After more than two years of construction works, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus aimed at promoting gorilla conservation in Rwanda is now officially open for visiting.
The Ellen Campus, which opened to the public in February 2022, is the vision of the award-winning MASS Design Group and has been named one of Africa’s 10 most anticipated architectural projects in 2020.
“Our new home will serve as a gateway to gorilla conservation, and we are excited to be working out of this new amazing space and welcoming visitors,” the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund said.
The campus, a joint venture with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation, located in Musanze district- Rwanda’s home of mountain gorillas, is a multi-acre, eco-friendly facility adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park.
It includes three main buildings—the Sandy and Harold Price Research Center, the Rob and Melani Walton Education Center, and the Cindy Broder Conservation Gallery—as well as housing for visiting students and researchers.
“The Ellen Campus will serve as a gateway to conservation for the many stakeholders with whom we work, helping to create the next generation of conservationists,” the Fossey foundation said.
“With science at the top of the campus, the Sandy and Harold Price Research Center is a state-of-the-art facility aimed at advancing our research in areas like genetics, physiology and paleontology.”
The five-fold increase in lab space will provide new opportunities to work with scientific collaborators and students and provide more training opportunities to young African conservationists.
“The Ellen Campus represents a huge expansion of our teaching and laboratory spaces, enabling us to not just increase but transform our programs to study gorillas and their critical forest habitat and bring educational opportunities to early career African scientists and members of the local community,” said Felix Ndagijimana, director of Rwanda programs, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
The Campus’ Specialty
Built with locally sourced materials and supplies, the facility embodies Fossey Fund’s mission to conserve and limit its impact on the environment through rainwater harvesting, green roofs, the reforestation of former agricultural land and a constructed wetland to treat wastewater and promote biodiversity.
The construction invested more than $14 million in the Rwandan economy and provided employment for 2,310 local community members.
“Dian Fossey has always been a hero of mine, and so it’s been the honor of a lifetime to support this project. To see my name alongside hers on the walls of this beautiful campus, and to know I’m doing my part to protect endangered gorillas and continue Dian’s legacy, is simply amazing,” said Ellen DeGeneres.