Author: Michelle Johnson
Interdisciplinary Scientist, USDA Forest Service, NYC Urban Field Station
In 2007, the USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with Dana R. Fisher, now at University of Maryland, created the first STEWardship Mapping and Assessment Project in New York City. STEWMAP involves surveying civic organizations to capture which organizations are engaging in stewardship, where they are engaging in stewardship, how they are engaging in stewardship, and how stewardship networks share resources, including information. Since 2007, the Forest Service has replicated STEW-MAP in Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, with emerging efforts in Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and Atlanta.
With STEW-MAP in multiple cities, we can begin to examine how stewardship can vary across cities, and in relation to environmental and socioeconomic variables. As a Forest Service researcher with access to all the datasets and a spatial analysis background, I am in the unique position of being able to do this. To start, I created a poster for the Urban Environmental Stewardship Conference, held on Friday April 17, 2015 by the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. The poster’s analysis is to look at four cities: NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and Baltimore, with a focus only on civic organizations (to make the analysis comparable across cities). The poster does three things: (1) provides a basic comparison of civic stewardship organizations across cities, (2) examines the potential for hotspots/coldspots in each city with spatial statistics, and (3) examines the number of stewardship groups operating in a census block group as a function of percent vegetation from the National Land Cover Dataset and socioeconomic variables from the American Community Survey (education, race, income). In this preliminary analysis, no single pattern emerged across cities for these explanatory variables, suggesting stewardship distribution varies by city or that there are other important variables not yet analyzed. This is just the start of our exploration into the roles of the city and neighborhood in stewardship activity.
Michelle Johnson's poster was the winner of the UESC15 poster competition. The competition was judged by Dr. Isabella Alcañiz (UMD Government and Politics), Dr. James Connolly (Northeastern University), and Dr. Erika Svendsen (USFS).