Resource: NYC Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project

STEW-MAP (the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project) is New York City's first ever map of the more than 5,000 civic environmental groups working in our amazing city.
The first phase of STEW-MAP is a survey for organizations to self-identify themselves and their work in environmental stewardship:
If you are a gardener, a park advocate, a dog walker, a beach cleaner, a kayaker, an environmentalist, an educator, or a community organizer - we need your help in putting your group on the map! ...

Please complete [a] brief online form [ENGLISH] [ESPAƑOL] in order to be a part of this new effort.

A dozen different citywide greening groups and 20 other organizations are working together with researchers from the US Forest Service and Columbia University to develop this project.

The assessment will ask you questions about your organization's mission, size, capacity, geographic areas of interest and partner organizations. Your efforts will result in a series of publicly-accessible, citywide Stewardship Maps and will help inform the development of citywide, participatory Stewardship Roundtables.

The assessment should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If at any time you have any questions regarding the assessment or the overall STEW-Map project please feel free to contact the project researchers, Dr. Dana R. Fisher from Columbia University's Department of Sociology and Erika S. Svendsen of the US Forest Service at the project's e-mail address: stewmap@columbia.edu.

Although the survey will ask for your name and contact information, all personal identifying information will be substituted with randomly generated identification codes once the survey is
completed. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, feel free to stop the assessment.

If you have any questions or concerns about the study you can contact Dr. Fisher at stewmap@columbia.edu or the Institutional Review Board of Columbia University at 212-870-3585 (IRB Protocol #AAAC3958).

We thank you for your organization's participation!
It's interesting to me that the Columbia Department of Sociology is involved in this effort. It would be interesting to collect the involvement and experiences of individuals engaged in local stewardship of their neighborhoods. In this regard, the "organization" language is a bit off-putting. What if I don't belong to, or speak for, an organization involved in stewardship?

[Note: Be sure to read the comment below from Lindsay Campbell, explaining their focus on groups and organizations in this stage of the project.]

I chose to answer the survey anyway, as an individual, using this blog to represent my "organization." Although I haven't used the term much, here is where I address many of the issues associated with stewardship, including:
  • Land use practices
  • Sustainability
  • Recognizing and valuing native flora, fauna, and natural areas
  • Ecological restoration
and so on. I try to enact and influence changes on my little patch of land and my neighborhood, whether in my gardens, for street trees, or open and green space. I hope that I educate and inform others both through my efforts, and by highlighting and promoting work that others are doing. I try to be a steward of the place I'm in.

via Susan Siegel, Executive Director, Flatbush Development Corporation, private correspondence


bonnie said...

This looks interesting, thanks for posting. Can't do the survey right now (it is late and I am pooped) but I sent it out to a couple of the paddling lists. Hope that might get some good feedback.

Lindsay said...

Hi Xris,

Thanks for your thoughtful post and for helping to draw attention to the STEW-MAP project.

We certainly considered studying individuals as well -- but for this stage of the project we are focusing on organizations and groups since we need to have a consistent unit of analysis. We know that as groups identify partners in their networks, individuals are likely to emerge as significant (e.g. folks like yourself, the Wild Man Steve Brill, etc). Stewardship in the city is an amazingly complex phenomenon.

Also -- at your recommendation we did check out your grief and gardening series and you have some great pictures and words. Not sure if you got a chance to check out the Living Memorials Project www.livingmemorialsproject.net. Given your work, I think you'll find it of interest.

Keep an eye out for future information and events from the STEW-MAP project. Many thanks!

Xris said...

bonnie: That's great. The watershed and waterways are often overlooked by many of us landlubbers!

I have fond memories of kayak tours around Mount Desert Island in Maine. I hope to do the same in NYC waters some day.

Lindsay: Thanks for coming by, and for you and your team's work on this project.

I started drafting a post, never completed, on the Living Memorials Project back in February, as part of my Grief & Gardening series. I'm glad you highlighted here.