First nature fest for people with disabilities is Sept. 7

SARANAC LAKE — The first annual Adirondack Nature Festival for People with Disabilities will be held this coming fall at the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center.

The festival, on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be a free and accessible event, planned to run rain or shine. 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.

“Access to nature can be challenging for people with disabilities and the Paul Smiths 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, New York state Department of Environmental Conservation statewide ADA accessibility coordinator as a special guest speaker.

“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.

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. Learn more on the festival’s website.

“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.


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