The campus of Ellen DeGeneres is now accessible to the public, four years after Portia de Rossi surprised her wife with the Ellen DeGeneres Fund on her 60th birthday episode of Ellen.
It’s a great opportunity for tourists and environmentalists alike to join the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s new Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Rwanda.
“As a longtime admirer of Dian Fossey’s work, it’s been an honour to provide my support to this initiative. To see my name next to Dian’s on these gorgeous campus walls, and to know that I’m helping to safeguard endangered gorillas and carry on Dian’s legacy, is truly an honour “In a statement, DeGeneres, 64, added.
To combat poaching and habitat devastation in Africa, the late Dian Fossey, who was famously depicted by Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist (1988), launched the fund in 1967.
The number of gorillas in the region has increased from “a group of 250 in the 1980s to more than 600 now,” thanks in part to the conservation efforts of Dian Fossey and her colleagues.
“The purpose of this initiative has always been to bring together a diverse group of conservationists – students, scientists, tourists, conservation partners, and members of the local community — in order to further our common goal of protecting gorillas and the Earth as a whole. As Dian Fossey did, we hope that those who visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus will be moved to action and motivated to make a difference “Fossey Fund president and chief scientific officer Dr Tara Stoinski made the remarks.
This is only the latest addition to the fund, which remains the world’s largest and longest-running institution devoted solely to gorilla conservation.
When it comes to the Fossey Fund’s Rwanda programmes, Felix Ndagijimana, the Fossey Fund director of Rwanda programmes, said, “The Ellen Campus represents a huge expansion of our teaching and laboratory spaces, enabling us to not just increase but transform our programmes to study gorillas and their critical forest habitat and bring educational opportunities to early-career African scientists and members of the local community.”
The multi-acre, eco-friendly facility was designed by MASS Design Group, which is located next to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. As a result, they’ve planted 250,000 native plants, erected green roofs, and engineered equipment specifically suited for water collecting and wastewater treatment via wetlands.
“As the Ellen Campus shows, new infrastructure can benefit conservation and the protection of species. Rwanda’s future conservationists will be inspired by this facility’s emphasis on using local labour, furnishings made by Rwandan artisans, and environmental preservation. It also sends a message to environmentalists around the world about innovative approaches to link ecosystems and communities “Founder and CEO of MASS Design Group, Michael Murphy, made the statement.
Even so, DeGeneres isn’t the only one who’s on board with this initiative. A 360-degree theatre named after Irmelin DiCaprio and a computer lab named after his father, George DiCaprio, have also been completed thanks to generous donors like Leonardo DiCaprio.
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In a recent interview with PEOPLE, de Rossi said, “I just want people to care.” It’s all we really want is for people to care about these amazing creatures and understand what it means for humanity to have them in the wild.
Starting on February 1st, the Ellen Campus will be available for private tours and will be open to the public.