DEVELOPING A PALEONTOLOGY WORKSHOP FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
In collaboration with staff from the Clark County School District Vision Services Department, visually impaired consultants, regional NPS staff, and the NPS Paleontology program, TUSK has developed a hands-on paleontology workshop for visually impaired high school students. This program was designed to simultaneously meet community-identified needs, NPS and park-specific missions, in addition to featuring an in-person fossil identification workshop and field trip to TUSK. The workshop features universal design including real fossils, fossil replicas, soundscapes, scents, and tactile objects to create an engaging and inclusive experience for both sighted and visually impaired students. The program also features a career-awareness component to expose students to natural resources and different professions in Earth sciences that they may have faced barriers pursuing. As this program develops, it can be adapted to other fossil parks and institutions in collaboration with local vision services programs, high schools, and/or universities to increase accessibility in geology and paleontology curricula and educational outreach.