Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s actual name is The Ellen DeGeneres Campus, and was opened in February 2022. The Ellen Fund was established to assist in the establishment of a permanent home for the Dian Fossey Fund.
The Fossey Fund has been working for 55 years to help protect wild gorilla populations and to support the people who share the forest with gorillas. Dian Fossey set up two tents in the jungle in 1967, and the rest is history. We evolved from one person to a staff of over 300 people throughout the years. We used to operate in a rented location with only one classroom and a kitchen turned into a laboratory, far from the gorilla habitat and adjacent towns.
The main reason for the construction of the facility was to create a place that could accommodate the organization’s expanding personnel and workload. As they celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2018, the Fossey Fund leaders took a strategic choice to go forward with a 20-year dream to build a purpose-built centre in Rwanda to accelerate scientific and conservation activities while on Rwanda Tours.
The Fossey Fund got a lead contribution from worldwide celebrity Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, within months of this choice. Since then, hundreds of contributors, large and small, have contributed to fund the project and build a cutting-edge research and learning centre – the Fossey Funds’ first permanent home in Rwanda. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus will open in February 2022.
About the Ellen DeGeneres Campus.
The multi-acre eco-friendly facility, which is adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, 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 facility represents the Fossey Fund’s objective to maintain and reduce its environmental effect through rainwater collecting, green roofing, restoration of former agricultural land, and a created wetland to treat wastewater and enhance biodiversity. The project represented a $15 million investment in the Rwandan economy and created 2,400 construction employment for local residents.
The Ellen Campus will serve as a conservation gateway for the numerous stakeholders with whom we collaborate, assisting in the development of the next generation of conservationists.
Science is central to all we do at the Fossey Fund. The Sandy and Harold Price Research Center is a cutting-edge facility dedicated to furthering our research in areas like as genetics, physiology, and palaeontology. The fivefold expansion in lab capacity will create additional options for collaboration with scientific colleagues and students, as well as greater training opportunities for young African conservationists.
The Ellen Campus represents a significant increase in teaching and laboratory space, allowing the institute to not only expand but also transform programmes to study gorillas and critical forest habitat, as well as provide educational opportunities to early career African scientists and members of the local community, Explore Rwanda Tours.
Education is vital to the Ellen Campus goal. Increased classroom space, together with a science library and computer lab, will improve teaching possibilities with local and foreign colleges, as well as allow the institute to hold conferences, seminars, and trainings. However, the educational opportunities go beyond the classroom—in fact, the entire Ellen Campus will be used as a teaching instrument. The more than 250,000 native plants that make up the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Interpretive Trails, for example, will provide a fascinating experience for field excursions.
The Cindy Broder Conservation Gallery also has an interactive public display that tells the tale of mountain gorilla studies and conservation from Dian’s time to the present. It features never-before-seen artefacts from Dian Fossey’s nearly two decades with the gorillas, stunning visual experiences such as virtual and augmented reality and a 360-degree immersive theatre, and numerous engaging edutainment opportunities to learn more about the science and people behind mountain gorilla conservation success.
In Conclusion; visitors to the Ellen Campus can always make a contribution to the Dian Fossey Fund in support of their conservation efforts towards protecting the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.