Connecting diverse communities to local natural areas

Since Merri Creek's catchment is home to people from over 100 language groups, MCMC's commitment to community engagement connects it with an exceedingly diverse community.

These communities are referred to as CaLD communities to acknowledge their Cultural and Linguistic Diversity.

Guided walks and ecotours

Often the natural environment is overlooked as newcomers to a country focus on learning the new language, getting around a new city and establishing adult lives. MCMC's guided walks for the CaLD community focus on nearby areas and focus on the importance of feeling connected to the landscape.

MCMC's staff ensure interactions do not depend on speaking English and provide opportunities to explore local natural areas and cultural heritage. These guided walks in the valleys and grasslands of the Merri Creek catchment are a big success with people from around the world.

Groups especially enjoy Merri Creek at Galada Tamboore in Campbellfield and in Fawkner's Moomba Park.

Clean streets for clean rivers

A Multicultural Environment Advocates project aimed to take the State Government's "Don't be a tosser" and "Bin Your Butts" messages to culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities. The project trained 17 people competent in 19 languages (other than English) about butt litter and its wider context. Trained participants conducted talks, wrote media releases and gave radio interviews in their own languages using the recognised "Bin Your Butts" messages.

In addition to direct communication in diverse languages, English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching materials and a student workbook were prepared and distributed to ESL and secondary teachers.

Studying English as a Second Language with a nature focus

Adults studying English as a Second Language went on five tours to Galada Tamboore in 2008. Activities were designed to use the natural environment as the focus for learning English as well as to promote an appreciation of the area. Participants came from places including Russia, Vietnam, Iraq, Turkey, Sudan and East Timor. Their comments revealed newly inspired connections to the local environment:

"If I had a flowing creek like this in my home town (in Thailand) I would never have left."
"Surrounded by old rock, trees, water and friends, I feel very happy.”
“I like listening to the song of the creek.”
“I can’t believe this place is here.”


Putting Down Roots Project

How to care for the environment as told by CaLD community and schools

This project's work with the CaLD community in the Merri Creek Catchment involved attending a workshop on the care and protection of the local environment as well as planting days. They contributed their own ideas about how, as householders, they could consider and reduce their impact on the local environment.  Workshop stories were used in the published materials for use by other groups.

Reading materials were made for ESL courses, school libraries and teachers. The material uses personal narratives blended with stories from many places that relate to caring for or appreciating the local environment. Very simply told stories reveal the environmental attributes of Edgars and Merri Creeks, recreational opportunities and how to care for waterways through correct disposal of waste.

telling stories

The report of the project is available here