About Us

About Us

The Altai Project protects natural landscapes and wildlife and supports indigenous peoples and traditional lifeways in and around Russia and the 4-nation Greater Altai region that also includes Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and China through community collaborations and targeted campaigns.

We work to achieve our mission through financial support, strategic exchanges of expertise and technology, strengthening protected areas (including sacred sites), and amplifying the voices of frontline partners and experts through storytelling and advocacy.

We support conservation efforts, wildlife research and protection (snow leopards, raptors, Altai argali sheep), sustainable ecotourism development, protection of sacred lands and traditional and spiritual lifeways, and careful renewable energy infrastructure development.

Throughout our programs, we engage with indigenous peoples. Not only do we support their efforts to manage their traditional natural territories, we believe they hold a key to living in balance with nature—a key that must not be lost. Protection of sacred lands and strengthening traditional knowledge are priorities.

In collaboration with other international nonprofits, we support and participate in activism to prevent or mitigate potentially destructive development projects such as the proposed Power of Siberia 2 ("Altai") gas pipeline to China across the fragile Ukok Plateau and various mining projects. Our partners are trusted frontline groups that volunteer considerable time and energy toward such causes.

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Why Altai?

The Greater Altai Ecoregion is of global importance. Within that system, Russia’s Altai Republic is linked with Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia.

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Our History

Throughout 17+ years of its existence, The Altai Project has constantly refined and adjusted its work to protect nature and strengthen communities in Altai.

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Meet The Director

Jennifer Castner, the director of The Altai Project, is fluent in Russian and has traveled extensively in Siberia, the Russian Far East, Ukraine and Europe.

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We are a project of Earth Island Institute (EII). Earth Island Institute is a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that supports people who are creating solutions to protect our shared planet.

Earth Island Institute develops and supports projects that counteract threats to the biological and cultural diversity that sustain the environment. Through education and activism, these projects promote the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the Earth.

Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David R. Brower as an innovative solution to this dilemma. Rather than create dozens of separate non-profit groups with the same basic administrative needs, Earth Island acts as an umbrella organization, providing individual projects with the freedom to develop new initiatives by offering a wide range of professional services, from fiscal administration and program management to office space and equipment.

Earth Island's Project Network consists of more than 60 projects worldwide (see the Project Directory for program and contact information).

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