Montgomery Parks Helps Color Blind Visitors Experience Nature’s Colors with EnChroma Glasses
– Montgomery Parks and EnChroma® Team to Enhance Accessibility for Guests –
Wheaton, MD & Berkeley, CA – October 18, 2023 – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Montgomery Parks, announced a collaboration with EnChroma® to enhance color accessibility for people with color blindness. Montgomery Parks will loan EnChroma glasses for red-green color-blind guests to borrow during visits so that they may experience the many colors of nature in Maryland.
“Montgomery Parks is committed to providing inclusive opportunities for people with all types of disabilities,” said Jennene Blakely, Montgomery Parks program access manager. “We believe that everyone should be able to experience the natural beauty in our parks.”
One in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women (.5%) are Color Vision Deficient (CVD); an estimated 13 million in the United States, 350 million worldwide and roughly 263,000 in Maryland alone. In 2021, the state welcomed 35.2 million visitors, an estimated 1.5 million of whom were color blind.
While people with normal color vision see over one million shades of color, the color blind only see an estimated 10% of hues and shades (see images below). As a result, colors can appear dull, indistinct and difficult to discern, with red appearing brown; green seemingly gray, tan or yellow; pink looking gray; and purple the same as blue.
Click here to see more images of the colors of Montgomery Parks as they appear to the color blind.
“Nature is full of so much vibrant color and detail, which many people who are Color Vision Deficient cannot fully experience,” said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. “It is inspiring that this initiative by Montgomery Parks will enable thousands of color blind people to see the reds, greens, oranges and maroons in Maryland’s fall leaves, and enjoy other colorful scenes in nature, for the first time with our glasses.”
To help celebrate Birdability Week 2023, on October 15 six local color-blind people came to Ray’s Meadow Local Park in Chevy Chase, Maryland to try the EnChroma glasses for the first time. The color-blind participants included a firefighter, an aquatic biologist, a correctional officer, a carpenter, a middle school student, and a park maintenance worker.
“Everything is so beautiful,” said Seth Heyer, age 14, a local student who is color blind and tried the glasses at the event. “I had no idea it is all so colorful!”
The EnChroma glasses will be available for color blind visitors to borrow, free of charge, at Brookside Gardens (1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD) and at a park of the borrower’s choosing through the Program Access office in Wheaton, MD. For details about how to reserve the glasses, please call 301-495-2581. For more information about the modifications and support services Program Access provides in parks, programs and special events, please visit MoCoParks.org/accessibility.
EnChroma Color Accessibility Program™
EnChroma is the lead advocate for “color accessibility” through its EnChroma Color Accessibility Program™. The program helps over 400 schools, universities, state and national parks, libraries, museums, and other organizations purchase and loan EnChroma glasses to color blind students and guests. Through partnerships with leading vendors, scenic viewers adapted for the color blind with EnChroma lenses are also available. EnChroma glasses and/or viewers for color blindness are now offered at over 50 state and national parks across 20 states. The program is open to employers.
EnChroma’s patented lens technology is engineered with special optical filters that enable people with red-green color blindness to see an expanded range of colors more vibrantly, clearly and distinctly. More media materials are available here.
About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org
Based in Berkeley, Calif., EnChroma produces leading-edge eyewear for color blindness and low vision, and other solutions for color vision, sold online and through Authorized Retailers worldwide. Invented in 2010, EnChroma’s patented eyewear combines the latest in color perception, neuroscience and lens innovation to improve the lives of people with color vision deficiency around the world. EnChroma received an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It earned the 2016 Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration in recognition of the firm’s innovative impact on the human experience through technology, and the 2020 Innovation Award in Life Sciences from the Bay Area’s East Bay Economic Development Alliance. Call 510-497-0048 or visit enchroma.com to learn more.
Montgomery Parks, M-NCPPC
Media Relations Manager
Vice President of Communications and Partnerships