Color blind visitors to Ventura’s Botanical Gardens get new views with a new viewer and glasses

Board of Directors member Barbara Brown explaining the glasses to color blind participants.

by Richard Lieberman

Recently the Ventura Botanical Gardens announced the installation of a new specialized viewer for color- blind visitors and also new specialized glasses available to borrow. The installation of a specialized scope viewer allows color- blind visitors to see the true colors of the gardens. The viewer is installed at the Mereweather site in the Chilean Gardens. Often color-blind garden visitors cannot see the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges in flowering plants that are on display. This newly installed special viewer allows color-blind individuals to see the vibrant colors that non-colorblind individuals see. Color-blind visitors now can borrow a limited number of special glasses at the Merriweather Welcome Center and experience the true colors of the gardens for the first time in their lives.

Five color-blind visitors gathered on a Tuesday morning to try out the special glasses that would help them see the rich colors of the garden they have never seen before. They were given the glasses to take home and use for personal use. The visitors for this demonstration were Trent Barnhart, Joshua Goodman, Jeanette Licea, Tom Raetan and Matthew Serrano. The group was aged from 9 to 70 years old, and when they tried out the glasses all were amazed at the newly distinguishable colors of the flowering plants. “The poppies really stand out,” said Serrano

Jeanette Licea 9, of Oxnard was amazed trying on the glasses and “I love them,” she excitedly gushed out seeing color clearly for the first time. “I like not having to ask my friends what color something is.”

Joshua Goodman, 47 of Ventura excitedly walked around the grounds putting the glasses on and off amazed at the difference. He talked about the difficulties of dressing and noted he has always dressed in neutral tones to avoid color matching mistakes. Goodman added that color coding “is the worst for me,” Originally a professional in high tech where everything is color coded, he added “And people really like to color code things’” Currently Goodman is a voice actor, where his color blindness is not an issue.

The glasses were designed and distributed by EnChroma, the company that invented the glasses. The company offers an accessibility program for museums, gardens and similar institutions that provides a matching pair of glasses for each one purchased by the organization.

The glasses are able to help most people who are color-blind see a greater range of color, which gives them the ability to see sharply, with a greater range of color, and the ability to make what was always a dull landscape pop out, according to EnChroma.

Barbara Brown, a spokesperson for the Botanical Gardens said all the participants get to keep the glasses they tried as a thank you for participating in the demonstration.

The gardens have two pairs of glasses available for visitors use and expects to have more shortly. The garden now has the scope previously mentioned about halfway up the trail that is adjusted for color-blindness Brown added.

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