ERIN CROUCH 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Chronicles of Lionism Children love C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and the Lions of Tennessee have made the story come alive, especially for those with vision impairment. In April, the Lions Narnia Braille Trail and Sensory Garden were dedicated as part of the Boundless Playground at Warrior Path State Park in Kingsport. Each of the 10 stops along the Braille Trail depicts a scene from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Children with vision problems can hear the gurgling of the creek at the Beaver’s House and the deep voice and roar of Aslan, the hero Lion. They can smell and taste different herbs in the sensory garden. Signs in Braille and large print also make the scenes accessible for those with vision impairments. Designed for children of all abilities, the facility provides entertainment, exercise and learning to the 250,000 children in the Tri-cities area. Children can walk through the wardrobe and feel the simulated fur coats from the story while smelling mothballs, sit at the stone table, or catch sight of the white stag near the lamppost. The pathways are paved with concrete for wheelchair access, and Aslan’s sleigh, resting tables and benches can also accommodate those in mobility devices. The trail and garden were funded in part by an LCIF grant. Lee Bryan, a vision specialist for Sullivan County Schools, described in an e-mail how the parents of a Braille student visited the trail with their daughter and her friends. “[They] said it was the first time that Sarah has been able to keep up with her peers and she was so excited.” At the dedication ceremony, Sarah said, “I really like the new Braille Trail. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of my favorite stories. I like being able to read the Braille, hear the recording and touch things like Mr. Tumnus’ Cave and the Beaver’s dam. Thank you for building the Braille Trail.” The Lions participated in every aspect from construction to signage. They also will hold a fix-up day several times a year to keep the sites looking new. The trail’s popularity is no surprise. As Lion Doug Haseltine noted at the dedication ceremony, “No one’s imagination is ever limited by sense of sight.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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