Assuring the access to nature education and nature experience for impaired people
We have been waiting so long to be able to present you our first newsletter and thus also our project "Nature without barriers". Now it appears under very special circumstances: Home office, no travel, the Internet as the most important resource. As a team that works in international projects, we have to face always challenges. But what is challenging us all right now is completely new. In this state of emergency, the issue of accessibility is more important than ever. Petitions and appeals throughout Europe help to ensure that vital information is made accessible without barriers. In Germany, the petition to the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn about the request of translating the Corona messages into sign language collected nearly 30,000 signatures. Many organisations such as ÖZIV in Austria, Easy Read Online in the UK or Lebenshilfe in Germany publish free information on Corona and important rules of conduct in easy-to-read language or other barrier-free formats.
Our international team is currently operating from home in all four countries. Nevertheless, we are continuing our work for more accessibility in experiencing nature, because we want to go out into the wilderness soon again! We are currently developing two guidelines for barrier-free accompanied and self-determined nature experience. For nature conservation centres, we are developing methodological assistance for more barrier-free environmental education activities. In this first newsletter, we introduce ourselves and inform you about our project. In addition, we introduce initiatives that focus on the work for more accessibility. In the current issue you will learn about the work of the Austrian Association for People with Disabilities ÖZIV.
Our new project website already has a lot to offer in four European languages. Find out more about the project, explore the already well-filled knowledge pool and get to know our project partners at www.nature-without-barriers.eu We are looking forward to your feedback. Tell others about us and: Stay healthy!
We hope you enjoy reading!
The project team "Nature without Barriers”
For more nature without barriers
Making nature an experience for everybody is the most important goal of our project. We want to help nature educators to identify and implement possibilities for more accessibility and inclusion in their offers. The corresponding guidelines provide ideas for the design of barrier-free environmental education programmes.
Five partner organisations in four European countries work together in the project: Global Nature Fund (GNF, Germany), The German Blind and Visually Impaired Association (DBSV, Germany), Umweltdachverband GmbH (UWD, Austria), Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne "Etna" (Poland), as well as Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency (LBDCA, Hungary).
Consulting agencies and associations such as mahp barrierefrei in the German Black Forest or ÖZIV in Austria are supporting the project with their expertise in the area of accessibility. We will address the challenges of their work in our newsletters as well.
In our Knowledge Pool, you will find interesting information on various aspects of barrier-free nature experiences. We present some best practice examples from different European countries. Moreover, we address guidelines for barrier-free nature experiences as well as communication aspects and web accessibility. Here you will find links leading to criteria for accessible design in particular project countries. Discover our Knowledge Pool:
Blind for a while: How the ÖZIV expands the view on barriers
People with disabilities continuously accompany us in our project work as experts in their fields. In October 2019, our international project team went on a barrier detection trip to the Donau-Auen National Park near Vienna, Austria. For two hours all participants were allowed to explore a nature trail in a wheelchair or with the help of a blind cane. Under the guidance of the Austrian federal association of impaired people ÖZIV (Austria-wide Future-oriented Representation of Interests), we checked where barriers were hidden on the nature trail on the castle island in Orth. The nature trail will soon be redesigned to become barrier-free.
Read more about the work of the ÖZIV, its current challenges and a new view on barriers in our interview with Isabella Aigner and Peter Noflatscher working for ÖZIV ACCESS.
There are almost no upcoming events at the moment. If there are some, they usually take place online. All events, in which we wanted to present our project, have been or will be probably cancelled soon. This is obviously due to the current situation. For the moment, this point of our newsletter remains empty. But we will keep you up to date!
You can find more information about project-related events on our website at