Healthy communities and healthy ecosystems: the community development potential of ecosystem restoration work
The Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP) at the University of Oregon is conducting a three year demonstration project to test the possibilities of collaborative stewardship for community development. Key to this is a monitoring and evaluation component that tries to assess the community impact of collaborative stewardship – to try to measure community changes. Such assessments are very difficult to do. The effects of community change efforts generally take a long time to manifest themselves, and it is difficult to show that whatever changes have occurred are the product of the change effort. We are in the second year of the project. This paper is an interim report focusing on our attempt to monitor community impacts. I begin by summarizing the background situation and introducing the demonstration project. I then describe the theoretical rationale for collaborative stewardship as community development. Finally, I present aspects of the project methodology, based on the experience thus far.