Nashville Zoo is excited to create greater access and inclusion for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities by partnering with local Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to host Deaf Day Out at the Zoo on Sunday, September 24.
This collaboration is an exciting celebration of equity and inclusion that will feature translated American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted animal chats, shows, tours and more.
Nashville Zoo and BridgesTN team members have been working together to translate zookeeper chats and educational signage into ASL throughout the Zoo. These videos will be activated on Deaf Day Out at the Zoo and guests can access them by scanning a QR code that will be added to the physical signage at the animal habitats. The translated videos are beneficial because it allows members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community to access this information in their primary language, allowing them to better understand and connect with the information.
Nancy Denning-Martin, President & CEO of Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing shared “BridgesDHH is excited to collaborate with the Nashville Zoo for our CommunityFEST, Deaf Awareness Month, and year-round. From Deaf Day Out at the Nashville Zoo on September 24th to the new QR codes on exhibits that will allow the Deaf community to access ASL interpretations, provided by Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, of the written information, we applaud the Nashville Zoo’s commitment to inclusion and thrilled to celebrate Deaf Awareness Month with them.”
“We are continually working to ensure that Nashville Zoo is accessible and inclusive to all members of our community,” said Nashville Zoo’s Education Director Roger Torbert. “We hope to give a higher level of access to Nashville’s Deaf community.”
The first animal ASL translations are Hyacinth macaw, gibbon, meerkat, tapir, Southern crested screamers, red ruffed lemur, red panda, clouded leopard, Andean bear, red river hog and Southern white rhino. In addition to the debut of the ASL translation videos, BridgesTN will have an information table set up in Entry Village and ASL interpreters located at different animal habitats throughout the day from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm. Nashville Zoo and BridgesTN are thrilled for this year’s event and plan to make it an annual occurrence.
About Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing builds access, equity, and inclusion in partnership with the D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing communities through advocacy, education, empowerment, and effective communication. Serving Middle Tennessee, BridgesTN offers a variety of services to the community, including Advocacy (systems change work), Adult Education & Outreach (ASL classes, workshops, employer, or group training, first responder training), Empowerment (a case management program), Interpreting Services, and Youth Education & Services (birth through high school and transitional services). In 2019, BridgesWEST opened in Memphis, TN to serve Shelby and surrounding counties as well as parts of Mississippi and Arkansas. In June 2023, Bridges EAST opened in Johnson City, TN and serves Northeastern TN and parts of North Carolina and Virginia. Learn more about our services by visiting bridgesfordeafandhh.org.
For more information and to view the translated ASL keeper chats, visit nashvillezoo.org.