Indra Kurzeme from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne and Janene Sadhu from Vision Australia talk to us about what it was like training the Garden Ambassadors to do tours with audio description for people who have no or low vision.
This audio description video has been developed by the Better Health Channel.

Today we talk to Indra Kurzeme from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne and Janene Sadhu from Vision Australia. The video starts with Indra who is standing in the gardens. It is a wide shot in front of Eucalypt Walk which contain stringybarks, box, blood wood and ironbark eucalypts.

Hi I’m Indra Kurzeme, I’m the volunteer coordinator here at the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Cranbourne.

I have about 50 volunteers here whom we call our garden ambassadors. They’re responsible for taking groups on tours. They’re also responsible for providing general garden advice as well as advice about the landscape and how it was constructed.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne is for everyone and we have made sure that we include all kinds of groups and part of that is making sure our garden ambassadors are trained to take tours for all kinds of people.

We spent some time today with Janene Sadhu from Vision Australia training people on how to give audio description tours. The garden is a wonderful place to engage all your senses, so the beauty of the garden here in Cranbourne is that you can touch things, you can feel the texture of the bark, you can crush the leaves and smell the fragrances. There’s a whole range of different surfaces as well for people to walk over. It’s about embracing all your senses and it’s a wonderful place to do that.

Janene sits on a bench in front of the Dry Riverbed and the Red Sand Garden. Red Sand Garden is a large flat expanse of red sand which represents central Australia.

I’m Janene Sadhu I work at Vision Australia coordinating a service called the audio description service. I did some training with the volunteers who take tours of the Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne so that people who have no or low vision can experience the garden in a meaningful way.

Janene trains the guides in a small room. She is standing face to face with one of them and is explaining how to make contact with someone with low or no vision.

I don’t know where Mark is exactly until he has contact with me so touching on the back of the hand is the least obtrusive way of doing it.

The only thing that really isn’t helpful is pointing and saying ‘over there’.

*laughter*

Every volunteer had a chance to guide me around part of the garden in the garden tour that we did today. They also audio described what they could see which was just fantastic. It gave me a really good and true picture of the gardens that we covered today.

Janene and one of the guides are in the garden in front of a salt bush plant. Janene bends down to touch the salt bush plant.

Wow - I’ve never felt salt bush before. It’s really tough isn’t it.

The leaves are really small.

Janene stands in front of a flowering gum tree with one of the guides.

Feel that.

Wow.

It’s the whole heads of flowers and they’re a brilliant pink - like a lipstick pink. And they’re very soft.

They’re gorgeous.

Janene is holding a low hanging branch of eucalpyt, feeling the shape of the leaves.

One side is wider than on the other side. Oh okay.

Janene stands on a gravel path in the Peppermint garden. She’s picking some of the mint off the bush and smelling it.

Smells gorgeous.

It was such a fantastic experience - I really can’t say how good it was. I’d recommend anyone to come to the Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne because it’s a fantastic place.

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Last updated: October 2015

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