Friday, February 25, 2011
New Learning Materials
Now Available - Materials For Persons Who Are Blind Or Visually Impaired
Environmental education about birds tends to be very visual-based learning, especially when learning about raptors, the meat-eaters of the bird world. At least, it has been until now.
The World Bird Sanctuary is proud to now offer tactile learning materials for persons who are blind or visually impaired. At our Monsanto Fund Environmental Education Center (EEC), visitors may borrow a tote bag that has a variety of such materials, including a tactile map, binoculars, several examples of bird wings, talons, and skulls, and a packet of information printed in Braille about our exhibit birds. We hope these materials will enhance our visitors' experience while they explore our sanctuary.
On that note, a number of other improvements have been made at the sanctuary to make our visitors' visits even safer and more informative. This includes improvements to our pathways and painting step edges and obstacles to make them easier for the visually impaired to see.
The touch table gives visitors a chance to see some natural items close up. These items now have Braille labels
We have also organized a set of touch table items available in the EEC and labeled them in Braille, and created a series of guess-what's-inside style touch boxes that are now located outside of the wildlife hospital.
Here is an example of some of the changes to our exhibit line to make the information more accessible to everyone
We have begun to label our exhibit signs in Braille in preparation for an audio tour that is in the works, and soon our amphitheater steps will be rebuilt to be safer and nicer overall. These are the first of a series of changes that will hopefully make our sanctuary more accessible to everyone.
Dumpling, our friendly Bantam Cochin Chicken, also helps our blind and visually impaired visitors to learn about birds
We would like to thank Ashley Quinn with the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments and Danny Huff of the Missouri Council of the Blind for their ideas.
We would especially like to thank Mildred Eaves and Kendra Hjorth of the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who toured the sanctuary with us to give us tailored suggestions of improvements, and provided us with the Braille printing assistance to create the accessible information materials that are now available.