Mpala facilitates and exemplifies sustainable human-wildlife co-existence and the advancement of human livelihoods and quality of life. We do this through education, outreach, and by developing science-based solutions to guide conservation actions for the benefit of nature and human welfare.
Mpala . . . A Living Laboratory
A Letter from the New Executive Director Dr. Dino J. Martins
Dear students, scientists, friends and the wider Mpala community,
I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been selected to serve as the director of the Mpala Research Centre. I thank the Search Committee, Board of Trustees, National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service, scientists and Laikipia community for their support and feedback during this process. This is a very exciting time to be a scientist in Kenya and I look forward to meeting, talking and exploring how we can work together to sustain, grow and celebrate science and education at Mpala.
Read the rest of Dino Martins' message in the Director's Corner.
Discovery Day 2014
With over 250 visitors and 21 incredible presentations, Mpala's fourth annual Discovery Day was a huge success!
Couldn't be there? View all of the presentations online at:
Or download them here:
Margaret Kinnaird, Introduction
Daniel Rubenstein, Laikipia Zebras: Interesting Tidbits and Why They Matter
Matt Snider: Hippos and River Ecosystems
Hilary Wayland: Plant-Water Interactions
Rob Pringle: What Cattle and Wildlife are Actually Eating
Corina Tarnita: Termite Mounds Can Prevent Desertification
Ryan Unks: Linking Landscape Ecology and Pastoralism: An Integrative Approach
Steve Ekwanga: Living with Lions: Recent Developments
Patrick Milligan: Cascade Effects of an Invasive Ant Species on Decomposers of the Laikipia Ecosystem
And look out for our next issue of the Mpala Memos for more photos from the day!
Mpala welcomes you to Mpala Live!, an interactive website featuring a round-the-clock view of the hippos, elephants, and other incredible species that frequent Hippo Pools. Experience Mpala with scientists as they study relationships among humans, animals, and ecosystems. Learn about the wildlife of Laikipia with a field guide featuring a wide range of species from aardvarks to zebras. In addition, the Mpala Live! classroom introduces teachers and students and parents and children to a unique curricula keyed to Mpala's flora and fauna.
Welcome, and enjoy!
Earlier this month, a student group from Goshen College (including 2 Kenyan students from U. of NBI and 2 students from Karatina U.) visited the Lekiji school to install rain gutters. This completes an earlier project that MRC started where a tank was provided on a cement slab for rainwater collection. Read more about the project here!
Mpala Research Centre's 20th Anniversary!
In 1994, the Mpala Research Centre was nothing more than a small idea born amongst colleagues and friends. Today, it is a world-renowned center that brings in researchers, professors, and students from countries all around the globe. Celebrate our 20th year with us with this month’s special edition of the Mpala Memos!
In this issue, researchers Truman Young, Dan Rubenstein, Ira Rubinoff, Laurence Frank, and Adam Ford reflect back on how far MRC has come in the past two decades, while MRC director Margaret Kinnaird looks to the future of the Research Centre. Learn about the major projects that have been a part of Mpala's history, and dive into the past with our Mpala Time Capsule. Also enjoy anecdotes from current Mpala researchers as they consider what it means to work, study, and explore on Mpala.
Get our newsletter here!
Save the Date!
July 5th, 2014 marks the next Community Conservation Day! Join our students, community members, and researchers as members of the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs share their knowledge of the environment through games, songs, and demonstrations. You can check out photos from last year's Community Conservation Day here.
We look forward to seeing you there!
This year the Mpala Research Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary! From humble beginnings in 1994 MRC has grown into a world-class ecological research centre that welcomes hundreds of researchers and students annually from around the globe. Our facilities have expanded tremendously over the years with a conscious eye for sustainability and a minimal ecological footprint. Our portfolio of projects includes studies that embrace new and exciting technologies that put MRC at the forefront of ecological advances, and has diversified in ways that allow MRC to contribute significantly to the conservation of Laikipia, Kenya and beyond. We hope that you will join us in celebrating how far we have come in the past two decades and our plans for the future. Keep an eye out for our special anniversary edition of the Mpala Memos this April!
Mpala Research Centre in 1994 [top] and today [bottom]
Happy 2014 from Mpala!
As the New Year begins, Mpala is already brimming with exciting new research! Our newest issue of the Mpala Memos brings you updates on everything from tiny ants to mighty lions - Follow our Lion Team out into the field as they collar their first lionesses on Mpala, learn about the havoc that invasive ants are wreaking on the ecosystem, and fly off into the future of research with Mpala’s new drones! Learn about our finicky hippos down at Hippo Pools, and catch up with the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs as they host their second annual teacher’s workshop. Finally, join us in congratulating Mpala student Alex Muriithi Gathoni on his scholarship, and discover what it means to be a part of the ‘Mpala Family’!
Read along here, and be sure to keep an eye out for our next issue, a celebration of Mpala’s 20th anniversary!
A Letter from the Director
'The world looks deceptively peaceful for those of us on Mpala. The air is clean and cool, the mountain looms clearly to the southeast. Elephants graze on the hills in front of the centre and plucky hornbills beg as usual at the dining hall. There is nothing obvious to reflect the horrors of the Westgate Mall tragedy that took so many lives last Saturday – less obvious is the pain in our hearts for those lost and the confusion in our minds over those who commit such acts.'
Read the rest of Margaret Kinnaird's message in the Director's Corner.
Women in Conservation Lecture Series
In our latest Women in Conservation Lecture Series, Elleni Stephanou and Michael Brown spoke to the young women of the Daraja Academy about researching Grevy's zebra, attaining a career in conservation, and pursuing your professional goals. Read more about Mpala's partnership with Daraja in the Mpala Memos!
Photos by Stefanie Siller
Community Conservation Day 2013
This month, we celebrated our 5th annual Community Conservation Day! On Saturday, July 20th, students, community members, and researchers gathered at Kimanjo Secondary School to enjoy presentations from the ten member schools of the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs. The students eagerly demonstrated what they have learned throughout the year about conservation and the environment with songs, poems, plays, and games. In addition, each school shared posters, dioramas, and a variety of other projects. More photos from the day can be found here.
Photos by Stefanie Siller
Take a look at Margaret Kinnaird's update in the Director's Corner. Margaret reflects on the changing cultural landscape of her home stat of Kentucky and how that parallels the changing economic and environmental landscape of Laikipia. Happy Reading!
May 4, 2013
Check out the updated Checklist of Birds of Laikipia County, Kenya. Of 1,133 species known to occur in Kenya, Laikipia county has records for 48% of the species! Take a look at the detailed list of flora and fauna found on Mpala here.
Left: A Red-billed hornbill. Right: A Pale-chanting goshawk.
March 14, 2013
Baboon Capture and Tracking: Check out the video!
Meg Crofoot and her team set out to capture and track individuals from one baboon family. To learn more about her project read her article in the July 2012 Mpala Memos and CLICK HERE to see the video.
We are excited to see the results!
Photo by Laura Budd.
December 18, 2012
Fall Outreach Update
This fall Mpala hosted four outreach events which reached 146 students!
-On September 18th, Daraja hosted the Women in Leadership Outreach Lecture. Everlyn Ndinda and Jen Guyton of the Hippopotamus and River Ecology Project presented a talk entitled "Multitasking in a Mulifaceted World: How women can play multiple roles in their careers and life." The 70 Daraja students asked many questions and enjoyed meeting researchers from Mpala.
-On October 5th, members of Daraja's Grassroot Girls visited Mpala Primary School to lead activities that encouraged academic goals and confidence.
-On October 13th, Mpala welcomed 27 Daraja students for a Mpala Mentorship Connection Day, where the students went to the field with researchers to learn about their experiments.
-On October 27th, Shiloh Naibor Primary School's Conservation Club visited Mpala to discover and observe the landscape and wildlife they learn about in the clubs. For many, the day included their first hippo sighting! Lacey Hughey and Jen Guyton answered many questions about their experiment and hippos as the students continued to watch the hippos.
Below are pictures from October 13th's Mpala Mentorship Connection Day. Elyse DeFranco and Toby Mackinen of UHURU and Serena Zhao of the Rodent Ecoimmunology Project introduced Daraja students to the UHURU plots and the process of trapping and identifying rodents.
Check out the Mpala Memos for more on Mpala's outreach!
July 14, 2012
Community Conservation Day 2012
On Saturday, July 14th over 500 students gathered for our 4th annual Community Conservation Day at Il Motiok Primary School. The seven member schools of of Mpala's Northern Kenya Conservation Club gathered to demonstrate to their communities what they'd learned in the conservation clubs throughout the past year. Each school's conservation club presented poems, plays, or games to illustrate important ecological concepts they had learned. In addition, winners of an essay contest, club logo contests, and scholarship recepients were announced.
May 26, 2012
Discovery Day 2012
Last Saturday Mpala hosted its 3rd Discovery Day. Our neighbors, local community members, students, staff, and researchers all gathered at Mpala Research Centre for a day of learning and fun. A number of our researchers presented on their work and answered questions about their research. We enjoyed performances by students from Mpala School's Conservation Club and Daraja Academy. It was a great day and we had fun hosting everyone at Mpala!
May 17, 2012
Introducing Alakara, Mpala's new Women's Art Collective
Alakara (meaning happiness in Turkana) is Mpala Research Centre’s own newly formed women’s art collective. Bridging traditional beading skills with a fresh vision for unique jewelry and keepsakes, Alakara shares the bright colors of Kenya with visitors to MRC. Visit our display case (located in the Dining Hall) to view our newest products, find great gifts for loved ones and support the women and families of our community. Learn more about Alakara here!