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Our Space for Conservation

Just as our programs combine cutting-edge information with traditional wisdom, the Noloholo Environmental Center combines modern and local building materials and techniques. Our structures straddle the line between indoor and outdoor spaces, providing comfortable yet progressive areas where people from all places - local and international - gather to further APW’s work in conservation.

With the increasing threat of global climate change, many parts of rural Africa are experiencing erratic rainfall, increasing desertification and other environmental hardships that have drastic consequences for both people and wildlife.  Noloholo demonstrates green design methods that villagers can use to increase the functionality and longevity of their buildings while reducing any negative environmental impacts.




The Great Room and Patio

Designed with an appreciation of the natural environmentNoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-4 From this gathering space, one gazes out on a panoramic view of the Maasai Steppe. The large meeting space, which is used for management meetings and important gatherings related to our conservation work, overlooks a large patio with an inbuilt fire pit for evening discussions. GREEN DESIGN Stones for this structure were surface-harvested from the surrounding ridges. Abandoned termite mounds provide a perfect mortar.The patio harvests rainwater. A basin provides water for birds during the dry season.Thatch roofing is cut locally by the village women.

Communal Dining Room

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-10 One of our newest buildings, our dining room accommodates up to 40 seated guests. It is thatched with traditional grasses for protection from the elements. Mesh screens provide shade, as does the dining room’s location amongst leafy acacia trees.  During summer camps, schoolchildren eat dinner with program officers and interns.  GREEN DESIGN Solar-powered lights for the evening lend a welcoming glow, while its position under wide acacia branches keeps the interior cool during the day.



Seminar Space

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-2NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-3 Fully equipped with projector capabilities, this seminar space can accommodate groups of up to  80 students at a time.Rather than glass panes, the enormous windows of this room are covered with lightly woven shades. The walls are constructed of surface-harvested stone and feature nature-inspired designs. GREEN DESIGN
A sophisticated rainwater harvesting system collects water from roofing and surface water runoff, settling out in large underground cisterns. A solar water pump moves water from the cisterns to the header tanks (neatly disguised in the educational facility’s roof).

Playing Fields and Environs

IMG_3441 During our youth environmental summer camps, we utilize our soccer/volleyball fields and the small field by our Seminar Space for activities and games that teach students about the ecology of our area. After classes, students play group games on the fields. In this space for learning and fun, kids don’t have to worry about their usual daily chores, focusing instead on building camaraderie. GREEN DESIGN
What better design than the one provided by Mother Nature!



Program Office

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-8 This cozy space is the heart of our operations at Noloholo. Here, our program officers can access computers in order to store and analyze data and analysis and perform program research.  It is here that our staff convenes during seminars and trainings. We also use this office to train our Warriors for Wildlife on data entry and computer skills, and as a workspace for our summer interns.
GREEN DESIGN Nestled on the top of a small hill, the main educational facility incorporates existing natural features like trees and boulders and boasts large windows that invite the environment in and maintain a stunning 360 degree view.

Transportation and Power

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-2310006052_750691261609817_1855020080_o Our work on the Steppe requires some serious power - horsepower, and solar power! Thanks to our generous donors, we have a three amazing AWD vehicles that carry our staff out into the field for activities such as wildlife counts, community meetings, wildlife clubs in local schools, delivering chain link for Living Walls, and natural resource planning.

Also thanks to our very generous donors, Noloholo runs entirely on solar power - eliminating the need for expensive generators and the equally expensive fuel required to run generators! 24 hour power is provided via a large installation of BP solar panels regulated by an Outback Power System (inverter and charge controllers) donated to APW via the WCN Solar Project, as well as a new system of solar batteries donated in 2014.

We believe in maintaining as low of a footprint as possible, even when supporting a full staff and group of programs. From rainwater harvesting to solar panels, Noloholo’s green design makes sure that APW lives lightly on the Steppe!




The Noloholo Dormitory Our airy, spacious dormitory houses 36 in bunk beds (four to a room). Whether we are hosting volunteer groups, summer interns, summer camps or multi-day patrol bootcamps, we are always prepared to offer a comfortable bed, bedding and solar-powered electricity.
GREEN DESIGN The “shotgun” style layout, and space between the walls and thatch, allow cool breezes to blow through the length of the building.

A Pair of Tottages

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-26 For special guests and donors we offer a matched pair of “tent-cottages”, providing luxury comfort in the bush. Featuring white-washed walls, running water, and high, straw-thatched ceilings, our beautiful tottages are one of the highlights of Noloholo’s architecture.
GREEN DESIGN Much like the rest of Noloholo, the tottages are architecturally designed to fit within the local landscape, replicating the shapes and designs that the Maasai traditionally utilize when building.


Staff Living

NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-28 Staff “condos”, built in the traditional round-house style of Maasai “bomas” or homesteads, combine modern building techniques such as glass windows and stone flooring with straw thatch and thick walls. Each unit faces a common kitchen and living space. These features improve the lighting, ventilation and air quality of the structures, while encouraging a sense of communal living. GREEN DESIGN Traditional walls made of dirt, sand, cow manure and ash are covered with a special sealant that acts as a long-term weather proofing. This simple enhancement protects the inner core of poles longer, reducing the frequency with which trees are required for homestead maintenance.


NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-13 This fully equipped kitchen is where much of the magic happens when we have guests at Noloholo. With a large pantry, gas oven, icebox, refrigerators, and dishwashing facilities, the kitchen keeps our cooks well-equipped with all they need to feed the bellies of conservationists. GREEN DESIGN The kitchen sink works on a double purification system - particle and solar. Thick clay walls keep food cool.


NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-18 Our staff and dormitory guests have use of a four-room lavatory that uses no water. Low-flow shower facilities are also available.
NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-35NoloholoFacilities.APW and Deirdre Leowinata-36
By utilizing a long-drop, self-composting, ventilated design, APW uses no water.