Inclusion for disabled wildlife viewers: A literature review

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2024-05

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Abstract

The Dayer Lab of Human Dimensions at Virginia Tech has been working closely with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Working Group since 2020 to better understand wildlife viewers across the U.S., with the overarching goal of helping wildlife agencies better connect with their constituents in order to increase engagement with their agencies and support for conservation. In 2021, as part of this work, we conducted a national survey of wildlife viewers which had more than 4,000 respondents (http://hdl.handle.net/10919/111539) and found that 39% reported experiencing accessibility challenges while participating in wildlife viewing. If one in three wildlife viewers experience accessibility challenges, how can agencies ensure they are engaging and supporting wildlife viewers with disabilities? Disability is part of the human experience, but not much is known about disabled wildlife viewers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA; 1990) states that Title II entities must ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in all programs they offer. And yet, disabled wildlife viewers reported experiencing a wide range of barriers. This literature review was developed by an occupational therapist and two social scientists, all of whom identify as wildlife viewers with past or current experience with accessibility challenges when wildlife viewing due to disability or injury. This literature review provides a quick overview of published information about people with disabilities, wildlife viewing, and barriers to and facilitators of wildlife viewing for people with disabilities. It also collates best practices, based on the literature, to support the inclusion of disabled wildlife viewers.

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For more information, please contact Freya McGregor (freyamcgregor@vt.edu), Ashley Dayer (dayer@vt.edu) or Emily Sinkular (sinkular@vt.edu).

Keywords

Wildlife viewing, Birding, Disability, Inclusion, Literature review, Outdoor recreation

Citation

McGregor, F., Sinkular, E.N, & Dayer, A. A. (2024). Inclusion for disabled wildlife viewers: A literature review. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech. https://hdl.handle.net/10919/118918