Thinking about the All-Terrain Wheelchair at Work

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Went out to take photographs of my colleague using the all-terrain wheelchair at @riveredgenaturecenter today. A local media outlet is writing an article and invited pictures to go alongside. The forest was a humid mist of evaporating morning rain and this is my favorite shot of the bunch. I’m glad we have this vehicle to lend out to people to get outside. It’s strange growing up as one of two children with both of you having a 50% chance of developing Huntington’s Disease. Although you both have the same likelihood, a precisely identical genetic lottery, it always feels like one of you will get it and one won’t. For whatever reason, my brother got it and I didn’t. When people bring the chair back I usually take the long way around the building and through the prairie to return it inside. The wheelchair is slower than my walking pace, provides a landscape view more obstructed by flora, and I have to pay greater attention to avoid potential trail hazards. An excellent exercise in being very mildly inconvenienced – after all this is a tank of a wheelchair designed for trails. I’m always amazed at how impatient I feel when initially achieving its top speed. I don’t pretend this extra 10-minute excursion makes me some sort of empathy savant. But at least it’s a brief experience of what some people’s everyday is like. I invite you to hop in a wheelchair sometime, manual or powered, it’s a worthwhile experience. The last time I brought the tank chair around the long way I saw my first hummingbird of the year. Where it was located, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at my standard pace and height.

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New Wheelchair Accessible Trails and Boardwalks at Schlitz Audubon

I’m excited to get to know this new wheelchair accessible trail and boardwalk at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. This new trail network is the result of years of planning and now physical work on the land. It’s part of a plan that incorporates ponds to sequester stormwater, which currently exacerbates ravine erosion into Lake Michigan. These ponds will also create wetland habitat and additional learning and wildlife viewing opportunities for visitors. Learn more about the details here on the Schlitz Audubon website.

I took this picture on the new boardwalk path a couple weeks ago. This section should be completed before the snow flies!