Conservation of unique Otways environment lands Lizzie Corke an Australia Day honour

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We could not be happier to share the news that Lizzie Corke, CEO of the Conservation Ecology Centre has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s Australia Day Honours, “for service to conservation and the environment”.

As many of you will know, Lizzie invests immense time and energy in the conservation of our unique Australian environment and has done so for the past 20 years.

At a time when we are experiencing the utter devastation of ecosystems and loss of billions of animals to bushfire it is fitting that that we recognise the contributions of someone who is working so hard to ensure a future for our iconic landscapes and species.

From the moment they made their home on Victoria’s Cape Otway, Lizzie and her husband Shayne have been dedicated to furthering our understanding of the Otways environment and working to conserve the plants and animals who live here.

In 2000 Lizzie and Shayne founded the Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC). The CEC’s work has included the development of a substantial research program in partnership with universities, government and other stakeholders, establishing an ecological burning program with the Country Fire Authority (CFA); restoring koala habitat by planting over 200,000 trees on Cape Otway and developing a network of researchers and land managers who share information and data across the region.  

The CEC’s multi award-winning Great Ocean Ecolodge was developed in 2004 and has operated as a successful social enterprise to help fund the CEC’s research and conservation work and to educate guests about the importance of the Otways ecosystems.

Now Lizzie and Shayne are transferring this novel model of promoting and funding conservation to CEC’s new Wildlife Wonders project which will open in mid-2020.

Wildlife Wonders will welcome visitors to explore a spectacular bushland environment overlooking the ocean. Accompanied by a conservation guide, visitors will encounter the unique wildlife of the Otways living freely within the protected habitat area. All profits will be directed to CEC to help further research and conservation.

On behalf of the CEC’s Advisory Board I offer our sincerest congratulations to Lizzie.

If you would like to pass on your congratulations. I’d encourage you to do so via the Conservation Ecology Centre’s Facebook page or via email to

Dr Deborah Seifert AM
Chair, Conservation Ecology Centre Advisory Board

Quotes attributable to Lizzie Corke, OAM

 “The Otways are home to many species which have been lost from other places and the ecosystems here provide an important haven to help secure their long-term survival,” says Lizzie.

“As we’ve seen bushfires devastate huge areas of this beautiful country this summer it’s likely the Otways will play an important role in securing populations of some of our most iconic species, such as the koala, and other elusive but very important species, such as the quolls, potoroos and bandicoots.”

“I am delighted to accept this award and gratefully acknowledge the enthusiasm, expertise and unwavering support of the people who make up our team at the Conservation Ecology Centre.”

Images available (please credit as indicated)

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Photos: Lizzie Corke OAM with Steven Ras at Wildlife Wonders (Credit: Doug Gimesy) and Lizzie with Otways Conservation Dog “Teddy” (Credit: Annette Ruzicka)