CARLISLE >> The latest lecture of the 2015 South Mountain Speakers Series will focus on the Craighead family, whose children spent their summers along the Yellow Breeches Creek and went on to become famous naturalists and authors.

"Summer in South Mountain: The Craighead Family Legacy," is being presented in collaboration with the Cumberland County Historical Society at 7 p.m. tonight — Thursday, Oct. 8 — at the Cumberland County Historical Society, 21 North Pitt St.

The program is free and open to everyone.

The presenter will be Tom Benjey, who has written about the Craigheads and is active with the Friends of the Craighead House.

"From Frank Craighead and his siblings, who grew up in a house along the Yellow Breeches, descended a battalion of people who made the study of various aspects of nature their life's work," said Katie Hess, director of the South Mountain Partnership. "We hope that hearing about the Craighead family's study of nature and connection to this landscape will inspire participants to be curious about our region's natural world and work to protect it."

The house at Craighead Station in South Middleton Township, Cumberland County, was a summer home where the children played, swam and fished; pioneered falconry as a sport in the U.S.; studied nature and the classics; and began writing careers.

As teenagers, twins Frank Jr. and John became known for their work with hawks and owls. Soon they were writing and photographing articles for National Geographic. Jean wrote more than 100 books about animals and children, including Newbery Honor winner My Side of the Mountain.

The program is supported by the historical society, the Friends of the Craighead House and the South Mountain Partnership.

The final lecture of the 2015 season will be "Living on the Wind: Tracking Norther Saw-whet Owls Migrating Along South Mountain" with award-winning author and respected natural historian Scott Weidensaul on Nov. 12 at Shippensburg University.

The South Mountain Partnership is a coalition of citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations and government representatives in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties, working together to protect and enhance the South Mountain landscape. It is a public-private partnership between the Department of Natural Resources and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

The annual South Mountain Speakers Series is a revival of the Michaux conservation talks given by Joseph Rothrock in the late 19th century as part of his historic work to preserve and restore Pennsylvania's forests and natural landscapes.

For more information about the South Mountain Partnership and the speakers series, visit or call the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 717-258-5771.

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