What We Do


A Stewardship Collaborative

The Stewardship Institute is a small team and a large network, actively engaged in keeping the National Park Service at the leading edge of stewardship for our natural and cultural heritage. Rooted in scholarship, the Institute pushes beyond the realm of abstracts and theories and into real-world, field-based application. The Institute advances learning through cultivating networks of inspired people. Such networks are among the National Park Service's strongest assets, and growing and nurturing them is one of the Institute's priorities. These networks are composed of staff from national parks and programs from across the country as well as partners from nonprofit organizations, foundations, other government agencies, local governments and universities. Through these partnerships, the Institute is able to collaborate at scale and address organizational needs faster and more systemically.

We believe that:

  • Illuminating outstanding practices and ideas from parks, programs, and partners around the country empowers sharing of innovation.
  • Proactive engagement with experts from within and outside of the National Park Service creates new, cutting-edge directions in our stewardship work.
  • Good processes deliver great outcomes — program analysis, organizational development, evaluation, and facilitation of effective stakeholder engagement bring ideas off the drawing board and into our parks and communities.

The institute applies principles of collaboration in all of its focus areas:

- Collaboration and Engagement

- Leadership for Change

- Research and Evaluation

A Focus on the Future

The Institute has served as a catalyst for the National Park Service's Call to Action on leading innovation. As part of this work, the Collaborative for Innovative Leadership emerged from a series of deep conversations related to NPS culure, leadership and collaboration. With the Institute providing a facilitation and communication "backbone," the informal Collaborative focuses on accelerating the spread of ideas, encouraging innovation, and inspiring peer-to-peer collaboration across the service.

Last updated: October 22, 2014