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New Sensory Trail at Boston Nature Center aims to make connecting with the outdoors more accessible

Posted by Patrick Rosso  October 17, 2013 01:27 PM

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(Image courtesy Boston Nature Center)


Although it is a quick trip to the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Boston Nature Center, experiencing all the sights and sounds at the urban green space is not always easy, especially for those with disabilities.

This Saturday, the center will unveil its new Sensory Trail, which will provide visitors with more opportunities to experience the flora and fauna found at the Mattapan-based center.

“Mass Audubon is committed to making all its sanctuaries as accessible as possible and this is part of that,” said Julie Brandlen, director of the Boston Nature Center. “We want to make sure individuals who may be blind or hard of hearing or who have mobility issues have a place at the nature center.”

The trail, which winds through the sanctuary’s wetlands and meadows, has interactive tools that help users better understand the environment that surrounds them.

The 12 new stations along the one-mile route provide narration as well as Braille signs. The new features also ensure that all users can experience life in the sanctuary.

“We want people to be able to have access to the beauty that is right here in Mattapan,” Brandlen said. “Everything in the outdoors is dependent on our behavior, and we want to encourage people to come here enjoy the outdoors and hopefully instill a want to protect it.”

The upgrades, which also feature audio tours in both English and Spanish, were partially paid for by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, according to Brandlen.

“Coming to the Boston Nature Center is a way you can really connect to nature and be able to see life in a different way,” said Brandlen. “The landscape you are in tells a story and in our case many of the stops will highlight those.”

A ceremony to welcome the new features will be held October 19 starting at 10 a.m. After the event guided tours of the new trail will be offered by staff members and volunteers.

Located at 500 Walk Hill St. on the former site of the Boston State Hospital, the 64-acre sanctuary offers two-miles of trails in addition to access to wildlife and educational materials.

More information about the center and its programs can be found here.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.


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