Adaptive adventure

Chad Erickson Memorial Park, located on La Crosse’s southside, is home to the newest ‘Born Learning Trail’ with an adaptive component, thanks to a UWL class.

UWL class adds accessibility to learning trail

When Dave and Barb Erickson helped create one of La Crosse’s newest parks, Chad Erickson Memorial Park, in honor of their late son, they did it with a theme of inclusivity.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to us to come out here seeing people enjoying themselves in this park,” says Barb.

That vision took another step forward this month, thanks to a community partnership including UWL.

The Great Rivers United Way opened a Born Learning Trail June 14. The trail provides fun, yet educational, experiences as parents and children walk through

There is also a second set of signs — Chad’s Challenge — that is designed so kids of all abilities can enjoy them. For example, all of the signs were printed with braille, so children who are blind can still participate.

Students in a UWL’s inclusive recreation class created those signs. “The UWL class took this on with great gusto,” says Mary Kay Wolf, executive director of Great Rivers United Way and UWL alumna. “They didn’t think just a couple of signs would be appropriate, so they created all the signs”

“UWL is a great partner in a lot of ways,” says Wolf. “They never cease to amaze me in their desire to partner or take on a new project.”