Where We Work
Himalayas, Andes, Appalachians and BeyondThe Mountain Institute (TMI) works hand-in-hand with remote mountain communities to address their most critical challenges. Our work revolves around three central themes: conservation of mountain ecosystems, sustainable economic development and support for unique mountain cultures. Since our founding in 1972, we have listened to the people who know mountains best — those who live there — and have worked closely with them to identify and implement solutions to improve their livelihoods and the health of their environments. The Mountain Institute works with academic and technical experts while also partnering with government and development agencies. Our programs now reach more than half a million people each year. Approaches TMI has developed have spread to mountainous countries around the world.
Since 1996 The Mountain Institute has worked in the world’s longest mountain range. Our inclusive approach bridges sustainable development, modern science and traditional knowledge. We help Andean communities become more resilient as they adapt to climate hange. As partners, we create more sustainable mountain economies while protecting ancient cultures and fragile ecosystems.
The world’s oldest mountains were our starting point–The Mountain Institute was founded at Spruce Knob, West Virginia in 1972. Since that time our focus in the Appalachians has been to inspire the next generation of mountain stewards. Our range of experiential learning courses build awareness of the complex interactions between community, culture, and ecosystem conservation.
Since the mid-1980s The Mountain Institute has worked in the world’s highest mountains, strengthening communities and helping them become more resilient in the face of climate change. From glacial lake monitoring and establishing protected areas to training farmers and restoring ancient monestaries, we have pioneered approaches in the Himalayas that have been used successfully in mountainous regions worldwide.
In the Western USA we are working with indigenous peoples seeking to preserve ancient traditions while protecting their sacred land. Our collaborative approach enables productive relationships with government agencies and other stakeholders. We strive to integrate the perspectives of Native Americans while also reinvigorating traditional practices at culturally important sites.
Not enough is being done on a global scale to protect mountain environments and support mountain communities. Perhaps due to their remoteness and seemingly immutable nature, mountains do not receive the attention they deserve given their essential role in providing water for billions and regulating the world’s climate. The Mountain Institute is playing an active role to ensure that mountain peoples, cultures and ecosystems are recognized in the global sustainable development policy agenda.