Through her years of stewardship and community work, Lisa Brush noticed that many professionals in these fields were working with their “heads down.” They were putting in the effort, but their impact was limited by a lack of connection with potential collaborators. Her realization led to the creation of the Huron River Watershed Volunteer Stewardship Network in 1998. What began then as small collective of influencers, activists, and environmentalists laid the foundation for the creation of The Stewardship Network in 2004 to increase collaboration between communities caring for local ecosystems.
Grassroots local efforts, partnerships, and stakeholder involvement in program design blossomed into our flagship program and the heart of our organization, TSN Member Communities. Rooted in an ethic of cooperative ecological responsiveness, these diverse collectives have real impact, working together to protect the land and water where they live and sharing the lessons of their efforts across boundaries like never before. Now twenty years in practice, the TSN model has had proven successes in a wide variety of communities and geographies. Our robust and individually-customized support systems empower Member Communities to spend less time behind a desk and more time in the field doing whatever collaborative stewardship activities their local ecosystems need.
Today, The Stewardship Network facilitates countless relationships across organizations and individuals, including community groups, government entities, non-profits, and businesses. At all levels, TSN is breaking down walls and building new lines of engagement that unite us in our common cause and leave behind the silos of the past. By creating channels to share knowledge, stories, and resources, The Stewardship Network is the dream of our founder made real and a wealth of emerging solutions to some of our world’s most significant ecological challenges. We invite you to be a part of this, to join us and our Member Communities as we stand “TOGETHER FOR NATURE.”
TSN Wall of Memories
Honors and Awards
Winner: Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award (2015)
Awarded by: The Natural Areas Association
Notes: A national honor “in recognition of excellence and achievement in managing the natural resources of reserves, parks, wilderness, and other protected areas.”
Winner: Science and Practice of Ecology and Society Award (2013)
Awarded by: Foundation for Scientific Symbiosis
Notes: An international honor “given annually to the individual or organization that is the most effective in bringing transdisciplinary science of the interactions of ecology and society into practice.”
It remains a particular point of pride that when the celebrated Michigan Natural Areas Council (founded in 1946) gracefully ended operations in 2014, they named The Stewardship Network as their heirs and entrusted us to carry forward MNAC’s storied legacy. From their public announcement at the time:
Beginning as a Committee of the Michigan Botanical Club in the mid-1940’s, the Michigan Natural Areas Council spent its life urging the Michigan DNR to acquire, protect and well steward our State’s greatest natural areas and scenic sites. That work involved thousands of hours in the field and in the chambers of government, carrying detailed reports of our investigations on the natural features of many, many special places – now part of our great park system. We join with The Stewardship Network to rekindle the spirit and work of those pioneers, and call for renewed government action toward crafting a well-designed/well-managed system of natural areas public and private, large and small – throughout Michigan, a system fully representative of our great biodiversity.