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Two Bays 2013 program welcomes new arrivals

Friday 22 February, 2013

Twenty three newly arrived immigrants and members of the New Hope Foundation and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre are set to enjoy a day out learning about Melbourne’s marine sanctuaries during Two Bays 2013, an education program organised by Parks Victoria and Saltwater Enterprises.

Members of multicultural communities will jump aboard the 62 foot catamaran SV Pelican tomorrow, setting sail from Gem Pier, Williamstown for their first taste of the Victoria’s marine environment.

The group will sail from Williamstown to Jawbone and Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary. On board, they will view live footage of Jawbone Marine Sanctuary as divers man underwater cameras on the seafloor. A multicultural lunch will follow with an opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds.

Mary-Lou Dixon, Manager Community Engagement for Parks Victoria said the day aims to introduce recent migrants and asylum seekers to the beauty and diversity of Victoria’s marine parks and reserves.

“This is a great opportunity for people who may be new to Australia and have English as a second language to get first-hand experience of our precious marine parks and sanctuaries,” Ms Dixon said.

“It’s a chance to increase the awareness of the value of these places, and spread the word that they are here for everyone to enjoy and protect.”

Two Bays 2013 is a marine research and community engagement project which provide opportunities for dialogue and information sharing on key bay environmental themes and projects. The program focuses on Victoria’s two most significant embayments: Port Phillip and Western Port.

Ms Dixon said the three week project would see the SV Pelican traverse both bays, providing a unique opportunity for bay managers and stakeholders.

“This project provides researchers and community members, including our indigenous communities, a base on which to build knowledge, engage in bay issues, form partnerships to better understand and protect bay values, and to highlight bay health.”

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