National Parks for All: Visitor Services Using Sign Language

KNPS
Published: 15 November 2021
Last edited: 15 November 2021
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Summary

Visitor services for deaf and hearing-impaired community have been prepared in Korean National Parks; illustrated encyclopedia and nature commentary videos using sign languages.

The sign language-based illustrated encyclopedia for insects and plants was published by the Bukhansan National Park Dobong Office in 2020, and it contains 60 species that are easily seen in the national park. To overcome the lack of sign words for flora and fauna, sign language specialists cooperated with park rangers to make new sign names. 

In Juwangsan National Park, sign language-based nature commentary videos were produced with cooperation with local sign language interpretation center. The video introduces the ecology, historical tales, and major attraction sites of Juwangsan with sign language for deaf and hearing-impaired community who had little opportunities to enjoy nature and culture due to the lack of materials using the sign language.

Classifications

Region
East Asia
Scale of implementation
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Buildings and facilities
Forest ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Theme
Outreach & communications
Tourism
Challenges
Lack of access to long-term funding
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Business engagement approach
Indirect through government

Location

Bukhansan National Park, 성북구 보국문로 262, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul 01002, South Korea | Bukhansan National Park, Juwangsan Nationl park
주왕산국립공원, 부동면 공원길 169-7, Cheongsong-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do 37437, South Korea
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Impacts

Before the projects, the number of flora and fauna words in the Korean sign language dictionary was only  61, which accounts  0.3% of 17,242 words in the dictionary. This causes limitations to accurate communication using ecological terms through sign language.

However, through the sequence of projects, Korea National Park Service (KNPS) contributed greatly to increasing the number of ecological terms and expression using sign language and laid down a foundation for the standard by publishing the first illustrated encyclopedia for ecology using sign language in Korea. In 2021, 50 species of insects and plants will be added up in the encyclopedia and by 2022 new illustrated encyclopedia for birds and mammals will be published.  

These efforts provide more opportunities with discrimination-free visitor services unique to national parks, which allows to satisfy the diverse needs of the hearing-impaired and supporting social participation by expanding the access to natural interpretation. The Services will be expanded to 10 national parks during 2021, and all 22 national parks by 2022.

Contributed by

Korea National Park Service - KNPS Korea National Park Service