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CORKE, Elizabeth M OAM

CORKE, Elizabeth M OAM

'Lizzie' Corke

'Lizzie' Corke

Zoologist, environmentalist and business woman ‘Lizzie’ Corke is a dedicated supporter of community particpation in caring for ecosystems.

In 2001, 'Lizzie’s' devotion to wildlife conservation saw her buy an Otways dairy farm and establish the ‘Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology’ with her husband Shayne Neal, also a former College student. The independent not-for-profit centre was founded to conduct vital conservation research, rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, and engage the wider community in conserving wildlife and the ecosystems which support them. Conservation research that involves community participation has become a key activity of the centre. She commented that, ‘Our conservation team comprises a wonderfully diverse and dedicated group of local residents and participants from further afield including both researchers and people with a general love for the environment, who conduct important research under the guidance of our Conservation and Research Manager,'.

The Centre’s research team is leading two key projects. The Tiger Quoll Flagship Program is designed to help ensure the future of the endangered and elusive Tiger Quoll and the Koala Conservation Program investigates the conservation challenges faced by koalas in Victoria. The team at Cape Otway are studying habitat use, health, behaviour, and genetics of the Otway’s koalas, as well as investigating innovative habitat management techniques.

'Lizzie' and Shayne also operate the ‘Great Ocean Ecolodge’ located adjacent to the Great Otway National Park and within the ‘Cape Otway Centre’. It was established to support the operating costs of the Cape Otway Centre in 2004, and that year won the Victorian Tourism Award for Best New Business. The following year, Lizzie was named the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year, the first female and then youngest recipient. In 2007, the Australian Geographic Society bestowed the Conservation Award on 'Lizzie' and Shayne. ‘Lizzie' has also been a member of the National Environmental Education Council and the Otways Landscape Community Council.

In May, 2011 'Lizzie' received further recognition for her environmental work by being pictured on the 2011 Geelong Region telephone book. ‘Australians Creating a Better Future’, recognised people throughout Australia who have made a positive contribution to their local community through projects or initiatives that help to make a better future for Australia. Also, in 2011 the 'Lizzie' won a Parks Victoria Regional Achiever Award.

‘Lizzie’ was educated at the College from 1995 to 1997, was a member of Calvert House, and participated in House Debating and cross-Country running.

In 2011, Elizabeth Corke was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery.

In 2020 Elizabeth Corke , CEO of the Conservation Ecology Centre, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours list. She received the OAM in recognition of her service to conservation and the environment.

Sources: Cape Otway Centre Website; Australian Geograhphic 30 June 2011, 28 Sept 2011; Who's who of Australian Women On-Line; The Age (Melb) 19 May 2012 p26. OGC 1997.
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