Grant Recipients

More than 120 people gathered at Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Fairfield, Adams County on January 31 to celebrate the South Mountain landscape and the work of its partners to invest in a sustainable, healthy future for our communities and citizens in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.

The 9th annual Power of the Partnership started with the awarding of the Spirit of South Mountain Award, which recognizes exemplary people, projects and organizations that significantly and positively impact the South Mountain region by contributing to its sense of place through promoting or conserving its natural and cultural resources.

And The Winner Is...

Bicky Redman from the Adams County Office of Planning & Development presented the award 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.

White said she couldn’t have imagined how her work at the Round Barn in Biglerville would one day lead to such a large, successful partnership, but that she was very proud to have played her part.

Keynote Speakers

As she left the podium,  Adams County Commissioner Marty Qually welcomed everyone to the event and introduced Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who discussed the value of conservation landscapes like the South Mountain.

Dunn was followed by Secretary Russell Redding of the Department of Agriculture who talked about the important role local agriculture has to the region and the state.

Profiles Of Action

Next up were several “Profiles of Action: Partners Working across the South Mountain Landscape.”

This included a presentation from Harlan Lawson of the Adams County Office of Planning & Development and Robin Fitzpatrick of the Adams Economic Alliance, who discussed various locations in Adams County that add to the economic health and vibrancy of the region.

Natalie Buyny of Destination Gettysburg followed with demographic information on who visits the region and how her organization is working to attract more young families and Millennials.

The profiles concluded with a presentation from Sarah Kipp of the Land Conservancy of Adams County who shared an update on a previous South Mountain mini grant project that will take people on a hike through conserved farmland.

Go Far, Go Together

Katie Hess, Director of the South Mountain Partnership, then recapped the successful year the Partnership had in 2019, which included several workshops focused on bringing municipalities and watershed groups together to improve local water quality and bringing more people into the Partnership through committee roles.

Hess said, “The title of my presentation is, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ That sums up what the South Mountain Partnership is all about. We have accomplished much since 2006 because of the dedication, passion and insights of our many partners. We get together every year at the ‘Power of the Partnership’ celebration to recognize how far we’ve all come together.”

Mini-Grant Awards

Andy Yencha from Penn State Extension then presented the 2019 South Mountain mini-grant awards, which are funded by DCNR through the Environmental Stewardship [Growing Greener] Fund.

These grants are given each year to catalyze on-the-ground projects that further the goals of the Partnership, and to advance the capacity of partners to complete projects throughout the region.

In the last 11 years, over 65 projects have been completed through the Program – just over $490,000 in grants have been awarded: leveraging more than $1,000,000 in matching funds.

This year’s awardees are:

-- Appalachian Trail Museum for the 3-D Relief Map, Wild East, and Landscape Conservation Exhibit project at the Appalachian Trail Museum near Gardners, PA

-- Friends of Toms Creek to conduct field stream assessments of Toms Run Creek near Fairfield, PA

-- Keystone Conservation Trust, in coordination with Penn Township, Cumberland County for the Penn Township Return on Environment Land Use Study project.

-- North Newton Township for a trail feasibility study what will provide safe bicycle and pedestrian access

-- Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society to implement a self-guided tour of the Dill’s Tavern Property and downtown Dillsburg

-- South Middleton Township to address water quality concerns affecting the Yellow Breeches Creek by retrofitting a township bioretention swale near Boiling Springs

-- Strawberry Hill Foundation for implementation of a conservation plan that will restore Middle Creek, install interpretive panels, and design and build of boardwalks and platforms for creek access and education near Fairfield.

Click Here to learn more about the Mini-Grant Program.

The event concluded with Hess providing a look ahead and ways that attendees can get involved in the partnership if they’re not already.

The event adjourned, but the networking continued, with attendees sharing stories about what drew them to the South Mountain region and what keeps them working to make it an even better place to work and live.

The Power of the Partnership is the South Mountain Partnership’s way of celebrating all the good work of partners across the landscape in the preceding year.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events and how you can become  involved, visit the South Mountain Partnership website.  Click Here for the 2020 South Mountain Speakers Series.


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Related Articles - Recognition:

PA Environmental Professionals Call For Karl Mason And Walter Lyon Award Nominations

DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Ross Snook, New Hanover Twp. Environmental Advisory Board

[Posted: February 6, 2020]


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