Run to support the Otways

You can now fundraise for the Conservation Ecology Centre in the 2024 Great Ocean Road Running Festival

Register for the 2024 Great Ocean Road Running Festival and support the Otways

The iconic Great Ocean Road winds its way along the southern border of Victoria’s Wild Otways: incredibly beautiful and diverse landscapes of steep ranges rising from this iconic rugged coastline, containing pristine sandy inlets, lush woodlands and serene fern gullies, and an abundance of enchanting waterfalls. Some of Victoria’s tallest mountain ash forests are found here, as well as ancient beech trees and tree ferns.

Unfortunately, a range of threats are having a devastating effect on the landscapes and wildlife of the Otways. Without active management, these threats can tip the balance of nature’s beautifully orchestrated ecosystems, reducing habitat resilience and greatly impacting on wildlife.

The Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) was established in 2000 to ensure that the landscapes of the Otways are healthy, resilient, and cared for into the future. We are leading the way on delivering a collaborative and cohesive conservation strategy in the Otways by engaging and working together with all stakeholders in the region: universities and research groups, government agencies and administrators, NGOs, Traditional Owners, private land managers, local communities, and the broader general public.

Research carried out by the CEC has led to best-practice land management solutions and effective planning to restore threatened species across the region. Our unique research and conservation program has a strong and committed local focus, with a broad application for other environmental managers and administrators across Australia.

By fundraising for the Conservation Ecology Centre, you can enjoy the delights of the Great Ocean Road knowing you are directly supporting vital conservation work to protect its wildlife and their homes.

Thank you, and good luck!

Already registered to run? You can register to fundraise for the Conservation Ecology Centre here.

We are delighted to announce the arrival of four beautiful, endangered Tiger Quoll joeys. The gorgeous spotted joeys are now three months old and fit into the palm of your hand.

Lizzie Corke, CEO of the Conservation Ecology Centre, says raising this many joeys in a first breeding season is unusual but the joeys are all healthy and their mother is caring for them beautifully. “They are growing fast and keeping snug and warm in the den,” she says. The joeys will help inform researchers about Tiger Quoll behaviour and assist with the conservation of these endangered animals. “These little quolls are helping to conserve their species” says Conservation Coordinator Dr Jack Pascoe.

Tiger Quolls are the largest remaining marsupial predators on the Australian mainland but their numbers are in serious decline. “By learning more about their behaviour we can improve detection techniques, which will play a vital role in the conservation of wild Tiger Quolls and the ecosystems they depend upon,” Dr Pascoe says.

Dr Pascoe says a captive breeding population is an important insurance policy for endangered species and, in time, these joeys will contribute to the long-term health of the captive population.

Wild Tiger Quolls were thought to have died out in the Otways for nearly 10 years until the recent discovery of scat (droppings) near Lorne and Cape Otway, which Ms Corke says has been an exciting and encouraging development.

The Conservation Ecology Centre is working on a number of projects to safeguard the future of Tiger Quolls, including training a team of community volunteers and their dogs to detect Tiger Quoll scats. Habitat  restoration and fox reduction projects are also key activities of the program.  You can get involved in this exciting project too! Make a donation to ensure the future of this special species, see our Conservation Experiences for voluntourism opportunities or become a volunteer.


We are delighted to announce that today the title for this special piece of land was transferred to the Conservation Ecology Centre.  It is the first, very exciting step in creating an important habitat corridor and a safe haven for koalas and other wildlife.

We have very nearly raised all the funds required to finalise the purchase but are not quite there yet. In view of that, we have negotiated an arrangement with our neighbours who are selling the property to pay the balance of the price to them over a period of time – we are very grateful to them for being so flexible. Until the full amount is paid, our neighbours will continue to have access to the property for their farming activities. Once the balance is paid, we will be able to commence our work to restore the habitat to transform the property into Manna Gum Reserve, providing for the safe movement of wildlife across Cape Otway.

With your help and a very generous grant from The R.E. Ross Trust we have already raised $116,185 and have just $28,815 to go! To help raise this final amount you can donate easily and securely online or call (03) 5237 9297.  We can’t wait to invite you to see the little Manna Gums growing!

Right now, koalas in Cape Otway have a reason to hope. After an incredible show of public support, the Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) is close to raising enough funds to purchase a piece of land that will be transformed into a haven for koalas and other native animals. CEC Patron, the Hon. Steve Bracks AC, couldn’t be happier:

“This part of Australia has long been close to my heart and holds incredible potential for the future of our native wildlife. I’ve been truly inspired by the support Australians have shown for the project so far.”

The CEC, a conservation and wildlife rehabilitation centre, launched the fundraising drive in April with a visionary plan. Once the land is purchased, they will turn it into the ‘Manna Gum Reserve’ – a habitat corridor for Australian wildlife and a model for future habitat restoration.

Mr Bracks explains:

“The creation of the Manna Gum Reserve will increase natural habitat areas, augment the link between the Great Otway National Park and the Conservation Ecology Centre and enhance the Centre’s conservation work. A public walking track will also provide locals and tourists an insight into the importance of this area. With only two weeks left to secure the funds,we’re hoping Australians will continue to get behind this fantastic project.”

A generous grant from The R E Ross Trust combined with the first rush of public support has brought the CEC close to their goal of $145,000. But there is still a way to go. By June 30, another $35,000 is needed.

The Conservation Ecology Trust welcomes sponsorship and donations. Contributions to this landmark conservation effort will enable the restoration and revegetation of this
important piece of Australia and ensure it remains protected for future generations to enjoy.

With the end of the financial year fast approaching and all donations over $2 being tax deductible in Australia, now is the perfect time to lend your support.

It may seem like just another block, but a small parcel of land in Cape Otway holds a tremendous opportunity for Australian wildlife. Flanked on one side by the Great Otway National Park and on the other by the Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC), this land has the potential to become an important habitat corridor for koalas and other native animals.

With the support of their Patron, the Hon. Steve Bracks AC, the Conservation Ecology Centre is staging a drive to raise the funds necessary to finalise the purchase of the property. Thanks to a very generous grant from The R E Ross Trust, the CEC is part way there, but there is still a way to go. By June 30, another $45,000 is needed.

Donations will assist the Conservation Ecology Trust to complete the purchase of this land and create the ‘Manna Gum Reserve’. Once ownership is secured, the land will be restored, revegetated and, most importantly, remain protected.

For Australia’s iconic koalas, this is excellent news. Currently facing a range of threats, koalas are one of the main species set to benefit from the creation of the Manna Gum Reserve.

The Conservation Ecology Centre’s Co-Founder and CEO, Lizzie Corke, explains why these animals are a top priority for the centre:

“Koalas are challenged by a range of human-related factors, including habitat fragmentation, habitat decline, car accidents, dog attacks and disease. Our work focuses on restoring habitats and reconnecting populations in order to increase resilience and genetic diversity and conserve healthy, balanced ecosystems.

“Creation of the Manna Gum Reserve would enhance our work in this area and save this precious land from being overdeveloped and eroded. It will also provide an important model for habitat restoration.”

Help us secure their future

The Conservation Ecology Trust welcome sponsorship and donations. Contributions to this landmark conservation effort will assist in the restoration of an important piece of Australia.

For more information please view our Manna Gum Reserve FAQs.

Donate now

Where is the proposed purchase?

This map illustrates the existing Conservation Ecology Centre property along with the proposed purchase and its position in relation to the Great Otway National Park and the Parker River.

What is the significance of the piece of land?

The property is quite small – only 21 acres – but holds great significance in that it provides a vital link between the Conservation Ecology Centre and the Great Otway National Park. Currently, the environmental assets of the property are quite degraded and in need of critical restoration. Most of the property is cleared and there are some areas of erosion. However, the property also includes a tributary to the pristine Parker River – the only tributary outside the National Park and the CEC property. Securing ownership of the property will mean that the entire catchment of the Parker River is within the boundaries of land managed for conservation.

Where has funding come from so far?

The R E Ross Trust has very generously supported this project with a grant of $100,000. The purchase price of the property is $145,000 so we still need to raise $45,000 to finalise the purchase of the property and ensure its future.


What will the Conservation Ecology Centre do with the property?

Once ownership is secured it will be revegetated and restored for conservation of flora and fauna. The land will provide an important model for habitat restoration and will be used to engage the community in conservation land management techniques to improve habitat connectivity and build resilience across the landscape.

How can you get involved?

Once the property is secured, we would love you to help us with restoring it. However, right now the help we really need is financial. To join us in this important project, you can make a secure online donation. Donations of over $1000 will be acknowledged in a special Sponsors’ Path onsite and all donations of $2 or more are tax deductible in Australia.
Donate now