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Accessibility Studies

CWU's Accessibility Studies Professors invited to address Washington Association of District Employees Conference

There are 45 Conservation Districts in Washington State, dedicated to work collaboratively  to help people responsibly and efficiently manage their land and conserve natural resources. They provide information and opportunities to make connections, so they all have websites. But are those websites accessible?

Laura Johnson, Communications Coordinator for the Washington State Conservation Commission, announced that Dr. Naomi Jeffery Petersen, who directs the new Accessibility Studies Program at CWU, has been invited to address website accessibility at their annual conference. Joining her will be Dr. Joshua Welsh of CWU's English Dept. who teaches ASP 435 Accessible Information Design.

The WADE conference will be held  June 11-13, 2018 at Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat in Leavenworth, WA. 

Drs. Petersen and Welsh will explain the new Washington State Policy 188 which requires all state agencies to designate an accessibility coordinator and draft an accessibliity plan ensuring that information is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust-- the four components of the internationally adopted WAG (website accessibility guidelines): "Accessible Website Design – Is Your Conservation District Website P.O.U.R.?"

The WAG guidelines ask four questions:

UN symbol for accessibility

  • Is it perceivable?
  • is it operable?
  • Is it understandable?
  • Is it robust?

At the WADE annual conference,  thre are tracks of workshops addressing  communication, outrach, and IT in addition to  strands on riparian rights, forestry, farming, and finance.  For example,   "Cultivating Environments for Everyone: Addressing Social Justice in your Programs and Outreach Efforts" will be presented by Dr. Kate Darby of Western Washington University which is introducing a minor degree program in Social and Environmental Justice. Scott Nicolai of the Yakima Nation Fisheries will present "Case Study: Stream and floodplain restoration using woody debris from forest health improvement projects in tributaries of the Yakima River."

Dr. Petersen is also working to provide professional development opportunities for employees. She can be contacted at Dr. Welsh can be reached at

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