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Guide aims to make geocaching easier for people with disabilities

Geocaching is a real-life scavenger hunt that connects players to nature and their community by encouraging activity and engagement. Thanks to the Fitness Inclusion Network (Fit-In), led by Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital pediatrician Nienke Dosa, MD, MPH, and students and staff from Upstate Medical University, it is now easier for individuals with disabilities to get in on the fun. In 2016, Fit-In released a pamphlet titled Accessible Geocaching, which introduces the hobby to people with mobility issues and offers a comprehensive guide on how to participate.

“This guide was created to highlight beautiful and accessible nature areas in our city and county parks,” Dosa said. “We also highlight accessible trails in state forests and fishing and hunting areas maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. We are really lucky here in central New York to have ready access to so much natural beauty.”

A geocaching hunt starts by choosing a cache to pursue based on its GPS coordinates. The Fit-In guide lists caches that are accessible to those with disabilities that may require them to use a wheelchair or other assistance. The new adventurer also receives a step-by-step guide on successful geocaching, including how to rate the accessibility of a cache. Information on local accessible nature areas and lists of resources available to persons with disabilities who want to spend more time in nature are also included.

The next booklet in this series to be released will highlight the Unified Yoga Program. Unified Yoga is an inclusive yoga program that originated in the Mainstream Program at the Southwest Community Center. Participants are teens and young adults, some of whom have developmental disabilities such as an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and autism.

To download a copy of “Accessible Geocaching,” visit Geocaching.

Caption: Accessible Geocaching helps people with disabilities, including mobility issues, spend time in nature and engage in their community by outlining caches and nature areas that are inclusive and accessible. In this real-life scavenger hunt participants choose a cache to seek based on it’s GPS coordinates, and make a record of their find.

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