"This picture shows members of the project team trying out what it feels like to experience nature in a wheelchair. Some of the people in wheelchairs feel the wild herbs and plants in a raised bed adapted in height.  " © Umweltdachverband

Self-determined nature experience

Every person wants and should be able to experience nature independently. For many environmental education centres and nature parks, the question comes up here of how to adapt the infrastructure to this through concrete measures. These and other topics are addressed in the guideline on self-determined nature experience.

This guideline is a comprehensive self-check tool including a demonstrative matrix to adopt criteria for unguided nature experience according to different needs. Based on different national and European recommendations, we developed criteria for the use by nature conservation institutions to assess the feasibility of existing locations. The basic idea of this comprehensive guideline is both to enable a self-check for the suitability of the location for adaptations for impaired people and to guide through these adaptations.

With the help of the document, single offers can be adjusted promptly and pragmatically for individual user groups. Criteria concern the road network (accessibility by public transport, length, accessibility on site, track condition, rest and seating opportunities, potential risks, guidance systems), the provision of information (description of the path, context, presentation of the information – pictures, braille, audio, simple language, sign language) and configuration of the stations along the trail (height, palpability, wheelchair accessibility). The guideline makes it possible to assess the aspects of accessibility a path can be adapted to. A special emphasis has been put on preparing information in a way that makes it useful for impaired people.

Being an international team, we tried to compile a general picture of the reality of nature experience in our project countries as well as ideas of what to look for if you are designing barrier-free offers in nature. As a first introduction to the topic, we recommend our Prezi presentation. Unfortunately, the Prezi-tool is not barrier-free. For a barrier-free access please use the transcription of the presentation. Both the link to the presentation and transcription download can be found to the right of this text.

Below you will find the brochure as well as the complementing decision matrix for the self-check of existing and planned nature trails. The barrier-free versions are in work and will be published soon on this page.

For the transcription of the Prezi presentation in PDF format, click here.