Crash Course: Stewardship

I come from an easement stewardship background, where all day every day was devoted to monitoring and tracking requests, violations, and inquiries from over 300 easements across the state.  In Landscape terms, this means I would have spent most of my time in Stewardship Sites.

I think of a Stewardship Site as the hangout spot for everything associated with managing a property.  While you still have access to the property details (recording information, appraisal amounts, etc.), this is where future stewards will look when they need to know the code for the gate, or how many requests and approvals had been granted, or the dates of past monitoring visits.  Tracking the history associated with easement ownership, or management actions if it's a fee land, is absolutely vital to the integrity of your stewardship program.  A fully utilized Stewardship Site means that anyone could, with a few clicks, understand the complete history of a property. 

Also, as we go through, be aware that not every organization will utilize every aspect of a Stewardship Site in exactly the same way.  While the framework is built to encourage a smooth and steady workflow, it's up to you to decide the protocols for your organization and communicate those protocols internally.

Creating a Stewardship Site

All Stewardship Sites need to be associated with at least one Property.  Put another way: a Stewardship Site can't exist without a Property first.  A new Stewardship Site can be created by navigating to the Property (if you're going to use multiple properties, just pick one), and clicking on Add to Stewardship Site.  

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If you're creating a new site, choose 'New Site' and a Stewardship Site will be created that inherits the Property name.

If you'd like to add the Property to an existing Stewardship Site (say, if your organization purchased a Property abutting an existing preserve and you want to bundle all of the stewardship activities for that preserve together), begin typing in the box and it will automatically begin filtering through existing Stewardship Sites.  Select the correct Site and you're on your way.

Once it's been created, a Stewardship Site can then be accessed most easily by using the search bar in the upper right corner of the dashboard or through any view you've created which contains the site.

Stewardship Site Basics

There are five tabs that you can access through the Stewardship Site: Details, Work, Status, Use, and Documents.  In each tab, the button to add a new entry for any category looks like this:  Plus.JPG. As time goes by and entries pile up, it will be useful to be able to filter the results of any category.  Hover over a field name and look for the filter.JPG button to filter results.

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Details

Details holds all of the Stewardship Site basics.  Directions to the site (we all know addresses aren't enough sometimes), access instructions (the all important gate code, warnings about the neighbor's dog, vehicle requirements, etc.), as well as a description of the property (pro tip: this can be copied directly from the Baseline Documentation Report if you have one).  

Further down the page you'll see the Property summary, taken directly from the property page.  If there are multiple Properties associated with the Stewardship Site, then you'll see a brief overview of all of them.  So depending on the structure of your Stewardship Site, the Properties section will either look like this:

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Or this:

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There can even be multiple Stewardship Sites associated with the same property (but not the same parcel).  For example, if an easement is subdivided and a parcel is transferred to a neighbor who already has properties under easement with your organization.

Obligations is a place for your organization to keep track of Stewardship obligations like Monitoring and Management Plans.  There's a lot to unpack in this section, so it's best left for a follow-up article.  By default, all easements come with a monitoring obligation.  

Communications is a handy spot to keep the details of any communications associated with the property.  This could be where you track anything from pre-monitoring visit communications to summaries of conversations with neighbors.  Pressing the (+) will add a new communication.  Once you fill out the basic details, you can click the edit button on the side to add further details and attach any documents associated with the communication.

A quick note on Communications:  As a way of ensuring that important communications to individuals don't get missed or duplicated, Landscape looks at the Active Contacts for the Stewardship Site and displays any communications associated with that individual under Communications, including those associated with other Stewardship Sites.  If you only want to view the communications associated with the Stewardship Site you're on, click the filter.JPG button.  

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Work

This is a very important tab, with a lot of components, so we're going to spend a little extra time on it.

When staff or volunteers spend time on a property -- pulling invasive weeds as a work day, completing a baseline documentation report, or conducting a monitoring visit -- that information can get recorded here.  

Site Visits are a way of tracking any staff or volunteer time devoted to a Stewardship Site.  Adding a new site visit prompts you to choose the site visit type.  If the type of site visit isn't captured by these out-of-the-box options, then you can always change the contents of the drop down in the 'List Options' tab in Settings.

Once a type is chosen, you can fill out the basic details of the site visit, including Personnel (for tracking hours associated with various activities), Expenses, Documents, and Notes.  Let's set aside the final section for a moment and jump to the next section of the Site Visit page, Site Visit Form Library.

Site Visit Form Library displays all of the forms that you've selected to be associated with that Stewardship Site.  You can either create a completely customized form for a property, or choose to grab a form from the global form library (accessed via Settings --> Work tab --> Forms).  These forms can then be automatically associated with a type of site visit.  This is not where you fill out any forms (you do that when you add a Site Visit), it's only a spot to store your templates for the Stewardship Site.  A Site Visit Form template only needs to be added to a Stewardship Site once to be used in a site visit entry.  

Let's use a couple of examples to make sure we understand this (we're going to breeze past the process of actually making a form and using the Landscape Mobile App for now and just focus on the basics).

Example 1:  You're planning on conducting your annual monitoring visit to a conservation easement.

Step 1 (you'll only need to do this one time):  Since, presumably, you'll be doing a lot of these, you've created a Monitoring Visit Form and stored it in the global form library, so it's ready to be accessed by your Stewardship Site.  Add a new Site Visit Form to your Site Visit Form Library using the (+) button, set the type as annual monitoring, give your form a name, and set 'Using Library Form' to 'Monitoring Visit Form' (this is referencing the global form library).  You'll see the Monitoring Form you created appear. 

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Step 2 (for each visit): Add a new Site Visit.  You'll be prompted to choose the site visit type. Select 'Annual Monitoring Visit'.  Since you set the 'Site Visit Type' of the Site Visit Form to 'Annual Monitoring' in Step 1, the form will automatically appear at the bottom of the page under Form Questions.  You can then fill it out.  In the Personnel field, start typing the personnel's name to generate a drop down list and select the right individual.  Press the Back (←) button to save the Site Visit and return to the Work tab.

Example 2: Let's say there's a property where, for whatever reason, you need to count all of the trees of certain species on the parcel every year.  You only do this on one property, but you do need to make sure it's done the same way every year.

Step 1:  Since this isn't a good candidate for the global form library (it's only done on one property) we can create a customized form in the Site Visit Form Library.  You create a new entry in Site Visit Form Library, and make it of the generic type 'Site Visit', which you've already added to the default list.  You then make a customized form in you Stewardship Site that looks something like this:  

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Beautiful.

Step 2:  Back at the Work tab, you create a new entry under 'Site Visits' and select 'Site Visit'.  Ta-da! Your custom form appears at the bottom of the page.  Since you created this form template in this Stewardship Site, it will be accessible to only this Stewardship Site.  If you create another entry for 'Site Visit' on another Stewardship Site's Work tab, it will be blank or will default to the global template for site visit (if you've created one).

Finally, remember that you might not always need to create or use a form.  Forms are there for you to use to make your organization's life easier, but if it's easier to just fill in the Site Visit details for certain activities, then go ahead!

 If you'd like to see a video on forms and site visits, click here.

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Status

The status field is for tracking requests, approvals, and issues (major, minor, suspected, and otherwise).

Press the (+) button on Issues or Rights & Approvals to enter a new item.  The Issues item is fairly straightforward, with fields for the date found, date reported, and date resolved, as well as a Notes field for capturing details of the process, and a Documents field for any associated emails, letters, plans, etc.

New Rights & Approvals entries are straightforward as well, however, you'll see that there's an 'Exercise Limit'.  This is to capture reserved rights with limits, such the maximum number of agricultural structures or houses allowed on a property.  Once an exercise limit is reached, a prompt will appear alerting the users that the landowner is about to exceed their maximum allowances.  

Stewardship staff can use the Rights and Approvals field to capture existing dormant rights OR only to track when those rights are exercised. 

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Use

Use has two items:  Structures & Uses, and Leases & Contracts.  

In addition to basic information like name, description, and date fields, adding a new Structure & Use allows you to track the maximum allowed area of a structure or use, and if a landowner is approaching or exceeding that use.  Enable the Max Area function by clicking 'Set Max Area' and entering a value. 

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When you add a new Structure & Use, set the fields 'Use in Max Surface Area' to 'Yes' and then enter the value (square footage of a house, for example).  The value you enter will automatically be subtracted from Max Area, and a message will appear alerting you if the value becomes negative.  You can only have one Max Area calculation per Stewardship Site.  

Leases & Contracts allows you to track leases and contracts associated with a stewardship site.  Creating a new Lease & Contract entry will allow you to enter details, associate a contact with the contract, track payment, and attach any documents or signed agreements.

Documents

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Finally, the Documents tab presents all the documents associated with the Stewardship Site in one convenient location.  This will also include any photos you took on the app and which have been synchronized.  Adding and removing isn't done from here, it's just a place to see everything.  

This will also show any documents associated with the Property that the Stewardship Site is associated with.

Click on the mceclip1.png to view the document, and note that selecting the check box will enable a few new options on the task bar, including enable for mobile app (downloads a copy of the document to your device) and setting permissions levels for sensitive documents

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DocumentsView2.jpg becomes this when a document is selected.

Well done!

You're well on your way to being a Landscape Stewardship Site expert.  Remember that Landscape is only as useful as you make it, and is most effective when treated as an integral part of your workflow.  As you're exploring, it can be very helpful to make test records and explore how certain functions work for yourself -- don't worry -- you won't break it! (and if you do we're just a few clicks away.)

The next level of functionality of Landscape is taking all of the data you enter for individual stewardship sites and prioritizing, quantifying, categorizing, and presenting it using views and reports.  Click here for an article on using views, or check out this video on project management with Landscape.

 

 

 

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