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Research Tool for Visualizing and Understanding the Nature of Stewardship Becomes Art in New Exhibit

Artwork promoting Queens Museum exhibit. Image credit: SAVI (Spatial Analytics and Visualization Initiative), Can Sucuoglu, 2019. New York City, September 10, 2019 - In New York City and beyond, the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) is a tool city agencies and nonprofit organizations use for everything from volunteer tree maintenance to disaster resilience planning. In September, STEW-MAP will debut as an exhibit at Queens Museumfeaturing art, mapping, and storytelling.

The exhibit, “Who Takes Care of New York?,” runs Sept. 12-29 in the museum’s Community Partnership Gallery and will explore the variety of civic groups that exist and thrive in the New York City region, and the ways that they care for and support their local environments..

STEW-MAP is a mapping and assessment tool developed by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service that illuminates stewardship capacity and connections across a landscape, enabling the outreach and public engagement that is essential to achieving meaningful outcomes in shared stewardship.

The art exhibit includes maps developed by the Pratt Institute’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative; an interactive, online story map in the gallery;  a performance honoring stewardship groups in the five boroughs; a presentation by Lindsay Campbell of the Forest Service’s New York City Urban Field Station on how STEW-MAP is done and how it is used; a forest bathing experience led by the Natural Areas Conservancy; and a panel discussion titled “How We See Stewardship” led by Campbell.  In addition, September 28 is National Public Lands Day and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is holding multiple opportunities for the public to volunteer to care for local natural areas.

Campbell is a co-developer of STEW-MAP with her colleague Erika Svendsen; both are social scientists with the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. “The Queens Museum has assembled an exhibit that brings research to life and shows how environmental stewards are agents of change,” Campbell said. “It’s exciting to see data presented and shared in new ways. Mapping, visual art, performance, and storytelling help the public to experience the power and the meaning of stewardship.”

Developed and expanded over the past 15 years, STEW-MAP shows how civic groups work together in New York City and how stewardship has grown. For the natural areas of New York City and all of the individuals, civic groups, and public agencies invested in caring for those areas, STEW-MAP has served to make stewardship more visible.  In addition to its development in New York, STEW-MAP has been applied in more than a dozen locations across the world.

Two artists who were artists in residence at the New York City Urban Field Station, Matthew Jensen and Julia Oldham, will be featured in the exhibit along with two other Queens-connected artists who were identified by a call-for-proposals for stewardship-related art.


The mission of the Northern Research Station is to improve people's lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.


The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation's surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

Last modified: September 10, 2019