Tucked away on the Great Ocean Road in the Great Otway National Park is one of these organisations, the Conservation Ecology Centre, which includes a research hub on-site and an ecolodge. The Ecolodge was set up to provide to provide a sustainable option for travellers, whilst returning profits to conservation projects.
It also happens to be one of National Geographic Traveller’s top 25 best ecolodges in the world.
The CEO and Founder, Lizzie Cork, established the Conservation Ecology Centre to work on urgent conservation projects in the Otways. The projects have been an incredible success.
The organisation rediscovered the endangered Tiger Quoll in the Otways, after a decade of presumed absence. They also restored more than 1 million square metres of depleted Otway woodlands after losing almost half of the ecotype to an event of massive canopy decline.
Since then, Lizzie and her team have successfully grown the organisation into new developments and ventures to assist in widespread education and conservation.
Conservation is two-fold
The Conservation Ecology Centre team has carefully balanced between two key themes to ensure success: science and education. The scientific research strand works on understanding wildlife and ensures conservation efforts are achieved.
One of the conservation projects is working with the Otways Conservation Dogs. Highly qualified endangered species detection teams work throughout the Otways to safely and non-invasively detect species. After the success of the Tiger Quoll, they dogs are currently detecting Long-nosed Potoroos.
Networks and collaboration are also essential to the success of the research projects. Lizzie and her team have developed a strong network of land managers, conservationists and researchers across the past three years to maintain relevant conservation research.
“The network allows for land managers to directly feedback to researchers what are the most pressing conservation issues. In this way science is directly addressing the important conservation issues, and land managers are given the information to use in their programs.”