Good practices

Nature without Barriers - Assuring the access to nature education and nature experience for impaired people

This European project aimed to make nature an experience available for everyone. Access to nature is often difficult for people with disabilities. Ramps instead of steps are not enough to make an area barrier-free. Accessibility means that services are readily available to everyone without outside help. Ramps, but also sign language, Braille boards, and audible information contribute to this.

Because nature conservation centers and environmental educators have little practical material of the topic of barrier free nature experience, the project partnership addressed this obvious lack. 

It is necessary to create more barrier-free access so that everyone can experience nature.

 With this project, they wanted to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the EU and inspire all Europeans for nature. 

Year(s): 2018-2021

Target group(s): Adult educators, disabled people, nature guides for tours for people with disabilities, Nature conservation centres, environmental educators

Website or other online channels: https://www.nature-without-barriers.eu/de/

Methodology

The project wanted to foster adult education for nature experience by developing, testing and disseminating educational material. It concentrated on fostering skills of environmental educationists with respect to disabled people and provided guidance for two main questions:

How can experts working in the field of environmental education improve their offer for guided nature experience for impaired people?

How can nature trails be prepared and/or altered for the unaccompanied use by impaired people?

 The material developed enables its users to set personal pedagogical goals and to follow the success thanks to accompanying checklists. The whole material is freely available for the broad audience under the Common Creatives-license on this webpage. 

Type of product

Online resource

Brief description of the outcomes

Nature experience and education for people with disabilities

In the guideline, nature educationists find suggestions how to plan, prepare, organise and realise guided nature tours for groups of persons with different disabilities.

Link to the Guidline: Guidline

 

Self-determined nature experience

The practice-oriented brochure focuses on the redesign of nature trails and experiences for barrier-free independent (or self-determined) use by people with disabilities. The brochure provides an insight into the current reality of accessibility in nature conservation centres and contains theoretical principles and practical recommendations for removing barriers.

Here you can find the link to the practical brochure and an evaluation tool: Brochure

 

Eliminating physical barriers

This brochure is a guideline on elimination of physical barriers. On around 60 pages, they present practical solutions to adopt nature experience offers to different user groups with mobility restrictions for a self-determined (unguided) nature experience.

Here you can find the link to the Brochure: Brochure

 

Eliminating communication barriers

This is an educational guideline on elimination of communication barriers identified with the matrix (see Self-determined nature experience). It supports nature conservationists and pedagogical personal of conservation centres to learn how to overcome communication barriers when working with impaired people and shows methodology how to implement the measures for a self-determined (unguided) nature experience.

 Here you can find the link: Brochure

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

The project intended to help environmental educators to moreover identify opportunities for more accessibility and inclusion in their offers. The guidelines give ideas and support in the offer design.

The great variety of guidelines, practical suggestions, models and methodologies makes it easy to adapt and can be used for upskilling of adult educators in nature. 

The practical material of the topic of barrier free nature experience is easy to adapt and useful for environmental educators.

 It has a great impact on people with disabilities, because the project helps to make nature accessible and independently usable.  

Promoter of the initiative: Umweltdachverband - Environmental Umbrella Organization (strategic partnership Germany=Coordinator, Austria, Hungary and Poland)

Country: Austria Germany Hungary Poland

Languages available: English Hungarian Polish German

Website or other online channels: www.umweltdachverband.at

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