What We Do


Pendleton Community Care - In 1981, TMI conducted a countywide survey to determine the most pressing needs of Pendleton County, WV - where the Appalachia Program is still based today. The greatest need expressed was for greater access to health care. By July 1,1982 the clinic was incorporated in the county seat of Franklin as a not-for-profit organization. It opened for business Oct. 1.

Appalachian Watershed & Stream Monitors - This watershed assessment and stream sampling training, education and community service program has trained dozens of teachers and thousands of students since 2005.

Mountaineer Food Bank - Founded by TMI in 1981, the Mountaineer Food Bank works to alleviate hunger in West Virginia. It is the state's largest supplier of food and personal products for people in need of emergency assistance, serving over 500 programs in 48 counties in West Virginia.

West Virginia Scholars Academy  - TMI raised West Virginia's college going rate from 49th to 46th in the nation with the Scholars Academy. From the early 1980s to the early 2000s, bright and promising high school students from throughout the state came to the Spruce Knob Mountain Center for a summer enrichment program that would help to prepare them for college and the life beyond. The program is now known as the Governor's Schools of West Virginia and is currently run by the WV Department of Education and the Arts.

Community Watershed Co-Management for a Safe Water Supply - This project ensures clean and safe water supply for Shangri-la Town, Yunnan, China, by facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration for improved reservoir watershed management.

Pasturelands to Profits - This project links nomadic Tibetan herder families with more profitable markets while ensuring the sustainability of the grasslands. Community-based rangeland managment pilot activities have reduced livestock mortality by more than 60%, which has more than doubled the number of livestock each household can sell.

Exchanges and Study Tours - Since its inception The Mountain Institute has promoted the exchange of ideas and learning between mountain communities across the globe. We have conducted exchanges between Tibetans and Peruvians, Nepalis and Chinese, Indians and Nepalis, Tibetans and Americans, and West Virginians with North Carolinians.

Vicos Living Memory - Under the leadership of The Mountain Institute, a pilot initative was started in 2003 to repatriate documentary and photographic materials to the Andean community of Vicos. These documents were produced by the Peru-Cornell project, the first worldwide project to test notions such as "community development" and "green revolutions" in the late 1940s. 

Highland-Lowlands Networks for Climate Change Adaptation - Implemented in Rio Santa watershed, a complex geographic area one third the size of Switzerland, this project was launched in 2007 to gather information on local perceptions of climate change impacts in the world's largest collection of tropical glaciers.

Remote Mountain Area Climate Change Research Initative - This project will develop community surveys and a data analysis methodology that will increase our understanding of mountain people's perceptions, threats, current adaptations, and needs regarding climate change.

Cordillera Blanca: A Unique Landscape Explained - In partnership with geographers from University of Amsterdam's Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), The Mountain Institute produced a 200-page field guide in 2007-2008 to create awareness about the geo-ecology of this fragile landscape and the increased threat of natural hazards due to climate change.

Case Studies - The Mountain Institute recently completed two case studies concerned with conflict in mountain communities in Nepal and Peru.  1) "An Analysis of NGO Service Delivery Capacities in Nepal During Times of Conflict and Uncertanity," and 2) "Private Sector and Local Community Relationships: the Role of PVOs and Local NGOs in Promoting Democracy, Conservation and Sustainability in Peru."

Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) Training Center - The Mountain Institute is establishing a multi-purpose training center in the Thame Valley of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park. This center will provide much-needed vocational training to poor and disadvantaged groups in the less-visited areas of the park.

Blister Swamp Conservation and Restoration Project - This project commenced in 1999 to protect and monitor change in 150 acres of unique, privately-owned wetland habitat in the highlands of West Virginia. Long-term conservation in the area has been ensured through partner and private landowner agreements.

Beyuls: Sacred Hidden Valleys of the Himalaya - Beyuls (sacred valleys) are unique to the Himalayan Region and to the followers of the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Nyingmas believe that many Himalayan valleys provide refuge to people in need.

Cultural Revival of Andean Traditional Textiles - Weaving traditions in the Andes are thousands of years old and of high quality in many places. A pilot project was launched in 1998 to support family groups in two communities of the Huaripampa region to recover an almost-lost weaving tradition as a way to create new income opportunities for their communities.

Nixi Artisan Initative - The Mountain Institute has focused on the Tibetan handicraft industry in Yunnan Province of China, specifically on developing and preserving Nixi Black Pottery. According to archaelogical evidence, the black pottery from Nixi is an ancient local tradition dating back at least 2,000 years.

Community Participation in the Expenditure of Public and Private Funds From Mining South - Following the largest investment of public and private funds that has been made available to mountain communities in the 186 years of republican history in Peru, there remains a lack of understanding of community perspectives and priorities on how these funds should be invested to achieve logical goals and sustainable development.

Transboundary Cooperation in Khangchendzonga - The Khangchendzonga area of Nepal and Sikkim (India) is a global biodiversity hotspot.  The Mountain Institute has coordinated transboundary, landscape-level conservation efforts in this area.