Members of the Civic Ecology Lab apply social-ecological systems thinking to understanding learning, stewardship, and resilience in urban, stressed, and disaster-impacted communities. People who self-organize to reconnect with nature as a means of social change are our inspiration. They engage in community gardening, litter cleanups, habitat restoration, stewardship of neighborhood parks, and community forestry – all of which we refer to as civic ecology practices.
Through forming research partnerships with civic ecology stewards, we seek to understand what precipitates these practices as well as their meaning and outcomes for individuals, communities, the environment, governance, and social movements. Although these practices are small, we seek to understand their role in mitigation of, adaptation to, and transformation in the face of climate change. We apply the results of our scholarship to strengthen civic ecology practices and to build support for them among the academic, government, and non-profit sectors.