Boyd Huppert's Land of 10,000 Stories
For 5 years Jim Lawrence has been keeping his promise to his dying wife. After her diagnosis with cancer, Sheila had asked, "Will you feed my?" Sheila Lawrence started feeding the trumpeter from her backyard, along the Mississippi River at Monticello, 30 years ago. Today Jim feeds hundreds - sometimes thousands - of them every winter morning. "My passion is to make sure her legacy continues," he says. Here's a link to the Land of 10,000 Stories: http://kare11.tv/1OZDUH6
Check out the “Swan Cam” at Swan Park. The swan cam gives people all over the world the opportunity to go online and view the swans straight from their computers.
Thank you to the following businesses for helping make the swan camera possible; Xcel Energy, FiberNet Monticello, Wright Hennepin Electric, Wes Olson Electric, Monticello Parks Department, and Doug’s Computer Service.
The Swan City Heritage Foundation has received their 501c3 status, which means your donations are now tax deductible. Please make checks payable to the Swan City Heritage Foundation, you can drop them off at the Chamber office or directly to Premier Bank or RiverWood Bank. Thank you for your continued support of Sheila's legacy.
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017: The swans have arrived in Monticello! As the temperature drops and there is ice forming on the surrounding lakes and ponds, their numbers will grow. Since we don't have any snow cover, they are out feeding in the surrounding fields.
The plunging temperatures and snow covered fields will bring many of them back to the river to feed.
Feeding time is every day at 10:30 am. If you stop into the park during feeding time Jim Lawrence is there to help educate you on these beautiful birds.
The Park is seldom used in the summer months, but becomes the home to over 2,000 Trumpeter Swans in the winter months from late November- March (weather pending). Swans can continue to be viewed as the winter weather continues. As the warm weather approaches, the swans return to Minnesota lakes as they begin to thaw. (Therefore, swan viewing season can fluctuate year to year based on the weather.)
Sheila Lawrence 'The Swan Lady'
In April 2011, Shiela Lawrence known as “The Swan Lady,” passed away. Sheila and her husband Jim have been feeding the swans for over 25 years. Because of their selfless acts of kindness to these birds, the Monticello Community has benefited more than anyone realizes. Jim Lawrence has continued to feed the Trumpeter Swans winter after winter. We need your help in continuing to fund this wonderful Monticello attraction.
A special thank you Jim and Sheila Lawrence for bringing this attraction to Monticello and for all the time and money you’ve spent feeding the swans. Thank you also to the Monticello's Parks Department for your diligence and assistance in keeping up the park throughout the year.
The funding for purchase and delivery of corn to feed the waterfowl viewed at Swan Park for the past 25 years was paid in its entirety by Sheila Lawrence with the generous help of a few of her close friends and countless Swan Park visitors. Contrary to what you may believe no financial support is provided by any municipal or state agencies. Since Sheila’s passing a foundation had been created to continue her legacy and to promote and grow this Monticello winter treasure. If you would like to help continue the growth of this flock of Trumpeter Swans you may do so my making a donation to the Swan City Heritage Foundation. (A 501(C)(3) Non-profit status has been granted) Send your payments to;
Swan City Heritage Foundation
PO Box 192
Monticello, MN 55362.
The Chamber reminds photographers and viewers that the swans are very shy. They recognize the park as a place where strangers are present, but see it as a safety zone. However, they are easily spooked when someone leaves the confines ( the deck) of the park itself to venture on neighborhood properties or down to the riverbank itself for viewing or photography which is NOT allowed. Jim Lawrence- who feeds the swans is the only 'safe' person that the swans recognize. THANK YOU for observing the privacy of these beautiful birds. We consider it an honor to have them on our riverfront and we want to respect both the volunteer efforts of the Monticello resident as well as the trumpeter swans.
From St. Cloud: Take the 2nd Monticello Exit (#194) off of I-94 East, which brings you to County Road 18. Take a right onto County Road 18.
From Minneapolis: Take the first Monticello Exit (#194) off I-94, which brings you to Country Road 18. Take a right onto County Road 18.
Continue straight ahead, through the stop light (the road turns in County Rd 39E) you will take the second left onto the street Mississippi Drive. Follow the residential housing until you see a little sliver of a park located on the right hand side near the end of Mississippi Drive. This is where you may view the swans in a park-like setting. Swan Park is wheelchair accessible. If you have any questions call the Chamber Office 763-295-2700.
REMINDER: Please do not trespass in anyone's yard. You may view the swans by walking down a small asphalt pathway and to the viewing deck overlooking the river bank. Mississippi Drive ends in a cul-de-sac, so please utilize this to turn around. You may also get back into your vehicle and head east further down the river and view from alongside County Road 39 East. Reminder: There are opportunities for photography at every glance. Please do not trespass into anyone's yard.
Click Here to view a Video of the Swan Lady From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources