Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary has created a variety of accessible experiences for teens and young adults with intellectual or learning disabilities, according to a press release.
These vocational internships, which help those with disabilities transition into the next part of their lives and careers, are funded by the Tower Foundation. This past year marked the sanctuary’s fifth year of the internships in partnership with the M.V. Regional High School’s Navigator and Voyager programs.
Work responsibilities for some of the internships include property maintenance, visitor services, education, and animal care. Felix Neck also offers programming for those with disabilities — all staff are trained to connect people with disabilities to the outdoors so everyone can enjoy the property in safe and rewarding ways. Access-able tours by golf cart offer an alternative way to explore the trails, led by Felix Neck staff.
A pollinator garden was constructed at the M.V. Center for Living site in Vineyard Haven. The Pollinating Partnerships Program, funded by the M.V. Community Foundation, connects people with both each other and the natural world. This program was able to bring together elders, preschool students, and youth with disabilities to work collectively, build relationships, and create a space that is beautiful, wildlife friendly, and provides enjoyment for staff and clients.
The work is not complete as additional features, including rain barrels and a water feature, will be added and the collaborations seeded will continue to bloom.