KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Students at Dogwood Elementary look forward to field trips throughout the year, and educators usually take students along the Dogwood Community Trail to teach them about the outdoors. However, some students do not get the chance to enjoy the trails.
Now, after the Legacy Parks Foundation donated an adaptive wheelchair to the school, more students will have the chance to enjoy the outdoors. Before the donation, students with mobility disabilities were not able to take part in outdoor educational opportunities because the trail did not meet ADA regulations.
The wheelchair, a GRIT Freedom Chair Junior, is meant to provide access in a way that is natural for students. With the chair, students will experience the bumps and turns of the outdoors.
"There is just a little bit of a difference being off-road and off-pavement," said Carly Pearson, a wheelchair racer. "I can't really articulate what that feels like, but everyone comes back from the woods in a good mood."
Officials said the donation will allow students to be more active, independent and adventurous.
The Legacy Parks Foundation is also working to raise funds so that nature trails around the school can be transitioned, allowing access to students of all ability to use them.