Reconnecting with community and nature through an accessible sensory trail at Binna Burra Lodge [Sensory trail proposal report]

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Englert, Freya
Greenwood, Jorja
Dupre, Karine
Roberts, Melanie
van der Have, Jankees
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Executive Summary This project, developed with Griffith Architecture and Design, Griffith Occupational Therapy and Binna Burra Lodge, provided the opportunity for two student occupational therapists at Griffith University to undertake a 12-week placement. The purpose of this project is to provide concept options for a new sensory trail at Binna Burra Lodge for people of all abilities, after the destruction of their existing sensory trail from the 2019 bushfire. This report is the synthesis of the work undertaken by these two students. Methodologically, the students used a mixed-mode approach to undertake their research, which includes scholarly research on what is a sensory trail, the context of Binna Burra, and disability safety considerations and standards that must be adhered to. A survey was developed and sent to various groups of individuals who may be potential consumers of the sensory trail. Questions aimed to understand the current frequency of bushwalking and visiting national parks and the reasons for this, as well as any challenges individuals may experience when bushwalking or visiting national parks. Additionally, the survey asked the individuals to explain what they pay attention to when bushwalking or visiting national parks, and how they use their senses to interact with these environments. Finally, the questions were directed at understanding what sensory experiences individuals dislike when bushwalking or visiting national parks and what they would like to see in the development of a sensory trail. Additionally, six precedents of existing sensory trails and gardens around the world were analysed. A mixed-methods approach was used to identify the strengths and weaknesses including reviews sourced from online forums, in-person visits, a visual analysis of photographs, and a review of existing literature. The main findings were that people would like to have a sensory trail at Binna Burra Lodge and there are various locations that are suitable for a sensory trail to be built. Additionally, pragmatic and safety considerations have been suggested, such as the importance of having flat and sealed pathways for wheelchair access, and benches for resting. Furthermore, an overarching theme and design of the sensory trail is proposed, following the shape of the Antarctic Beech Tree. Finally, suggestions including important elements to feature in the sensory trail have been provided, as well as a sustainability plan upon implementation of the sensory trail including maintenance, marketing, and review of success. Visiting national parks and participating in bushwalks is an important leisure or self-care occupation that has a positive influence on health and wellbeing (Craik & Pieris, 2006; Paggi et al., 2016; Nadasen, 2008). Leisure occupations are often undervalued due to barriers such as lack of time, money, and motivation (Reichert et al., 2007). For individuals with a disability, there is reduced engagement in leisure due to stigma, discrimination and environmental, social and economic barriers (Condie, 2019). Therefore, the proposed sensory trail at Binna Burra Lodge would demonstrate and promote the importance of inclusivity and creating accessible spaces for individuals of all abilities, aligning with sustainable development goal three and 10 (increasing health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities). This increase in inclusivity through accessibility at Binna Burra Lodge will allow for the promotion of health and wellbeing for all abilities through engagement in meaningful occupations.

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© 2022 Griffith University and the Author(s). The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher’s website for further information.
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Community planning
Occupational therapy
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Englert, F; Greenwood, J; Dupre, K; Roberts, M; van der Have, J,Reconnecting with community and nature through an accessible sensory trail at Binna Burra Lodge [Sensory trail proposal report], 2022