Seriously digging: why engaged stewards are different and why it matters
In Chapter 3, we analyzed the volunteer stewards in aggregate to understand who they are as a group. To recap, the volunteers who participated in the MillionTreesNYC tree planting events were statistically signifi cantly more civically engaged than the American population as a whole. They also showed trends toward greater civic engagement than the population of New York City. Moreover, we found that they were embedded in personal and organizational social networks that mobilized them to participate in this specifi c form of environmental stewardship. As with other types of volunteering, the environmental stewards in our study tended to be highly educated White women. But also like other types of volunteering, when we control for class-based variables, such as educational attainment, we see higher rates of participation among racial and ethnic minorities than the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012) would lead us to expect. This chapter examines the characteristics of the volunteer stewards that we discussed in Chapter 3 in more detail. In particular, we look at the variations in levels of stewardship to understand volunteer commitment more specifi cally.