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The public is invited to a Trumpeter Swan Soiree, celebrating North America’s largest waterfowl species, at the Des Moines Dale Maffitt Reservoir and at Walnut Woods State Park lodge on Saturday, Jan. 30.
There will be opportunities to view the swans through spotting scopes and witness random swan feeding and flying sessions at the Maffitt Reservoir location. Ten-minute outdoor presentations will be given every half-hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. Hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, grilled hotdogs and other snacks will be provided free of charge with donations accepted and going to swan care.
Programs will be given indoors at the Walnut Woods lodge beginning at 10:30 a.m. Snacks and drinks will be available.
Walnut Woods swan programs include:
10:30-11:00 a.m. Trumpeter Swans -- Bringing Back a North American Treasure (Margaret Smith, Trumpeter Swan Society Director)
11:00-11:30 a.m. Live Trumpeter Swan Presentation Meet and greet a trumpeter swan up close and personal. A rare opportunity to see, touch and learn about swans. (Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR)
11:30-11:50 a.m. Water Quality in Iowa “Trumpeting the Cause” (Jennifer Terry, Des Moines Water Works)
11:50 a.m. -12:20 p.m. Trumpeter Swan Restoration in Iowa (Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR, Ron Andrews and Kevin Drees, Blank Park Zoo)
12:20-12:50 p.m. “Return of the Trumpeter Swans” North American film documentary preview (Steve Harryman, producer)
12:50-1:10 p.m. Swans- Quality of Life (Holly Welch, Cancer Survivor)
1:10-1:30 p.m. Winter Birding 101, (Doug Harr, Iowa Audubon)
1:30-2:00 p.m. Trumpeter Swans and Nature Photography 101 Registration in advance is helpful. Hands-on photo tips at Maffitt Reservoir following the class. $5 suggested donation for this class. (Eric Williamson, Nature Photographer and Holly Welch)
10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Youth activities -- Swan pine cone crafting, Bills & Beaks, How birds eat, and a swan touch kit (Allison Cherry-Iowa DNR)
Trumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s. By the early 1930s, only 69 trumpeter swans remained in the lower 48 states.
“These magnificent, all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds, and have an 8-foot wingspan,” says Dave Hoffman, DNR wildlife research technician. “Public support is vital in restoring trumpeter swans to Iowa.”
Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the southwest edge of the Des Moines metro area. From the intersection of I-35 and Hwy 5 travel 1.5 miles east to South 35th St. (exit 201), travel 1/8-mile south on South 35th St., then 2 miles west on Maffitt Lake Rd. Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the south side of the road. Walnut Woods State Park is located at 3155 Walnut Woods Dr. in West Des Moines.
The Trumpeter Swan Soiree is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas county conservation boards, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Trumpeter Swan Society, Blank Park Zoo, Christian Photo and Keller Williams Realty.
A meet and greet with Margaret Smith, Trumpeter Swan Society director and Steve Harryman, “Return of the Trumpeter Swans” film producer has been set up for Friday evening, Jan. 29 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 4550 University Ave, West Des Moines.
For more information or questions contact: David Hoffman, DNR Trumpeter Swan Restoration Coordinator at David.Hoffman@dnr.iowa.gov or 641-425-0737 (cell), 641-357-3517 (office).