chapter  5
24 Pages

Tangled roots: how volunteer stewards intertwine local environmental stewardship and democratic citizenship

Based on the analyses we presented in Chapters 3 and 4, it is clear that the volunteer environmental stewards involved in the 2010 MillionTreesNYC tree planting events provide a clear example of the ways that Americans in cities are not isolated individuals, but are rather digging together, making lasting connections to improve their communities. As we have discussed in the previous chapters, the stewards we surveyed are representative of a larger landscape of volunteering in the United States. Our respondents tended to be relatively young and politically liberal, and a majority of them were White and female. When we compare across those volunteers who are highly educated, our sample of volunteer stewards is relatively diverse. To restate, when we control for education, minorities are over-represented to a greater degree than Whites relative to the New York City population. These demographics-majority White and female with class-based divides among minorities-are representative of trends seen in all types of volunteer activities and have been discussed in detail in the extant literature (see, particularly, Schlozman et al. 2012).