Marine conservation is a complex topic which can be made more complicated by language barriers. That’s why Sydney’s Chinese community have been rolling up their sleeves for the past year to encourage better stewardship and conservation of the local marine environment, under the Aquatic Champion program rolled out by Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

Through the Aquatic champion program 40 members of the Chinese community in Sydney learned about the impacts that recreational activities such as boating and fishing have on the aquatic environment. After this training, members from this group have taken on leadership opportunities to deliver key messages to their wider community through peer to peer education.

The key messages include:

    • responsible disposal of litter (on land or near water)
      • how to protect seagrass and other aquatic vegetation
        • how to minimise the spread of aquatic pests.

“Research shows people from non-English speaking backgrounds learn best from peers who speak their language which is why we developed this project to help empower key community members and ensure our waterways remain a place everyone can enjoy,” said Linda Dedovic from the Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

Chinese Aquatic Champion and Kogarah resident Vanessa Chen is enthusiastic about her new role. She states that “The training was informative and interesting. It would be good if everyone could know what we learnt and could put it into practice. I can now speak authoritatively about environmental issues,” she said.

This group are enthusiastic and committed to continue their work into the future as informal educators in their community and are keen to keep learning about these important environmental messages.

The program also ran workshops with the Arabic speaking community as well as engaging with a number of schools with a high proportion of students from a background of these two languages groups.

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

 

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