Kittatinny Coalition Support

The Kittatinny Coalition is an alliance of organizations, agencies, and academic institutions working with municipal officials and private landowners to conserve the natural, scenic, cultural, and aesthetic resources of the Kittatinny Ridge and Corridor. Shippensburg University is an active member, and has partnered to conduct GIS and demographic analyses and user surveys to support conservation and communication efforts along the Kittatinny Ridge. 

Kittatinny Ridge Recognition and Identification Survey

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, through a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), partnered with the CLUS and Kittatinny Coalition to conduct the Kittatinny Ridge Recognition and Identification Survey in 2019. The purpose of the survey was to create a better understanding of how residents and tourists use the Kittatinny Ridge and surrounding area for outdoor recreation, what they know about it, how people identify with the Ridge, what could improve their experiences, and what economic and conservation opportunities they see as priorities along the Ridge.

The Kittatinny Coalition and other conservation groups and state agencies may use the survey responses to consider and develop improved recreation opportunities, enhanced natural resource protection efforts, and a communication strategy that helps boost appreciation for, and fill knowledge gaps about, the Ridge. Learn more in the survey summary.

GIS Support Services

With funding from Audubon Pennsylvania through the Department of Conservation and  Natural Resources, the CLUS conducted GIS analyses from 2017-2020 for the Kittatinny Ridge focused on three goals:

Create and maintain GIS datasets

Create and maintain a series of GIS data sets to support research and conservation activities. The current GIS data list GIS can be found here, and geodatabases will be available through the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) portal. Search for the keyword “Kittatinny Ridge” or by data provider for “Center for Land Use and Sustainability.”

Calculate baseline landscape metrics
Calculate a series of baseline landscape metrics for the Kittatinny Ridge. We are especially interested in investigating land use dynamics in the Corridor, and are calculating metrics that include changes in housing unit and population density, changes in land use and land cover, forest fragmentation, and others.
Update parcel prioritization analysis
In August 2014, Audubon Pennsylvania and The Nature Conservancy joined efforts to identify the most important parcels along the Kittatinny Ridge for protection. We have now partnered with the Coalition to update the parcel prioritization analysis and extend it to include the Corridor.

ATC Cluster Demographics

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is the world’s longest hiking only foot trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine. The full extent of the trail traverses through lands owned and managed by federal agencies, state agencies, local municipalities, and non-profit groups. Much of the A.T. corridor includes lands that are vital for the protection of natural resources and watershed quality. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), a non-profit group whose mission is to preserve and manage the trail, seeks to educate and engage community leaders and residents in implementation of conservation practices that protect the Appalachian Trail Corridor. 

The William Penn Foundation sponsors the Delaware Watershed Initiative (DRWI), which works across four states to protect the source of clean water for the Delaware River. Both groups’ missions are served by conservation strategies on lands proximal to the A.T. corridor and within the Delaware Watershed.

With financial support through William Penn Foundation, the ATC seeks to develop an outreach campaign to facilitate conservation practices that protect forest cover and riparian buffers along the A.T. corridor. The ATC’s outreach model will focus on 28 municipalities within the following four DRWI clusters: Poconos and Kittatinny, Upper New Jersey Highlands, Upper Lehigh, and Middle Schuylkill. In support of this work, in 2019 the CLUS conducted a demographic analysis of the municipalities and counties that intersect the Appalachian Trail along the Kittatinny Ridge.

Read the Final Report or view the Story Map to learn more.

Land Cover Dynamics Along the Kittatinny Ridge

In 2017, two CLUS students developed a storymap to analyze land cover dynamics along the Kittatinny Ridge. This resource will be used to guide management decisions, facilitate community outreach and education, and as a baseline for ongoing preservation efforts. The interactive map features background information about the coalition as well as long and short term land cover trends. Land cover dynamics were assessed at the municipal scale to better understand how the ridge is changing over time. Explore the interactive map here:

Affiliate Scholars

    Alexandra Shatzer

    CLUS Undergraduate Student Fellow

    Alex Shatzer is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Shippensburg University studying sociology with a biology minor. Her interests are in public health and the effect that climate change has on population health.  She is currently the president of the National Society of Leadership and success an honors society on campus. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

    Projects: Kittatinny Ridge Survey

      Alfonso Yáñez Morillo

      Research Analyst, Department of Geography-Earth Science

      A.S. in forest engineering from the Universidad Politecnica of Madrid
      B.S. in biology from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid
      M.S. in environmental management and administration from the Fundación Biodiversidad

      Alfonso specializes in landscape ecology and connectivity and has over 10 years experience applying GIS to a wide range of environmental consultancy projects. Focus areas include environmental impact assessments, land use change, planning evaluation, forest fires, and ecological flows regimes. Alfonso is a certified Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilot.

      Claire Jantz, Ph.D. – Director

      Professor, Department of Geography-Earth Science

      B.A. in College Scholars from University of Tennessee
      M.A. in Geography from University of Maryland
      Ph.D. in Geography from University of Maryland

      Dr. Claire Jantz is the Director of the CLUS. She has extensive expertise in land use and land cover change analysis and modeling, and interdisciplinary research. Dr. Jantz has particular expertise within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Delaware River Basin, and the Delmarva Peninsula. She has participated in several collaborative research efforts funded by NASA, Maryland SeaGrant, NPS, and the William Penn Foundation.

        Jackie Rosenberger

        Undergraduate Student Fellow

        Jackie graduated in May 2018 with a B.S. Biology and a minor in Geographic Information Science. She is interested in using GIS for wildlife management and conservation. She has worked with the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition to build a geographic database of environmental data sets for the Kittatinny Ridge in order to support the conservation of native habitat and wildlife. She also used these data sets to calculate scientific metrics for land, water, and wildlife resources to allow conservation progress to be tracked over time. In addition to working for the CLUS, she has also worked as a wildlife biologist aide for the PA Game Commission.

        Projects: Kittatinny Ridge GIS Project (2017)

            Jonathon Chester

            Undergraduate Student Fellow

            Jonathon graduated from Shippensburg University in May 2018 with a B.S. in Geo-Environmental Studies and Certificate in GIS. He plans to attend graduate school in the fall and hopes to pursue a career which integrates GIS with land conservation and management. Outside of work with the CLUS, he was involved in an undergraduate research project using LiDAR-derived data sets to investigate the geomorphology of broad low-relief surfaces along the crest of South Mountain, PA. Jonathon has extensive local, regional, and national leadership experience within the Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle Scout in 2011. 

            Projects: Upper Delaware Partnership (2017-2018), Kittatinny Ridge GIS Project (2017), Delaware River Basin Project (2018)

                Matt Ostap

                Undergraduate Student Fellow

                Matt is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Shippensburg University studying Geoenvironmental Studies with a GIS Minor. He is currently working on the Kittatinny Ridge GIS Project at CLUS. He has completed internships with The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania and the Cumberland County Conservation District. Matt is interested in field work and GIS and would like to pursue a career with both of these fields.

                Projects: Kittatinny Ridge (2020)

                    Patricia Newdeck

                    Graduate Student Fellow

                    Trish applied her BS in Geosciences (Penn State) toward an environmental consulting career where she performed soil and groundwater investigations and designed remediations plans for industrial and petrochemical clients.  As an SU graduate student, Trish is gaining GIS processing skills and and land use knowledge.  At CLUS, she applies her analytical, project management and visual graphic skills to support a passion for land conservation and sustainable communities.  When away from the computer, she adventures on land & water with her teenage sons or slings clay at the ceramic studio.

                    Projects: Minigrant storymap for the South Mountain Partnership (2017), DWRF Project (2018), ATC Demographics Project (2019), General CLUS Support (2018-2019)

                        Sarah Thompson

                        CLUS Graduate Student Fellow

                        Sarah earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Sustainability from Shippensburg University in 2021 and is continuing in the Geography/Earth Science department to earn her M.S. in Geoenvironmental Science and Sustainability. She is a member of the international honor society in geography, Gamma Theta Upsilon, and has interests in food security, sustainable agriculture, land use, and climate science. In her free time, she enjoys spending time kayaking, camping, and playing with her dogs.

                        Projects: Kittatinny Ridge GIS

                            Troy Alleman

                            Graduate Student Fellow

                            Troy graduated in May 2018 with a B.S. in Geo-Environmental Studies and minor in Public Administration. He is interested in hydrology and hydrogeology, and plans to pursue a graduate degree focused on water resource management. A nontraditional student with a military background, Troy enjoys mentoring and supports many students in the department. His wide-ranging skills include interpersonal communication, planning, cartography, GIS, spatial analysis, and finding creative solutions to unique problems.

                            Projects: Kittatinny Ridge GIS Project (2017), LVMA (2017), Delaware River Basin Project (2018)

                              Ying Yang, Ph.D.

                              Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

                              Ph.D. in Sociology from University of South Carolina

                              Dr. Yang is interested in studying housing inequality across different racial and ethnic groups. Recently, Dr. Yang started research on housing accessibility issues and how they differ in different communities (metro areas vs. rural areas). Dr. Yang specializes in quantitative data analysis and supports CLUS survey efforts.