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Mountain Institute

The Mountain Institute, a nonprofit conservation group, was founded in West Virginia in 1972 as the Woodlands Institute. The current name was adopted in 1995 to reflect more accurately the organization’s interests. The institute, founded by Daniel Taylor-Ide and King Seeger, is now headquartered in Washington. The main goal of the Mountain Institute is to preserve mountain cultures and environments worldwide. The institute has programs in three mountain ranges: the Andes of South America, the Himalayas of Asia, and the Appalachians of North America. Programs vary in the different regions, but the underlying focus is to help local people determine and carry out conservation programs appropriate for their communities.

The Appalachian program is centered in West Virginia at a 400-acre teaching campus and natural botanical area located on the upper slopes of Spruce Knob. The Spruce Knob Mountain Center is used for educational programs, conferences, and ecological research. During the summer, the institute offers a camp for teenagers who get the chance to participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, whitewater rafting, and climbing.

Written by Amy Donaldson Arnold