An inclusive experience with nature for people with disabilities

A jay bird sits on a tree branch.

I just spoke to Dr. Sarah Bell at the University of Exeter about her research called “Sensing Nature.” I have been fascinated for some time about decentering vision from our discussion. If you have been listening regularly you know this has been a recent theme on The Pulse with some of our more recent guests. 

For the longest time, when I was outdoors, on a hike for instance, I felt like a pretender or an interloper. I frankly wondered what I was supposed to get out of it as a person with a disability. Certainly no one told me that hearing, feeling, and exploring with the other senses were equally valid ways of being in the world. 

I loved finding out that I wasn’t alone in craving a degree of solitude as a person with a visual impairment. I took great comfort in the notions of perceived independence and interdependence put forward by Sarah and the role that skill-development (such as excellent White Cane skills) have on nature exploration. 

I would encourage you to explore outdoors to your heart’s content and also to check out the Sensing Nature website at