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Cooperative projects helps new Tasmanians venture outside


A fishing trip to Fortescue Bay last weekend provided an opportunity for a group of young new Tasmanians to experience one of Tasmania’s most scenic national parks and begin to make connections with the people of their new community.

The day trip is part of the Get Outside program, a cooperative venture between Wildcare Inc and the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS). The program recently received a major boost with a $25,000 donation to WILDCARE from the Scanlon Foundation which fosters programs that support social cohesion.

PWS Get Outside program coordinator Jen Fry said the program supports new migrants to the State from culturally diverse backgrounds to get outside and connect with Tasmania both through experiences in parks and socially.

“It’s a community based program where we are working with the University of Tasmania, the Migrant Resource Centre and the Polytechnic to ensure that Wildcare volunteers and PWS rangers are confident in working with people from these very diverse backgrounds,” Jen said.

The program promotes a mentor relationship so that migrant community members become self-sufficient in undertaking a visit to a reserve.

Since the program began in 2010 there have been visits to Mt Field and Tasman national parks, Mt Wellington and local peri-urban reserves such as Waterworks and Boronia Beach.  

Wildcare Get Outside program facilitator Jodie Epper from Wildcare said for the new arrivals, getting outside and connecting physically to their new home and socially with the Wildcare volunteer community increases the chances of people with different cultural backgrounds connecting with their new home in Tasmania.

“We can provide basic things such as transport, advice on the type of clothes to wear, or the best picnic spot for a family gathering,” Jodie said.

Wildcare volunteer John Ettles was the leader for the Fortescue Bay fishing expedition.

He said he’d been wanting to do something for Wildcare for ages and the fishing trip was a good opportunity.  The group of six included young people from Sudan, Thailand and Burma. Although some had fished previously with hand lines, they had no experience casting from the shore.  Fiona Hume, Discovery Ranger with the Get Outside program said the trip inspired the participants to go fishing again.  She reported that the group was keen to extend the trip  and experience camping for their next outing.

Cooperative projects helps new Tasmanians venture outside

The Get Outside gang at Fortescue Bay. From left, Max, Tamla, Chit Ko, Htoo Dee, Anita Ettles, Klo Dot, Hta, Fiona Hume (behind) and John Ettles.

Cooperative projects helps new Tasmanians venture outside

John helps the group rig their rods for beach fishing.