Every year we take a trip up to Monticello to see the feeding of the swans, (http://www.monticellocci.com/pages/swans) it is an amazing experience (and an incredibly noisy one) and it occurs everyday around 10:00 a.m. on the Mississippi river. It began as a private endeavor, but over the years it became quite an expense and since has become a state supported cause. We decided to go on a lovely, warm, February day instead of the usual sub-zero viewing we have done in previous years. Sadly, this was a mistake, swans are ground feeders, so since there was no snow, there were no swans, because they were eating in the fields! Oh well….
We did however get to see many other species like the Canada Goose with the apparent condition of Luecism; (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucism) and seeing this was really pretty cool! We have since learned that Luecism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin. (source – Wiki) Awesome CM nature lesson right there!
We received a wonderful “nature talk” by the gentleman who feeds the swans in his yard everyday (his wife who had begun this endeavor has now passed away). So, despite not seeing any of the beautiful swans up close as we have in previous years, the day certainly was not wasted! A trip to Caribou Coffee afterwards for a Hot Apple Blast didn’t hurt either!
Here are a couple of sites that have a few fun extended activities:
- Origami Swans – http://www.craftideasforkids.co.uk/origami-swans/
- How to draw a simple Swan from the number 2 – http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/drawing-lessons/drawing-animals-creatures-lessons/howtodraw-swans-tutorials.html
And just in case there isn’t a Caribou Coffee shop near you (you poor soul), here is a recipe that is pretty close to the real thing for a Hot Apple Blast, top it off with whipped cream and caramel syrup and it will warm you up on a cold winters night!
HOT APPLE BLAST recipe: