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Congratulations to Craig Morley upon being awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion 2020 for his contribution to Ornithology, Conservation and Education.

Craig has demonstrated a strong commitment to ornithology, conservation and the education of others for more than 40 years. His highly developed knowledge of the birds of the Geelong region and beyond has been refined by decades of experience in the field, study and interaction with the ornithological community.

Since 2005, Craig has promoted awareness of the recovery effort for the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, organising, leading and participating in three surveys each year in his role as Bellarine Peninsula Orange-bellied Parrot Regional Group Coordinator. He has also assisted in organising and participating in programs such as the biannual wader counts on the Bellarine Peninsula and regular surveys of Swift Parrots, Bitterns, Latham’s Snipe and Hooded Plovers.

As a prolific contributor to the Australian Bird Atlas and more recently to eBird Australia, his personal observations have allowed the study of movements, population changes and the emergence of new bird species at particular localities. Craig has inspired many others to add their observations to various surveys or bird databases so that records are available to all.

The Geelong Bird Report (GBR) evolved from an annual record of interesting observations into a more substantial publication by 2008. Craig took on the role of editor in 2009 and greatly expanded the amount of information in each annual edition until 2012. Under Craig’s editorship, the format of the GBR for the years 2013–2016 was changed to include a series of maps to show seasonal movements. Detailed comments on each species were included. The resulting publication was made available as a searchable PDF document and as a book. It has received acclaim from ornithologists across Australia and has been distributed freely via a PDF internet copy.

Craig has contributed his expert knowledge to many conservation programs and issues including the campaign to preserve the former Moolap Salt fields. His extensive knowledge of birds allowed him to make many significant contributions to conservation campaigns.

Craig has led hundreds of excursions, sharing his knowledge and encouraging others to learn more about birds, their habitat and interaction with the environment. He has also made countless presentations on birds to GFNC members and to many other local community groups. As a former school teacher, he is particularly skilled at teaching and enthusing young people about local birds. A Checklist of Geelong Region Birds, that was produced by Craig, has assisted people to identify and record their own bird observations.

For many decades, Craig’s work and skill has influenced the understanding of birds in the Geelong Region. His enthusiasm has inspired others and his knowledge has been valuable in formulating conservation strategies. He is indeed worthy of the award of the Australian Natural History Medallion and he joins illustrious GFNC members who were previous winners of this award,  Roy Wheeler (1965); Jack Wheeler (1977); Trevor Pescott (1983); Marilyn Hewish (2013); Margaret MacDonald (2015).