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Birding is for everybody and every body, regardless of disability or health concern. As we all get older, we lose some of our hearing, mobility, and vision. One in four Americans have a significant disability, and an estimated 5% of Americans experience short-term disabilities each year.

On Tuesday, September 26, the Lane County Audubon Society  starts its new season of program meetings with a presentation about how we can make birding more accessible to a wider segment of our population. Sarah Merkle (they/them), the Director of Development at the McKenzie River Trust, will be our speaker. They will explain how we all benefit from inclusivity by adopting a broader definition of “birding.” Participants will also hear about ways to improve our communication and pay more attention to the accessibility needs of other birders.

Sarah Merkle joined McKenzie River Trust in 2023. Originally from the California coast, they received their undergraduate degree from UC Santa Cruz, where they developed a passion for old growth redwood forests and rivers. After completing a graduate degree at Mills College, they moved to Oregon in 2016. They now have more than 10 years of experience working in nonprofits, both as an administrator and as a direct service provider focusing on mental health, social justice, community advocacy, and peer support. They spend their free time exploring, birding, camping, writing, and working at learning how to talk to plants.

Please plan to join us at the Campbell Center at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, September 26. This program meeting will also be available over a Zoom connection for those who prefer to participate from home. A link to the Zoom meeting will be available on our website about one week before the meeting. For directions to the Campbell Center see map.