Virginia Rose broke her back in a horseback riding accident as a teenager and has used a wheelchair since. In the early 2000s, she began birding and joined Travis Audubon. In 2018, she launched Birdability. Her mission: to show others with mobility challenges what birding can offer them–the possibilities, the successes, the learning, the joy.
Rose has created a five-pronged approach to achieve her mission:
- Identify mobility-challenged Audubon members (includes grumpy joints and other aging body parts!) through Audubon chapters nationwide.
- Identify accessible birding sites through Audubon chapters nationwide.
- Identify and approach the mobility-challenged communities.
- Identify and approach the most accessible U.S. birding festivals.
- Identify and approach handicapped camps for kids nationwide.
Her ultimate goal, after introducing mobility-challenged people to the joys of birding, is to connect these birders within their cities and then connect them with other mobility-challenged birders across the country. Learn more about Rose’s initiative and what she’s doing locally and nationwide!
Virginia is happy to answer any questions from anyone about Birdability. If you or someone you know could benefit from Birdability, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rose keeps an updated blog about her local and national adventures as she spreads her interest in birding with other mobility-challenged folks.
Virginia has been accessing these sites over the last twenty years in her manual chair. Some sites have ADA bathrooms and parking while some do not. Additionally, some have sidewalks while others do not. Each site has its own challenges. Explore at your own risk and enjoy!
Mobility impairment should not be a barrier to those who want to get outside. But information on the accessibility of parks, hiking trails, and birding sites is frequently incomplete or non-existent, making it difficult for people who have mobility challenges to find places to bird. Browse and contribute to this map of accessible birding locations, created by National Audubon with inspiration and guidance from Virginia Rose.
- Birding Magazine 2019
- Audubon Magazine March 2019
- Texas Parks & Wildlife 2019
- See a complete archive of Birdability press on Virginia Rose’s blog.