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Our Ellen DeGeneres Campus: Celebrating one year in our favorite place

News flash
Our Ellen DeGeneres Campus has just been named one of the 2023 “Works of Wonder” by Architectural Digest magazine. Congratulations to the incredible MASS Design Group for helping us create such an impressive and unique place for our conservation work!

We have much to celebrate as we reach the first anniversary of our incredible Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Rwanda, which is the first purpose-built, state-of-the-art home for the Fossey Fund’s research, education and other conservation programs, and for local communities, students, conservation partners and visitors from around the world.

More than 25,000 people have now visited the campus, including 5,500 local school students. We’ve hosted more than 300 local university science students and held more than 40 trainings and workshops for young scientists, local leaders, and women’s groups. It’s been an amazing year for all those who’ve been to this magnificent multi-acre facility, nestled next to Volcanoes National Park.

And, of course, our own staff are thoroughly enjoying their new spaces on campus too, including laboratories, classrooms, meeting rooms, outdoor trails and the magnificent views. Here are some of our staff’s favorite places on campus:

The Cindy Broder Conservation Gallery:
“This gallery is my favorite place on campus because through the various sections in this building, like our gorilla “hall of fame,” interactive experiences like our theater and virtual reality, guests are able to learn about gorillas and the amazing work that our organization does to protect them. We’ve welcomed 25,000 visitors so far, with 50% of them from Rwanda. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has visited us and supported us. We look forward to welcoming more of you very soon!”
Kadiara King’ai, manager of the Cindy Broder Conservation Gallery

The Diane and Hal Brierley Virunga Overlook:
“I love this campus. My favorite place is the Virunga Overlook, for many reasons, but first because you can see the entire campus and the landscape. You can also see the forest, where the mountain gorillas live and where Dian Fossey lived and worked. I come here to re-energize and experience the beauty of the campus and the park.”
Felix Ndagijimana, Fossey Fund director of Rwanda programs

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Interpretive Trail throughout the campus:
“We find many species on these biodiversity trails, such as birds, plants, frogs and butterflies, and we use them for training students in species identification and in designing research projects. Visitors also love seeing these species and the beautiful nature on our trails, as the wildlife here continues to grow and return.”
Deogratias Tuyisingize, Ph.D., Fossey Fund biodiversity research program manager

The classrooms in the Rob and Melani Walton Education Center:
“The campus is amazing in general, but my favorite spots are the classrooms. They are incredible for hosting our various conservation education activities – they are big enough to host a large audience and have the great equipment needed to carry out our programs on campus.”
Maurice Ngiramahoro, Fossey Fund conservation education officer

The laboratories in the Sandy and Harold Price Research Center:
“The labs we work in are like magical places because here we are able to reveal secrets about the gorillas that we would not be able to know from just watching them in the field. For example, from gorilla poop samples we can learn much about their health status and even analyze their DNA to determine who their ancestors are….”
Winnie Eckardt, Ph.D., Fossey Fund Rwanda research manager and Rose Umuhoza, lab coordinator

For more information on our Ellen Campus, click here.