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Central Iowa trumpeter swan soiree

  • 1/17/2017 1:02:00 PM
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The public is invited to a Trumpeter Swan Soiree, celebrating North America’s largest waterfowl species at the Blank Park Zoo Friday, Jan. 27 from 6-8 p.m., and at Walnut Woods State Park on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Saturday programs will be given both indoors and outdoors at the Walnut Woods State Park lodge with concurrent outdoor viewing and interpretive presentations of trumpeter swans and bald eagles given by Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Polk and Dallas County Conservation naturalist.  Spotting scopes and binoculars will be provided. 

An estimated 220 trumpeter swans are wintering at the Dale Maffitt Reservoir and surrounding area southwest of Des Moines, providing a rare opportunity to view good numbers of free flying trumpeter swans. 

Hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, grilled hotdogs and other snacks will be provided free of charge. Donations will be accepted with proceeds going towards Iowa trumpeter swan restoration.


Friday, Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m.

Blank Park Zoo Discovery Center, 7401 SW Ninth St., Des Moines

Presentations plus meet and greet - Blank Park Zoo staff Emily Link and Mark Vukovich,Trumpeter Swan Society director Margaret Smith and  Dave Hoffman, Iowa Department of Natural Resources trumpeter swan restoration coordinator

6-6:20 p.m.            Blank Park Zoo Trumpeter Swan and Species Restoration Efforts  

                                Emily Link, Blank Park Zoo

6:25-6:35 p.m.       Trumpeter Swans-Bringing Back a North American Treasure

                                Margaret Smith, Director, Trumpeter Swan Society

6:35-7 p.m.            Trumpeter Swan Restoration in Iowa

                                Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR

7-7:25 p.m.            “Return of the Trumpeter Swans”

                                North American documentary preview-Steve Harryman Production

                                Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR


Saturday, January 28

Walnut Woods State Park Lodge, 3155 Walnut Woods Dr., West Des Moines

10:30-11 a.m.         Trumpeter Swans- Bringing Back a North American Treasure

                                Margaret Smith, Director, Trumpeter Swan Society

11-11:40 a.m.         Live Trumpeter Swan Presentation

                                See, touch and learn about swans.

                                Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR

11:40-12:00 p.m.   Trumpeters need Wetlands-Working together to fund the

                                Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

                                Mike Shannon, Ducks Unlimited

12-12:20 p.m.        Trumpeter Swan Restoration in Iowa

                                Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR and Ron Andrews

12:20-12:50 p.m.   “Return of the Trumpeter Swans”

                                North American documentary preview, Steve Harryman Production

                                Dave Hoffman, Iowa DNR

12:50-1:10 p.m.     Swans- Quality of Life

                                Holly Welch, Cancer Survivor

1:10-1:30 p.m.       Winter Birding 101

                                Joe Boyles, Polk CCB

1:30-2 p.m.            Trumpeter Swans and Nature Photography 101

                                Plus hands-on photo tips

                                Wildlife Photographers Eric Williamson and Holly Welch

2 p.m.                     Guided field trip to view swans and wildlife

                                Dale Maffitt Reservoir area and southwest Des Moines

10:30- 2 p.m.         Youth activities

                                Steven Thompson, Iowa DNR AmeriCorps


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. 

As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan. Public support is vital in restoring trumpeter swans to Iowa. 

This event is being 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 and the Blank Park Zoo.