Nature still needs support
Through the immense challenges of 2020, we are working as hard as ever to secure a better future for our native species.
Friday 5 June was World Environment Day – a day to celebrate but also a time to make a commitment to our beautiful world. Around this year’s theme of biodiversity, we’re all encouraged to consider the many ways in which nature provides for us as humans, from our food and shelter, to our medicines and mental health.
COVID-19 has given nature a break from humans and a chance to recover from some of the damage we cause through everything from over-visitation to carbon pollution. It also forced us to slow down, and maybe appreciate nature more for what it provides to us – even if that is just a daily walk in your local park.
As travel restrictions are lifted and we can visit our favorite places again, I am sure many of us will be reminded of the work that still needs to be done to restore our native ecosystems, and protect them into the future. Especially across the vast swathes of Australia where last Summer’s bushfires have also left their mark.
Nature still needs us and due to the socially distanced nature of our work, we have thankfully been able to continue our research and conservation activities here at the Conservation Ecology Centre over the past few months.
Our ecologists have been out studying the responses of Potoroos to fire, working with Forest Fire Management Victoria on their planned burn sites. And we have been trialing some cool winter burns to protect property and boost biodiversity on Cape Otway. We’ve also been kept busy planting 5,000 trees, shrubs and grasses – given we had to cancel The Big Otway Tree Plant due to the COVID restrictions our team have stepped up to the challenge.
We are thrilled to now be able to welcome guests back to the Great Ocean Ecolodge, where we are able to offer peaceful accommodation, social distanced meals, and our nightly dusk walk where you will meet kangaroos, koalas, potoroos, sugar gliders and quolls.
The tour, with our Nature Guide Emma McKenzie, is fabulous – it offers you the chance to get up close with some of the animals which will feature in the Wildlife Wonders experience, opening later this year.
Working in the tourism industry, and in a town so reliant on visitors, we are acutely aware of the significant financial impact COVID-19 is having on people’s lives. Many small businesses in Apollo Bay and along the Great Ocean Road, from pubs to surf shops, boutiques to BnBs have been closed for months, and while we now welcome local visitors, it will still be a long time before things return to normal. We also appreciate that as the travel restrictions lift there are many people who, due to concerns about their own health, will be reluctant to travel for a while yet.
All in all, 2020 has been a very tough year for a lot of people, and as such we have decided not to run our usual EOFY fundraising appeal. But there are still a couple of ways you can help us to support nature through this time.
If you are able to travel to the Great Ocean Road, we’d really appreciate you making a booking to stay with us at the Great Ocean Ecolodge – where you can enjoy time in nature and wildlife experiences, plus a complimentary bottle of wine on us this winter. Find out more here.
All profits from the Great Ocean Ecolodge fund the research and conservation activities of the Conservation Ecology Centre, so this is a fabulous way you can support us until we can welcome international guests back again – but be quick, usually the Ecolodge is booked up 6 months in advance! Book now.
Or, if you are unable to travel, and still want to offer your support, we are always grateful for your (tax-deductible) donations, which can be made here.
From me and the team, thank you again for all of your support.
Lizzie Corke OAM
CEO, Conservation Ecology Centre
(Photo: Doug Gimesy)