STEW-MAP: The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project

Volunteers locate and measure street trees for TreesCount NYC. Photo courtesy of NYC Parks.

STEW-MAP Step-By-Step

STEW-MAP has been successfully implemented in many places over the last decade. The methodology can be adapted for a range of budgets, for cities or regions of various sizes, and in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The six main steps are described briefly below: For additional information, see the list of resources for download below.

Implementation diagram

Step 1. Discuss scope and build your team

STEW-MAP may take different forms (basic to deluxe) and can be implemented on a number of scales depending on your team’s capacity, team and partner needs and interests, and the size of your geographic area. The budget generally includes a suite of fixed and variable costs. A preliminary conversation with the Global Team Leads can help to inform the potential scope and cost of the project, but in order to complete the entire process, we suggest a minimum one-year commitment and having one dedicated project coordinator. Make sure that your team also includes people who are good with data, communication, and writing. You can also consider assembling a more formal advisory board made up of local experts.

Step 2: Compile your list of groups to survey

Next, identify your stakeholders and ask them to be “data providers” by providing a list of civic stewardship groups they work with, along with relevant contact information. Many groups will already have a contact list for their partners. As your contact lists start rolling in, you’ll need a method to store and organize your data. Create an excel spreadsheet with one row per group with headers for contact information and any other relevant information you’d like, such as the contact person’s social media handle or job title.

Step 3: Send out the survey

Finalize all the questions on the survey with your team and make sure to save a final version. If you have put together an advisory board or small group of trusted stakeholders, you can ask them to weigh in on the questions and share feedback. It is also important to construct a cover-letter to the survey that outlines why a group should want to participate in STEW-MAP. Determine whether you will be sending the survey by mail, electronically, or some combination of both. Our recommendation is to use a simple and inexpensive survey software to manage your survey invitations and responses, such as Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, or even a simple google form. Upload your contact sheet and then hit send!

Step 4: Conduct survey outreach

There are a number of ways to increase your buy-in from groups and encourage them to respond. You can table at local events to meet people face to face, ask your stakeholders to share a blurb about STEW-MAP in their newsletters, and follow up with emails and phone calls to recipients who have not yet responded. You can also offer an incentive for groups to take the survey, like giveaways, a raffle drawing, or a social media highlight.

Step 5: Clean and analyze data

Once you close the survey, you will need to clean your data. Go through all of the responses and get rid of any duplicates so that you only have one response per group. Then, identify groups with incomplete data and determine how you will follow up with them. You may also need to exclude certain groups that received the survey in error or are not actually civic stewardship groups. You’ll also need to clean and standardize your geographic and network data, including mapping the geographic turfs of all respondents in a mapping platform or Geographic Information System. After your dataset is finalized, you can review your responses and look for patterns and trends in the data.

Step 6: Share results

Make sure to tell your data providers and survey respondents what you found in your data. You can share your results through social media, blog post, white papers, and peer reviewed publications. You can also display your spatial data on the Forest Service ArcGIS multi-city portal if you follow the formatting steps in the geospatial guide below.

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Last modified: November 16, 2021