In 1973 at age 14, Virginia Rose was injured in a horseback riding accident and continued her life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. She taught college and high school English for 28 years and retired 2 years ago in 2016. Virginia began birding in 2003 after hearing a lecture on breeding success of the house finch in Austin, sponsored by Travis Audubon. She took every TAS class and went on as many field trips as I could, working around my busy teaching career. The Travis Audubon teachers and field trip leaders never said no to me, not once. They took me everywhere the other walking birders went. When I could not get to the LeConte’s sparrow, the leader and birders encircled the bird and moved it to within 6 feet of me. A lifer.
Viginia began leading beginning birding birdwalks in 2010 and has identified over 30 accessible birding spots in Austin. Then joined the Travis Audubon Board of Directors in 2017. She did her first independent Birdathon in April, 2018. From dawn to dusk, Virginia visited 5 accessible parks, wheeled about 10 miles, and saw 52 bird species.
Birding brought her a serious, joyful, and meaningful experience complete with a community willing to include her on every level. Viginia wanted to bring the birding experience to as many mobility-challenged people as she could and initiated Birdability just a couple short months ago. Viginia have already led 2 walks with people in wheelchairs I did not know.
The ultimate goal is to introduce mobility-challenged people to birding in as many locations as possible and create teams in locations which can host other teams. So, an Austin team can invite a Houston team to bird the accessible Austin sites and then Houston can reciprocate and host Austin to see all the accessible Houston sites. Ultimately, Viginia would like to see Birdability across the U. S. and beyond.
- life forming remembrances of your childhood.
- life-changing event that brought you to the chair at the age of 14.
- What led you to become an educator?
- Embers from early childhood were fanned and you became an avid birder.
- Beginning birdwalks in Austin, active in the local Travis Audubon Society.
- into and around a places in a wheel chair
- Goals and benefits Birdability.
Mentioned In Episode:
Interested in learning more about Viginia Rose and Birdability. At Ms. Rose’s request please click and contact Mardi Dickinson by sending a message with your details and contact information and I will pass the message along.
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