ELMIRA, N.Y (WENY) -- Theo Summerville is a patrol leader with boy scout troop 43. In hopes of becoming an eagle scout, he's spent the past two years making the Aviary Loop at Tanglewood Nature Center more accessible and enjoyable for those with visual impairments.
"This will allow them to be more immersed in the outdoors," says Summerville. "The signs include a lot of verbiage about the birds, about what's around the area, the sights, the sounds, what you're going to hear, without saying stuff you may see. It's going to say what you may feel [and] what you may sense."
The finished project includes signs using high-contrast text for those with minor impairments and braille. Each sign explains the birds on-site, as well as some of the other nature features in the loop.
A bright yellow nylon rope also allows individuals to experience the walk without relying on someone to guide them.
The team worked with a mobility specialist to best identify a tackle the issues many visually impaired people face.
A team, lead by Summerville, also worked to build and assemble multiple sensory boxes filled with unique items native to Tanglewood. For example, animal fur, feathers and bones.
So far Tanglewood staff have received nothing but positive feedback.
Summerville will now sit down with a local council to review his work, in hopes of earning that new rank.
"It feels like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders," he explains. "This has been a really hard project, a long time coming and it feels great to finally have it done."