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A boundary-spanning organization for transdisciplinary science on land stewardship: The Stewardship Network

A. Paige Fischer, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan


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Although people and organizations in the Great Lakes region, USA take seriously their role as stewards of natural resources, many lack capacity to fulfill that role in a meaningful way. Stepping into that gap, The Stewardship Network (TSN) envisions “a world of empowered, connected communities caring for land and water, now and forever,” and fulfills that vision through its mission to “connect, equip, and mobilize people and organizations to care for land and water in their communities.” TSN uses a scalable model of linked local and regional capacity building, science communication, civic engagement, and on-the-ground stewardship activities to achieve these goals. The model engages local and regional groups in an ongoing process of learning around conservation and restoration that improves social and ecological knowledge. I share the story of TSN to demonstrate how transdisciplinary science can take hold locally and expand regionally to bring people from diverse disciplines and functional roles together to solve common problems. I demonstrate how researchers and practitioners can collaborate to create enduring mechanisms of social and ecological change.

Key words

Great Lakes; restoration; social learning; stewardship

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087