Seneca Park Zoo hosts Deaf Culture Awareness Day


ROCHESTER, NY — Rochester is home to one of the largest deaf and hard of hearing populations in the nation.

Because of this, the Seneca Park Zoo is looking to be more inclusive.

Teaming up with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Rochester School for the Deaf, the zoo was able to host its first Deaf Culture Awareness Day.

Around the zoo, guests could find ASL signage and videos about animal species, facts and zoo navigation.

The Seneca Park Zoo Society president and ceo says the staff even went through basic ASL classes to make visitors feel more welcomed.

“This is just one step,” Pamela Reed Sanchez said. “It’s not just one day we are dedicating to deaf awareness, but [we are] kicking off a different culture here by welcoming everyone.”

“This partnership is so important to us because it can provide access to deaf and hard of hearing children as well as adults to really educate themselves on the deaf community here in Rochester,” said Karen Windhorn, director of early childhood and kindergarten programs at the Rochester School for the Deaf.

Zoo officials say this is just the beginning to bring deaf culture to the forefront in Rochester’s communities.

According to the zoo, Rochester has more than 90,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing.



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