Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants

Community-Engaged Research in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

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.

The Team

  • 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

Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants

Expanding the number of students involved in established community-engaged research.

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