Community-Engaged Research in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
Connecting Cornell students with indigenous students in Southern India as they research land use and health issues.
Nearly 16 percent of the 1.2 million people living in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of Southern India are members of indigenous groups who are among the region’s most marginalized communities. Five years ago, faculty from four colleges at Cornell began collaborating with the Keystone Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that has focused for 20 years on environmental conservation and economic development in partnership with indigenous forest-dwelling communities of the region. Since 2015, groups of Cornell students have traveled to the region to spend a semester at the Nilgiris Field Learning Center, engaging in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of sustainable development and conducting research on one of six projects: community wellness, land-use governance, water and waste, dietary diversity, infant feeding and wildlife management. Cornell students partner with students from indigenous communities in cross-cultural teams, and, at the end of each semester, they share results of their research with indigenous community members and local government leaders.
Topics: Energy, Environment and Sustainability; Health, Nutrition and Medicine
Neema Kudva, Department of City and Regional Planning
College of Architecture, Art and Planning
Rebecca Stoltzfus, Division of Nutritional Sciences
College of Human Ecology
Andrew Willford, Department of Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences
Steven Wolf, Department of Natural Resources
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Community partner: Keystone Foundation
In the News
APRIL 29, 2019
Cornell University students get to know of tribal way of life
– The Hindu
JUNE 5, 2018
Podcast looks at planning for climate change
– Cornell Chronicle
Engaged Undergraduate Research Grants
Expanding the number of students involved in emerging or established community-engaged research.