Who, what, where, why and how are environmental stewardship groups working across the urban landscape? The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) seeks to answer the question: What are the social and spatial interactions among civic groups who conserve, manage, monitor, advocate for, and educate the public about their local environments (including water, land, air, waste, toxics, and energy issues)?
Four Features that Make STEW-MAP Unique
STEW-MAP uses a broad definition of stewardship – conserving, managing, caring for, monitoring, advocating for, and educating the public about local environments – and invites participation from all types of environmental stewards, not just those who are formally trained, work with nonprofit groups, or focus on a specific type of stewardship activity. This allows us to better understand how civic stewardship supports natural resource management in ways that are sometimes not fully appreciated.
STEW-MAP invites stewardship groups to map exactly where they work – whether in a community garden, on a city lot, in part of a public park, or in a larger ‘territory’ like a neighborhood, city, county, or state. This enables STEW-MAP to analyze – and display information-rich maps of – stewardship work going on across a neighborhood, city, or region.
STEW-MAP collects social network data about how stewardship groups are connected with other groups to collaborate on projects or receive funding or information. When all of the social network responses are analyzed together, we get an idea of how information, funding, and collaboration flow among stewardship groups in a city or region – and which groups and organizations are the most well-connected (the ‘hubs’) in the network as well as where there are gaps or less-connected groups.
The STEW-MAP survey and related data analysis are scientifically rigorous and are guided and informed by an extensive literature review on urban environmental stewardship.