The South Mountain Partnership, the Center for Land Use and Sustainability at Shippensburg University, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are launching new South Mountain Research Corps initiative that supports student research on land management projects within the South Mountain Landscape in portions of Adams, Franklin, Cumberland, and York counties.

As part of the launch, landowners, land managers and researchers are encouraged to take an online survey and attend the April 11 South Mountain Science Summit.

What’s The Research Corps?

Many landowners in the South Mountain region (consisting of portions of Adams, Franklin, Cumberland, and York counties) want to leave their land better than when they first gained ownership. Through time and dedication to managing their land, they have undoubtedly formed a strong attachment to it. But at times these landowners may have questions about how to manage their land, and they don’t know who to turn to. At the same time, college students are looking for opportunities to gain tangible experience and insight from work in real communities so they can build skills that are immediately applicable when interviewing for and starting their careers.

It is with those landowners and students in mind that the South Mountain Research Corps was launched.

Through the SMRC, the South Mountain landscape will become a place-based and experiential research “facility” for local universities’ faculty and students while also meeting the land management needs of local landowners. The SMRC will:

  • Develop and sustain a responsive, applied research program that empowers the natural and cultural resource conservation efforts happening throughout the South Mountain landscape
  • Build collaborative relationships among property owners, land managers, researchers, and students throughout the South Mountain region
  • Build collaborative relationships amongst institutions of higher education throughout the South Mountain region
  • Provide authentic, high impact, and experiential learning opportunities to college students throughout the region.

To date, 14 landowners and land managers in the region have expressed an interest in participating in the SMRC, but more are encouraged to participate through one or more upcoming calls to action.

Science Summit

The SMRC will launch officially during an inaugural South Mountain Science Summit on April 11; those interested will receive details by participating in the survey mentioned below. The Science Summit will connect the needs of local landowners and land managers with the research capacity of regional research institutions while generating practical learning opportunities for college students that will have a collective impact on regional land management and stewardship.

If you would like to stay informed on Summit details, send an email to: [email protected].


And, if you are a land manager in the South Mountain region with resource issues or questions about the land you manage, or are interested in encouraging relevant student research on your land that may need funding support, then please consider completing a short online survey. Survey responses will provide the catalyst for developing project initiatives and outreach during the April Science Summit.

The deadline to take the survey is March 14. For more information, visit the South Mountain Research Corps webpage.

More information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events on the South Mountain Landscape are available by visiting the South Mountain Partnership website.