In Conversation: Parks Victoria Bilingual Guides Program Coordinator Amy Mallett
Enjoying the outdoors is a vital part of keeping healthy and fit. Too often CALD communities are unaware of the benefits or unable to access Victorian parks. ECCV spoke with Parks Victoria Bilingual Guides Program Coordinator Amy Mallett about their bilingual tour guides program. The program facilitates the participation of CALD communities in the outdoors thorough bilingual community guides.
How did you develop the bilingual tour guides program?
The program first started in 2007 in partnership with the City of Whittlesea and with Go For Your Life funding, as part of our strategy to increase the participation of CALD communities in parks. There have now been three rounds of the program with the last two having a coastal focus.
The program taught the guides presentation and nature interpretation skills, as well as how to understand local flora and fauna and landscapes. The training was 10 week course and we had 11 graduates speaking Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Croatian Macedonian and African languages.
What are some of the reasons CALD communities may not visit parks?
CALD communities may not visit due to uncertainty about Australian animals, facilities (for example whether there would be toilets and water basins for prayer) and the role of park rangers.
What have been the major successes of the program so far?
Many of our graduates have gone on to lead tours within their local communities. One Turkish guide led a Turkish women’s bush camp and another guide led tours to Point Cook bird migration tower.
One graduate group has formed their own organization, Multicultural Nature Guides Association, to run tours for their community.
When will your next program run and how can CALD communities participate?
The bilingual guides program runs once a year, it is free, and the next round begins in June.
We have a lot of European languages already and it would be great to have guides from new and emerging communities such as Sudanese and Burmese.
In addition to our bilingual guides program we run the Discover Parks Program with grants up to $2000 for transport, guides, catering and other expenses to encourage CALD people to use parks.
For more information about both these programs contact Mary-Lou Dixon, Manager Community Participation and Volunteering, phone (03) 8627 4699, firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can CALD communities get more general information about using parks?
First call our 13 19 63 information line. We have interpreters available.