STEW-MAP: The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project

What is STEW-MAP?

Strong civic engagement can yield strong communities. Leveraging stewardship capacity can be a powerful way for governments, non-profits, and other organizations to achieve outcomes that would otherwise be impossible with finite resources, and to create communities that are stronger, healthier, greener, and more resilient. Mobilizing this potential requires understanding what stewardship capacity and connections exist across a landscape, and being able to connect these to form a model of shared stewardship.

The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) answers the question: who takes care of our environment? STEW-MAP surveys civic groups who work to conserve, manage, monitor, transform, educate on and/or advocate for the environment across a defined city, region, or landscape. It is both a study of a region's civic environmental stewardship resource and a publicly available online database and visualization tool to support a range of practical applications. STEW-MAP can be used to support the USDA Forest Service’s model of shared stewardship, which is about working together in an integrated way to make decisions and take actions that will yield meaningful outcomes at meaningful scales.

STEW-MAP databases and interactive maps allow land managers, community organizations, non-profits, and the public to see where hundreds of environmental stewardship groups are working in a particular landscape of interest. This community organizing tool can be applied to strengthen capacity, promote engagement with on-the-ground projects, and build more effective partnerships among stakeholders. STEW-MAP data provide a rich complement to biophysical and geographic information on green infrastructure, improving outcomes for a wide range of applications, including:

  • MillionTrees NYC: STEW-MAP data, paired with an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, helped NYC Parks to successfully reach its goal of planting and caring for one million trees.
  • Disaster preparedness and response: The NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency partnered with STEW-MAP to identify civic groups as crucial neighborhood assets to enable resilience through extreme events, from heat waves to coastal flooding.

STEW-MAP Data Include:

Organizational Characteristics

Organizational Characteristics

STEW-MAP provides information about the organizational characteristics of each group including year founded, mission, primary work sites, services offered, budgets and staff. At the same time, STEW-MAP allows you to better understand how each group functions through their expressed goals, impacts and modes of communication.

Geographic Turf

Geographic Turf

STEW-MAP displays the area of activity, or ‘stewardship turf,’ of each group. Stewardship turf could be an entire park, a forest patch, or a watershed. These geographic data can demonstrate the overlaps and gaps in stewardship capacity across a landscape and can be analyzed in concert with demographic and environmental characteristics of communities.



STEW-MAP displays a group’s social network to understand how civic environmental organizations are connected. This enables us to examine the structure and function of environmental stewardship across a city or region. From social network analyses, we can assess which organizations are operating as brokers of information, funding, and services; the role of government in relation to these civic stewardship organizations; and which organizations are more isolated than others.

Practitioners can use these data to understand who is working in a given region and what are their assets; this can improve outcomes for many applications, at multiple scales. A sample listing includes:

  • Community outreach & dialogue
  • Citizen science & environmental education
  • Stream & forest restoration projects
  • Community gardening & urban agriculture
  • Park maintenance & planning
  • Disaster preparedness & recovery
  • Invasive species monitoring & management

STEW-MAP Locations

STEW-MAP has been applied in a variety of settings, from rural to urban landscapes and from small to large communities. Our methodology and tools are standardized and can be adapted for localized needs. To learn more about what STEW-MAP looks like in your city, use the drop down menu in the top navigation box or click the map below. Note that the map includes locations where STEW-MAP has been completed, where data collection is underway, or prospective studies where initial consultations and scoping have occurred.

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Last modified: June 17, 2019