For those who live life with disabilities or developmental challenges, experiencing nature in a public park may not always be as easy as it is for others.
Martin Park Nature Center in northwest Oklahoma City has set up a series of monthly events geared toward helping people experience the outdoors, park naturalist Emily Hiatt said.
Hiatt has set up the “sensory afternoons” series for people who are blind, deaf, cognitively impaired or who have sensitivities to various environmental elements, she said.
“We just want everyone to experience the park,” Hiatt said.
The first of the four-month series was Nov. 17, for people who are blind.
A team of guide dogs helped people experience the outdoors.
“Everyone experiences the world around them in different ways,” Hiatt said.
“And sometimes we don't take the time to use all of our senses.”
Hiatt said, “There are people out there who have never had the chance to experience this.”
There was a deer pelt, a coyote pelt and a set of deer antlers blind people could touch and identify.
A game called “that moth” was played, like Marco Polo.
A person who was blindfolded pretended to be a bat looking for others who would say, “moth!”
There was a smell table to identify various smells, Hiatt said.
A number of volunteers will pitch in for other sensory Saturday afternoons, she said.
The events continue through February on the third Saturday of the month and are free to all ages.