May 11, 2019

5:00 PM

Education Building

2019 Spring Lecture


Virginia Rose has been birding in a wheelchair for 17 years. During that time, she has not only been able to continue this important passion of hers, but she has collected empowering experiences. Listen to her story of creating Birdability, an initiative to get people with mobile disabilities out into nature through birds.

In 1973 at age 14, Virginia was injured in a horseback riding accident and continued her life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair.  She attended UT Austin and earned her BA in Advertising and MA in English, and then taught college and high school English for 28 years. She began birding in 2003 after encouragement from her sister Cathryn, an avid birder in Tucson, and joined the local Audubon society, Travis Audubon, enrolled in every class it offered, and went on as many field trips as she could, working around her full-time teaching career.  She then began leading beginner birding bird walks in 2010, and went on to identify over 30 accessible birding spots in Austin. She eventually joined the Travis Audubon Board of Directors in 2017.  Virginia did her first independent Birdathon in April, 2018. From dawn to dusk, she visited 5 accessible parks, wheeled about 10 miles, and saw 52 bird species with a New York photo journalist from National Audubon in tow!


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Cozen O'Connor