Teton Valley Trumpeter Swan Nesting Project
Students of the Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy program awarded $500 to purchase a Trumpeter Swan as part of the Teton Regional Land Trust’s long-term initiative to restore the nesting population of Trumpeter Swans in Teton Valley. Once educated on the subject, students agreed that Trumpeter Swans are a culturally significant species that remains a conservation priority throughout the west. The Land Trust’s project goals are to bolster the nesting population of Trumpeter Swans in Teton Valley, as well as provide educational opportunities within the community.
Trumpeter Swans are the world’s largest species of waterfowl and are a symbol of wilderness and healthy wetland ecosystems. They became nearly extinct in the early 20th century due to habitat loss and over-harvest for sustenance, quills and feathers. By the end of this era, one of the last strongholds for Trumpeter Swans in the contiguous United States was in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Today there is still concern about Trumpeter Swans becoming extirpated in and around Yellowstone, and breeding success in the GYE has been perennially low in recent years due to a number of factors.
With a myriad of heavy-hitting collaborators, TRLT is committed to running a 10+ year campaign aimed to bolster the Rocky Mountain Population of Trumpeter Swans, as well as provide educational opportunities to local students centered on conservation science. Through working with willing private landowners TRLT has permanently protected over 11,000 acres of land in Teton Basin, much of which is wetland. Further, TRLT has worked with these landowners to restore and enhance these wetlands to help facilitate the return of nesting Trumpeter Swans in our Valley. With the established wetland habitat needed to support swan breeding, TRLT’s goal is to bring part of the swan population recovery success to eastern Idaho and help restore our community’s wildlife heritage.
Grant funds will go directly toward offsetting the cost of the four captive-bred Trumpeter Swans that will be released in Teton Valley this spring. The yearling Trumpeter Swans cost $1,300 each totaling $5,200 for four Trumpeter Swans. To monitor released Trumpeter Swans once they fledge the release site, TRLT developed an online observation form for use by the public to document sightings of released Trumpeter Swans (wearing green neck bands). Keep your eyes peeled!