New Tasmanians connecting with the great outdoors Sat 20 October 2012 Brian Wightman Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage New settlers from culturally diverse backgrounds are being encouraged to "get outside" and connect with the Tasmanian outdoors. The Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, said the Get Outside program is a cooperative venture between the Parks and Wildlife Service and Wildcare Inc and is helping to foster connections between recently-arrived residents and their new communities. He said that since the program began in 2010, there have been visits to Mt Field and Tasman national parks, Mt Wellington and local peri-urban reserves such as Waterworks and Boronia Beach. "Wildcare volunteers and PWS rangers work with the University of Tasmania, the Migrant Resource Centre and the Polytechnic to top up their skills enabling them to work with people from these very diverse backgrounds," Mr Wightman said. "The program promotes a mentor relationship with Wildcare volunteers so that migrant community members become self-sufficient in undertaking a visit to a reserve or even a fishing trip. "Transport and advice on the type of clothes to wear or the best picnic spot for a family gathering are provided and some groups have become quite adventurous with a weekend away on Maria planned for early December. "The PWS and Wildcare are to be commended for their initiative with the Get Out program. Their efforts assist the physical and social connections that are so important in helping recent arrivals settle into a new environment." Get Out activities planned over the next month include: a day trip to Fortescue Bay for the Afghani community; a Truganini Reserve walk for international students with an Aboriginal guide; and trips to Mt Field National Park, Maria Island and Tasman National Park. The program recently received a major boost with a $25,000 donation to Wildcare from the Scanlon Foundation which fosters programs supporting social cohesion.