“Value Addition, Livelihood,
Occupation, Water Security,
Trust, Bubble of ideas,
Energy, Opportunity, Unity,
Inspiring, Diversity,

These are some of the words used to describe Keystone Foundation if you ask the people who are engaged as staff, volunteers and community resource people. The organisation on the hill has for many become a second home as well as an incubator for growth and personal development through the various types of work that is being carried out within the multidimensional office. Many employees and volunteers descend from the plains and mountains surrounding the terracotta-coloured buildings, and by working with Keystone they can give back to their own communities as well as honing their professional careers.

Besides attracting the local interest and building capacity in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, Keystone is involved in many national and international networks, bringing issues concerning indigenous rights and wellbeing as well as matters of ecological concern to the table. Constantly developing, learning and adapting, aspiring to be cutting edge but still tied to its roots, Keystone bridges traditional knowledge with the modern world.

Keystone has now been thriving and expanding in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve for 25 years, living up to its name by becoming a keystone-actor for the development of the region.

– We have dreamed big and we have dreamed to be bold. Celebrating 25 years, we have shown that we have achieved something. The community is owning it, the people are owning it, and that is the sort of a model we can take to the rest of India and the rest of the world, says one of the founders Pratim Roy.

To highlight this quarter of a century’s dedicated work, Keystone is embarking on a festive year, starting with the launch of the new website. Throughout the year there will be multiple occasions to celebrate and we invite all of you to join in the festivities!


February: Water Festival

March: Indigenous Women’s Day

April: Nilgiri Lecture Series

May: World Bee Day

August: Indigenous People’s Day

November: Keystone’s Birthday



The Journey of Keystone 25 years

25 facts about KEYSTONE!

  1. The name comes from the term keystone-species, one that is crucial for an ecosystem and provides opportunities for other associated beings to grow and evolve.
  2. Keystone has developed a Gaur’ app for smartphone to track human wildlife interactions
  3. Keystone opened its first Green Shop in Kotagiri year 1996
  4. Keystone started  its work in Nilgiris with mapping out honeyhunting
  5. The founders - Snehlata, Pratim and Mathew have known each other since 1989.
  6. Keystone has published more than 17 books and booklets.
  7. 50 people work at Keystone
  8. Keystone runs the first community radio station in the Nilgiris and an  indigenous peoples’ newspaper
  9. The first office opened up in Pondicherry in 1993
  10. Keystone Foundation received the Guinness World Record certificate for participating in the record for most trees (42,182) planted in one day, along with the District Administration and the people of the Nilgiris on the 24th of June in 2002.
  11. Atleast 13 languages are spoken at Keystones Campus
  12. Keystone has a monthly newsletter
  13. Keystone has established and is running 7 resource centers
  14. Keystone moved into its campus in 2000, where the first building was known as the Shrishti.
  15. The Keystone mantra is “small is effective/small is global”
  16. Keystone founded the Nilgiris Natural History Society (NNHS) in 2010
  17. Keystone founded the Last Forest Enterprises in 2010
  18. Before the founders came to Nilgiris they worked on honey gathering with the Paliyan adivasi community in the Palni Hills during 1990-1993
  19. The murals seen around the campus are made by Kurumba-artists.
  20. Buildings in the campus are made using Rammed earth technology
  21. The Keystone canteen cooks both breakfast, lunch and dinner if needed
  22. The bird in the Keystone logo is a woodpecker
  23. On campus there is accommodation-space enough for 24 people - used for visitors and course-participants
  24.  In 2010, the Save Western Ghats movement meeting was held at the Keystone Campus, where the Minister of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India announced the formation of the Western Ghats Expert Panel.
  25. Founder Snehlata Nath, was in 2013 given the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards award for outstanding contribution in the field of Science and Technology for Rural Development




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