Facilities

Inside the McCormack lab building. Photo courtesy of MWF.
Inside the McCormack lab building. Photo courtesy of MWF.

Research

The Mpala Research Centre has housing and laboratory space for 30 researchers and students. The McCormack lab building and the NSF lab building are the main facilities for research.

Mpala provides:

  • Laboratory space with basic equipment for DNA analysis, microscopic examinations, analytical chemistry, computer facilities, freezer space, a "screenhouse" for potted plant experiments, a herbarium/specimen collection, field specimen holding space, and offices.
  • Clean water and electricity (both 110v and 240v) are available in the labs on a 24-hour basis.

The Graham Library provides a comfortable reading and working area with some basic guide books to birds and mammals and reference books on ecology and conservation. There are also back copies of select African journals.

A lecture and meeting hall with a 60 seat capacity is attached to the Graham Library and is equipped with LCD powerpoint, slide, and overhead projectors.

Mpala also provides:
  • Current Contents on CD ROM, with journal abstracts in ecology, conservation and environmental sciences (about 1500 journals) from 1996-2004.
  • Print and electronic versions of publications by Mpala Researchers
Mpala dormitories. Photo courtesy of MWF.Mpala dormitories. Photo courtesy of MWF.
Mpala dormitories. Photos courtesy of MWF.

Accomodation

The Mpala Research Centre provides comfortable accommodation in 11 one-room rondavals (bandas), a 2-room dormitory that accommodates 14, a Princeton-funded dormitory that accomodates 12 researchers in 6 twin-sharing rooms, and 4 two-bedroom houses. There is a communal dining hall and outdoor eating areas.

The Levinson Gym

Thanks to a generous contribution from Dr. Frank Levinson, Mpala now has its own gym. The Levinson gym is well-kitted with an assortment of equipment to make your heart pound and muscles ache. But this is not your ordinary gym. An astronomer and physicist by training and philanthropist by heart, Frank is passionate about green construction. He insisted that the building be as much an experiment in green design as a functional gym. The new, half-walled structure has a big underground cistern for rainwater catchment and storage, solar powered electricity and hot water, low-flush toilets and low-use shower heads on timers. Over the summer, engineering students from University of Michigan and Princeton University will rig ways for gym - goers to produce energy or pump rainwater from the cistern as they exercise.

Inside the Levinson gym. Photo courtesy of MWF.
Inside the Levinson gym. Photo courtesy of MWF.

Other Resources

Additional infrastructure includes administration offices, a GIS facility, kitchens, storage, laundry, workshop, garage (selling gasoline and diesel fuel), and a staff village.

Electrical generators operate at 200-250 Volts from 6:30am to 9:30am, and from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Power at 240V and 110V is available on a 24hr basis in the labs and offices. Hot water is available in morning and evening hours. Fax, phone and email communications are available 24 hours a day. Internal communications exist in the form of a VHF radio network.

Ewaso Ng'iro River Camp

The Ewaso Ng'iro River CampThe Ewaso Ng'iro River Camp
The Ewaso Ng'iro River Camp

Mpala runs a tented camp located 4 km from the research centre along the Ewaso Ng'iro River. The camp regularly hosts field courses for undergraduate students from American, Canadian and European Universities as well as international groups brought in by the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) and conservation workshops for Kenyan professionals.

The camp has 16 fully furnished sleeping tents with single and double accomodation, blocks of showers and toilets and a large combination mess and lecture tent which can seat 50 people. All tents are mounted on concrete platforms with comfortable verandas that overlook the Ewaso Ng'iro River. Mpala provides generator power to supply electricity for lighting and projectors and we enable campers to charge computers and other battery operated items.

Services

Additional facilities and services offered to researchers include:

  • Access to a natural savanna habitat for both small and large-scale ecological experimentations at local, landscape and regional levels.
  • Assistance with acquiring research clearance, pupil's pass and export permits from the Kenya Government.
  • Experienced local guides/assistants for hire.
  • Access to laboratory, library services and Mpala databases

A list of costs associated with use of the Centre may be found here.