Watsonville Nature Center

Bev and Vic Clifford, members of Silicon Valley Council of the Blind (SVCB) (http://svcb.cc) were introduced to the City of Watsonville Nature Center, (https://www.cityofwatsonville.org/684/Nature-Center) in 2018 by Jean and Terry Stone, residents of Pelican Point at Pajaro Dunes. Ranger Cindy Scott took them on such a wonderful bird tour throughout the wetlands and trails that they came back again several months later with two more members (John and Susan Glass) of their support group for the blind and visually impaired. Part of the visits included examining the topographical map that shows the entire watershed area—water ways, buildings, streets, etc. Seeing the limitation to those with vision issues, Bev (without sight) and Vic (with sight) offered to prepare braille labels to augment the information presented by the map.

Vic and Bev researched the labelling medium to best use on the map by contacting The Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. They then prepared test labels and tried them out on an older map to ensure the concept would work. Seeing that the potential to bring pertinent information to those with visual impairments was achievable, they prepared more than one hundred braille labels of various lengths. When ready they came to the nature center and spent in excess of three hours affixing them where warranted.

Thanks to an introduction from Jean and Terry, there now exists a very valuable asset for the blind and visually impaired community to aid in exploring a beautiful estuary and all its surroundings. SVCB is now exploring how to arrange tours for others who would benefit from visiting the nature center and all that it has to offer.