Put simply: A Property represents your organizations legal interest in the land, while a Stewardship Site is used to keep track of what you (and others) do with or on the land after it's acquired. Put another way, a Property can be thought of as the result of an individual project to protect a piece of land.
But why separate the two ideas?
If the ratio of Property : Stewardship Site was always 1 : 1, we wouldn't have to. But that isn't the case. Imagine we have one made up thing to track everything associated with a property, called an 'Interest'. What happens when that Interest is subdivided? Now you have to duplicate the information from the Interest to track it in two locations. And what if you want to track multiple Interests as the same Interest, like for a fee owned preserve which grows over time? How would you track the different parcels and histories that went into building that preserve if it's all lumped into one object? Dividing your original legal interest into a Property and your Stewardship activities into Stewardship Sites provides an elegant solution to the problem.
Here are some examples of common scenarios:
A conservation easement is acquired on a privately owned parcel of land. It abuts a fee owned preserve which is already owned by the land trust.
That easement, and all the paperwork that went along with the process of acquiring it, would get stored as Property information and assets. (How big is the parcel? When was it protected? Who's the grantor?)
Once the easement is recorded and you begin tracking what happens on the parcel, you would create a Stewardship Site to track monitoring visits, issues, reserved rights inquiries, etc.. The Stewardship Site for the easement remains separate from the abutting fee lands Stewardship Site, however, because they need to be monitored separately.
A parcel is acquired in fee, and then immediately transferred to another organization.
Even though your organization no longer has an interest in the property, you still want to have a record of that project. You would capture all of this information in a Property record, and change the interest to 'Disposed'. No Stewardship Site is created for the parcel, since you're not tracking any activities on it.
A conservation easement is acquired on a parcel. Years later, the easement is subdivided into 3 parcels (2 new owners).
The Property information is entered when the original project is complete, and a Stewardship Site is created to track monitoring visits and issues. When the easement is subdivided, 2 new parcels are created within the Property record, and the contact information and legal ownership is tracked through these parcels. 2 new Stewardship Sites are created for each of these new parcels. These new Stewardship Sites are where the new monitoring data lives.
A conservation easement is amended which adds 40 acres to an existing Property.
Track the process of amending the easement through the Property record assets. When the amended easement is recorded, it is filed under the property assets. You can update the acreage of the Property, or add a new parcel for the amended land and add it to the existing Stewardship Site.
No problem, we've got another article to help illustrate the idea.