Deaf Unity & Living Options Devon hold the first BSL bat walk
Published: Aug 7th, 2016
The Heritage Ability project, run by Living Options Devon, was delighted to have the support of Deaf Unity’s Deaf Alumni Programme Manager, Alasdair Grant, who is working towards his bat licence to run the first deaf-led bat walk in the UK. The project took place at the Love Parks event at Cockington Country Park, Devon on 17 July 2016 and we had a fantastic turn out.
The highlight was Alasdair’s inspiring bat walk in British Sign Language, which one Deaf participant described as “A memorable and unique experience”. The walk included watching Soprano Pipistrelles and Lesser Horseshoe Bats exiting their roosts in outbuildings in Cockington Court, and Common Pipistrelles, Serotine and Noctule bats feeding in the park and lakes area.
The walk provided a unique opportunity for D/deaf people to see and learn more about the lifestyle of our British bats, and how to identify different bat species using bat detectors with visual sonograms which are suitable for deaf people. The Natural History Book Service, which is based in nearby Totnes, loaned the Heritage Ability team a Wildlife Acoustics Echometer Touch bat detector, which connects to an iPad to provide an excellent and very accessible visual display of bat calls in real time.
Living Options and Deaf Unity very much hope to run further bat walks in the future and would be delighted to advise other organisations and bat groups on how to lead bat walks for D/deaf people.
The Heritage Ability Project supports heritage sites in South West England to improve accessibility for disabled people. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project is currently piloting different approaches with partner sites including museums, country parks, nature reserves and historic houses.
Previous news item: Deaf Unity announces the Deaf and Disability Careers Fair 2016
Next news item: 1 in 4 deaf people face job discrimination