Saturday, May 25, 2024

Adirondack Nature Festival for People with Disabilities set for Sept. 7

Saranac Lake, NY – The first annual Adirondack Nature Festival for People with Disabilities will be held this coming fall at the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center, on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The festival is a free and accessible event, that is planned to run rain or shine.

“Access to nature can be challenging for people with disabilities and the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center is a great location which includes trails that have gentler terrain and a wheelchair accessible trail,” said Helene Gibbens, co-chair of the festival’s planning committee.

The event is dedicated to bringing together people with disabilities, their families, friends, companions and supporters throughout the North Country region to celebrate and experience the uplifting power of community and nature, and to be a source of inspiration for each other.

Kim Hill Ridley, New York State Chief Disability Officer, as keynote speaker, will launch the festival, with Leah Akins, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Statewide ADA Accessibility Coordinator as a special guest speaker.

Leah Akins, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Statewide ADA Accessibility Coordinator. Adirondack Nature Festival For People With Disabilities website photo.

Kim Hill Ridley, New York State Chief Disability Officer. Adirondack Nature Festival For People With Disabilities website photo.

“Whether you are discovering the creations of regional artisans and artists, sampling a variety of tasty foods, participating in a nature workshop or experience, or just hanging out listening to live music, the Adirondack Nature Festival for People with Disabilities will provide an opportunity for people of various abilities to connect with nature in many different ways, as well as with each other,” said Nick Friedman, co-chair of the festival’s planning committee.

The event is organized by a committee of volunteers from Adirondack Riverwalking, Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living, and Accessible Adirondack Tourism. Please see the festival’s website for additional planning committee members and organizations.

There will be guided walks along the trails, birding, craft workshops, nature sensory play, story sharing around the campfire, live music, craft vendors, and food.

Through its fiscal sponsor, Accessible Adirondack Tourism, the festival welcomes personal donations and corporate sponsors. Donations can be made online through the festival’s website or by mail.

“A donation is a way to recognize that nature and its many benefits are for everyone. A donation makes nature accessible for people who often have limited opportunities and means to spend time in nature,” said Gibbens.

For additional information, questions, vendor forms and more, visit www.adirondacknaturefestivalforpeoplewithdisabilities.org

Photo at top: Adirondack Nature Festival For People With Disabilities website photo.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.




2 Responses

  1. christine duffy says:

    Will this event serve as a catalyst to launch inclusion and accessibility at other NYSDEC and NYS Parks to avoid isolating persons with a disability that want to enjoy their local parks, in their own communities, with their families and friends. What is happening locally, throughout the State to improve accessibility?

  2. christine duffy says:

    The festival should be named in honor of Debbie Roberts, a Schenectady woman that passed away in February, 2024, and was known to the NYSDEC as a woman with a disability, that spoke up on the lack of accessibility at NYSDEC parks. We should be celebrating her efforts to improve accessibility. Perhaps naming the event, The Adirondack Nature Festival in Honor of Debbie Roberts or the Debbie Roberts Adirondack Nature Festival would be a nice gesture. At the least, why do we have to have “for disabled” in the name of the event? It’s labeling and serves as a way to separate us out. Imagine a day when we can go to a festival and it is automatically inclusive of all people instead of having a festival for the disabled.

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