Missouri Outdoor Connections - Using Stewardship Mapping to Connect Partners


Missouri Outdoor Connections, Mark Twain National Forest and Urban Connections. Bringing people together who care about our natural resources.

The Forest Service is excited to work with organizations that care for the lands and environment of Missouri’s central and southern regions to increase stewardship across landscapes and get more people out enjoying nature. Whether that’s on the Mark Twain National Forest, a city or state park, or in their own backyard. We hope to accomplish this by mapping and connecting the many different groups and natural resource stewards who care for Missouri’s natural areas, from rural to urban communities and everywhere in between.

  • Let's Get Connected!

    StewMap: Puzzle Pieces

    Let's get outdoors and let's make a difference together!

    By developing the Missouri Outdoor Connections, the Forest Service is looking beyond National Forest System lands to bring together the people and organizations that care for the natural resources of Missouri's central and southern regions so they can work better together.   

    It is important that diverse groups involved in different aspects of caring for, and about, public lands complete the stewardship mapping 2023 survey. 

    Visit the Missouri STEW-MAP webpage to learn more about this and other stewardship mapping projects.

  • Take The Survey!

    StewMap: Three people by a canoe

    Your efforts count and belong on the map!

    A diverse group of stakeholders that want to work together to care for the land exists in southern and central Missouri and around St. Louis. There are many groups striving to get people outside enjoying the benefits of nature too. 

    We need participation from all these important groups to build a strong network for this partnership mapping opportunity. We are reaching out to volunteer groups, recreational and trail clubs, civic & environmental organizations, community-based groups, nonprofits, and others. 

    So help us spread the word and get people to take the first step; and the first step is to take the Survey!

After the survey, then what?

Processing data

Researchers will apply results from the public survey. The effort will result in the development of a new, interactive tool which identifies, maps, and visualizes relationships of land stewards.  

  • The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP), a research tool and mapping platform, is the guiding force behind the Missouri Outdoor Connections project.  
  • The mapping tool can help foster connections across the landscape, including the Mark Twain National Forest and the USDA Forest Service St. Louis Urban Connections Office. 
  • STEW-MAP has supported community organizing and partnerships across many other cities nationally and internationally.  

Building partnership networks

Connecting Missouri’s outdoor groups and land stewards will have multiple benefits.  

  • It will identify, connect, and leverage existing and potential partners.  
  • It will increase collaboration across boundaries – from the city to the forest.  
  • It will help us understand the extent to which lands are being cared for and why.  

Common questions

What was the criteria used to determine who would be selected to participate in the survey?

A team of Forest Service program managers reviewed a comprehensive list of partners, interested parties, and others to create a curated, inclusive list of any groups that may be engaged in stewardship activities. This list was combined with a search of all publicly available nonprofit organizations in Missouri from IRS 990s and organizational websites. In addition, we are outreaching far and wide through efforts include social media, a postcard partner networks, and news release to reach anyone who takes care of Missouri’s natural spaces.

Why connect Missouri’s outdoor groups?

Land stewardship has increasingly become more collaborative and participatory. Across the country, people are working to create stronger, healthier, greener, and more resilient communities by caring for forests, parks, and other natural lands. Linking these individuals and groups allows us to advance stewardship & equity together, leverage resource capacity, share expertise, and make the impossible possible.

Will survey results be made public?

The summary report is anticipated in spring of 2024. The network visualization tools will be publicly available online.

What is the goal of this effort?

To look beyond National Forest System lands to bring together a large and diverse group from Joplin to St. Louis. This group, Missouri Outdoor Connections will link stewards from rural to urban communities and everywhere in between.

What is STEW-MAP?

The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) is a research tool, community organizing approach, and partnership mapping platform developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. Stewardship data collected through STEW-MAP tells us about the presence, capacity, spatial distribution, and social networks of stewardship groups in each city or region.

Partners that have joined the Missouri Outdoor Connections development effort

Luckily, Mark Twain National Forest and the Eastern Region Urban Connections program already have a great group of partners to start this mapping effort off.  Initial meetings to talk to existing partners about this stewardship mapping opportunity were held in January 2023.

Have questions?

There are many people that are assisting with the Missouri Outdoor Connections project and are listed below, but for most questions the best people to reach out to are:

Email Connor Landeck Email Jenniqual Johnson

Other Forest Service team members contributing to this effort



  • Social Media Kit

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    Example FB post language:

    We did it!

    We joined the USDA Forest Service’s Missouri Outdoor Connections group, and your organization can too. Take the survey. Get on the map. Connect with thousands of civic groups working to care for Missouri’s natural spaces. Learn more: Missouri Outdoor Connections.

    Be a part of the action! #FSurbanconnections and @MarkTwainNationalForest are connecting the groups who care for nature and outdoor spaces in southern Missouri and St. Louis. We took the survey to get connected and you can too. Learn more and take the survey.


    Example Twitter post:

    Be part of the Missouri Outdoor Connections! We took the survey and will get on the networking map of groups and individuals that care for the land and for connecting people with the outdoors in @marktwain_nf and in the STL area. Learn more and take the survey!