Beginning in 2018, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) launched American Sign Language (ASL) friendly programming and events, thanks to the help of advocate and deaf staff member, Jennifer Reilly. A member of the Research team, Jen serves as LMC’s Field Operations Assistant, where she monitors the world’s most densely populated loggerhead sea turtle nesting beach and serves as the on-campus liaison for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Regular tasks include, discussing events and programs through vlogs and welcoming guests with ASL guided programs.
Jen has a passion for combining advocacy and accessibility in marine biology and conservation; making information more readily available for the Deaf community. ASL Guided Programs came to fruition at LMC when the nonprofit received a unique request for a sign language interpreter from a first-time, deaf guest. LMC referred them to Jen, who was ecstatic to utilize her ASL skills on the private tour. The tour turned out to be a huge success that LMC moved forward with offering regular ASL guided private tours to all deaf visitors.
With resounding support from LMC’s Research and Education departments, Jen implemented ASL Guided Programs in 2018, being the first-of-its-kind. Programs offered to Deaf communities include, but are not limited to public and private guided tours, virtual tours, sea turtle walks, sea turtle hatchling releases, and sunrise nest excavations. These programs serve to increase awareness on current issues in marine conservation, using American Sign Language. To date, LMC has welcomed over 20 groups to participate in these programs.
As we move into 2020, and approach a new event season, Jen has offered her services to help ensure all LMC events, such as LMC’s Blue Friday event, are accessible to the Deaf community. We invite you to learn more about our holiday event by viewing Jen’s vlog:
ASL Video Transcript:
Hi! My name is Jen, and this is my name in sign. I am one of the sea turtle biologists on staff here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center. I also take the lead on ASL Guided Programs that include tours, night turtle walks/encounters and sunrise nest excavations.
We have an event coming up on Friday November 29th – “Blue Friday.” The purpose of this event is to encourage people to “Opt Outside” on Black Friday by coming out to LMC to learn how to better respect and give back to our environment.
This event is family-friendly, FUN and free! It will run from 10:00AM until 4:00PM. We will be offering activities, crafts and marine conservation education.
Prior to the event, we will be hosting a beach cleanup at 9:00AM. If you’d like to come help out at the cleanup, we will gift you with… YES, a free tour in ASL to participate in on the very same day! The tour will take about 15 minutes and will take place within the gated area of the outdoor sea turtle hospital where you will get to see some of our current sea turtle patients. There, you will be learning about their history, their diagnoses and what kind of treatment they are receiving.
Once we finish with the tour, please consider staying as there is still more to do, more to see – so grab this opportunity to get to know more about Loggerhead Marinelife Center and the kind of work we do here. I will be here all day too! 🐢
For the beach cleanup, we will need to know how many Deaf folks will plan on attending to ensure we have enough time slots available for the tours during our “Blue Friday” event.
Please contact me as soon as possible by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon request, I will provide my work VP number via email. No plans on Friday the 29th? Don’t feel like shopping on Black Friday? COME! We hope to see you here (at LMC) on Blue Friday!