Anyone who manages or works in the natural environment can have an influence on how it is presented to the general public.
Stimulating Visitor Senses
To include everyone, in the enjoyment of the natural world, logic suggests that a visitor attraction must strive to stimulate all five senses.
By definition, every nature attraction wants to offer all visitors an enjoyable and often an educational experience. Therefore, it is not just the visitor Experience managers that should be aware of the potential non-visual aspects of their venues and sites. Countryside wardens, wildlife park rangers, zoo keepers, collection curators, Head Gardeners, nature Reserve staff and ecologists are all in a good position to identify existing and initiate new, opportunities to present the natural world in ways that appeal to the senses of every visitor.
Bryan’s Quest exists to highlight and champion all the wonderful exhibits, services and natural opportunities for people to use the senses of touch, hearing, smell and taste to appreciate the natural world, as opposed to – ‘just looking’ at it!
If your organisation has devoted resources, time and effort, to recognise the value of awakening the senses, then society should be told. The chances for visually impaired people, in particular, to learn about and be fully included in the natural world are sadly lacking; anywhere that addresses this issue will be welcomed by many and your visitor numbers can only rise.
Action You Can Take
Start, by identifying the non-visual sensory opportunities you already offer. Hopefully, you’ll find you have things for visitors to hear, touch, smell and even taste (don’t forget to include your café). For a definition and many practical examples read through our Non-visual Nature page.
By way of ‘encouragement’ the Bryan’s Quest, 90 seconds short, introductory video contains a passionate plea.
Once you have listed the non-visual aspects of the exhibits, services and natural features at your establishment, the next step is to inform people that you have them available. You can reach many interested parties and potential visitors by adding your details to the Sensational Nature Access Knowledge Exchange (SNAKE) Directory. This is a totally free service, our aim is to encourage places to offer more sensory opportunities and to let everyone know about them.
Go to the Submissions Form page; to ensure your nature place gets included.
New Sensory Opportunities
After you’ve submitted your current listing, it’s time to look to the future. Please do consider what else might be done at your nature place, to increase the number of sensory experiences. You may wish to sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date with what other nature organisations are doing for Non-visual Nature, around the UK. Don’t forget to tell us of any of your own ideas, plans and new services and we can feature them.
The creative use of ‘audio description’ (AD) and life-size or scale models can be deployed to great effect. Most of the world’s flora and fauna is either; too big, too tiny, too dangerous, or just too far away, to be touched. In any-case wildlife should not be approached by humans, let alone handled!
It is worth bearing in mind, that good ‘access’ in all its forms is usually an important part of any funding application, so paying attention to stimulating all five senses can only be advantageous and truly inclusive!