You are here

Home > About > News and media releases > Multicultural connection to nature celebrated during Parks Week

News

Kitchen Garden at Werribee Park

Kitchen Garden at Werribee Park

5 months ago from Parks Victoria

Multicultural connection to nature celebrated during Parks Week

Thursday 27 February, 2014

Connecting Victoria’s multicultural community to parks and nature will be a focus of celebrations during Parks Week from 3-9 March 2014.

Parks Week is an annual celebration of the important role that parks play in contributing healthy communities.

Parks Victoria’s Chief Executive, Dr Bill Jackson, said some exciting and innovative programs are helping multicultural communities to enjoy Victoria’s parks and reap the healthy benefits of connecting with nature.

“One project that’s been met with great success is the Community Kitchen Garden at Werribee Park that began in 2012,” he said.

 The program was developed for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in Melbourne’s western suburbs and is now a thriving community garden program with a horticultural educational facility.

“When the project began, it aimed to address some of the mental health issues associated with the effects of post traumatic disorders, including depression and isolation for women from refugee communities. Now the project has grown to include younger members of the community; people in their early twenties, the women’s kids, grandkids, nephews and nieces,” said Dr Jackson.

“Communities such as the Karen people from Burma have really taken to this opportunity as they absolutely love gardening,” he said.

Further opportunities are also being offered to younger members of the CALD communities through traineeships in the parks.

Trainees work alongside park rangers for three days a week while they are undertaking their certificate courses in Horticulture and Conservation and Land management

The educational program has been developed with support from agencies including Parks Victoria, Australian Multicultural Education Services (AMES), the Brotherhood of St Lawrence and Matchworks.

“These types of programs are highly valuable for people’s social, educational, physical and mental wellbeing and align well with Parks Victoria’s Healthy Parks Healthy People approach,” said Dr Jackson.

“A growing body of research world-wide suggests that getting into parks and connecting with nature is good for people’s mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.”

 “At a time when people are spending more time indoors with computers and other screens, and many are facing health issues through lack of exercise, it’s even more important to make the most of all the healthy benefits that our parks and nature provide.

“In Australia, preventable diseases like diabetes are becoming more common— with its prevalence at least doubling in the past two decades.”

Other initiatives developed to give multicultural communities better access to Victoria’s parks include:

  • A Discover Parks Program that supports community organisations to run innovative and interesting activities that introduce culturally and linguistically diverse communities to parks.

  • Parks Victoria has supported Alzheimer’s Australia in providing health and wellbeing program's in parks for isolated carers from CALD backgrounds. Eight CALD communities from Melbourne and Geelong participated in the program in parks in and near Melbourne last year.

Parks Week is an annual celebration of the important role that parks play in contributing to healthy communities. Parks Week is coordinated by Parks Forum, the peak body for parks agencies across Australia and New Zealand.

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

Westerfolds parkrun

23 Aug 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.

Click to view RSS Feed

Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

24 Aug 2014 10:00am-11:00am

Take a journey of discovery along the Fosters Gully Nature Walk where the forests and undergrowth provide food and shelter for many species of birds and animals. If you are quiet you may be able to see and hear many of the species of wildlife that live in the park.…

Click to view RSS Feed

Westerfolds parkrun

30 Aug 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.

Click to view RSS Feed

Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

31 Aug 2014 9:30am-10:20am

A superb loop walk that winds through woodland, wet heathland & along boardwalks. Along the way you will encounter a variety of flora including hakeas, wattles, tea-trees, mistletoe, swamp bush pea and button grass. This guided walk is run by Friends of Bunyip State Park.