Erika S. Svendsen

CECE Collaborating Researcher, Social Scientist

Erika S. Svendsen is collaborting researcher with CECE and a social scientist with the USDA Forest Service. For over twenty years, Erika’s work has centered on the importance of local environmental stewardship and the co-creation of knowledge and capacity within communities.  Erika is a leader in the field of environmental stewardship, actively publishes and participates in a range of science-practice groups. She is co-author of Urban Environmental Stewardship and Civic Engagement:  How Planting Trees Strengthens the Roots of Democracy (with Dana R. Fisher and James Connolly, Routledge Press 2015).  She served on the US DOI Strategic Sciences Group in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and collaborated on one of the most highly requested government publications, Green Readiness, Response and Recovery: A Collaborative Synthesis.  She is a recipient of several interagency awards including a Forest Service Chief’s Award for engaging urban America, the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America for her teamwork on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership Program and an Early Career Scientist Award for the co-development of STEW-MAP, a tool to accelerate landscape-scale conservation by promoting equity, collaboration, and capacity-building among diverse stakeholders and stewardship groups.  STEW-MAP was featured at the Queens Museum and is now part of a permanent on-line exhibit, Who Takes Care of New York, at The Nature of Cities.   She is a founding member of the Urban Field Station Collaborative Arts Program.  Prior to the Forest Service, Erika was the Director of NYC Parks’ GreenThumb program and for The Rockefeller Foundation as an international environmental fellowship coordinator.  

Current Projects

• STEW-MAP Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (2023)

• Addressing Climate through Our National Service Corps (2023)

• Charting new pathways to achieving recognitional justice in urban greening (2023)


USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station

NYC Urban Field Station

Urban Field Station Collaborative Arts Program

CUNY Graduate Center Earth & Environmental Sciences Department