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The inaugural South mountain science summit Facilitating a research and management network to steward the South Mountain Landscape

On April 11, 2019, more than 20 researchers, landowners, land managers and students gathered at Norlo Park in Fayetteville to launch the pilot South Mountain Science Summit and Research Corps with a mutual goal of establishing a research and management network to maintain and steward the South Mountain Landscape.

The Vision:

The South Mountain Partnership envisions the South Mountain Research Corps and Science Summit as a program that is overseen by a volunteer working committee composed of stakeholders from throughout the region (landowners, land managers, academic institutions and researchers) that will assist in creating and managing...

  • The South Mountain Science Summit: Strengthening channels of communication and building a highly regarded collaborative network of property owners, land managers, researchers and university students throughout the region.
  • The South Mountain Research Corps: Developing, building and sustaining a highly regarded applied research program that supports existing and emerging natural and cultural resource conservation efforts of landowners and land managers throughout the South Mountain landscape.
  • A Research Database: Cataloging the research that has previously occurred and developing a comprehensive understanding of the amount and focus of research being conducted on the South Mountain Landscape.
  • Highly Regarded Experiential Applied Research Opportunities: Providing opportunities for college students throughout the region and connect them with researchers and practitioners for internship and career opportunities.
The initiative was first articulated by the South Mountain Partnership in 2013 and has become one of the budgeted goals of the South Mountain Partnership, led by Katie Hess, the partnership's director. The Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University is assisting with coordination and facilitation during the pilot stage.

Proposed operating framework

The South Mountain Partnership anticipates funding for the program to continue through 2021, thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Those interested in seeing the program continue are encouraged to join the discussion to determine how cost sharing and the Research Corps Committee can ensure the program continues past 2021.

Shippensburg University Graduate Student Patricia Newdeck addresses the audience.

Short-term goals:

  • Develop a research database
  • Sponsor four to five projects
  • Assemble an advisory board
  • Create a Project Proposal Strategy

How to Get involved

If you were unable to attend the inaugural South mountain science summit and are interested in participating in the program, contact South Mountain Partnership Director Katie Hess at khess@appalachiantrail.org or the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University: clus@ship.edu

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, Environmental Stewardship Fund, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. The South Mountain Partnership is an alliance of organizations working to preserve and enhance the cultural and natural assets of the South Mountain Landscape in Central Pennsylvania. To learn more about the Partnership, please visit www.southmountainpartnership.org.

Created By
Noah Shatzer
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Photos by Noah Shatzer

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