Sheila Lawrence feeding the Monticello swans (archived photo).
Directions to Monticello's Swan Park on Mississippi Drive
Sheila Lawrence was known to many as the "Swan Lady" and was the key person responsible for making Monticello renowned nationally for her 20 years of dedication to feeding the thousands of trumpeter swans that stayed in the area on the open waters of the Mississippi River. Best view times are from 9:30 to 11:30 am daily at the city park located near 117 Mississippi Drive, Monticello, MN 55362. Note: approx. months are December to February.
In honor of the "Monticello Swan Lady" and to honor Sheila Lawrence's memory in addition to help continue her legacy, the Monticello community has established a fund which allows wildlife lovers to contribute to the Lawrence's massive feeding efforts. Two winters ago, her husband Jim, spent nearly $20,000 on corn and the corn prices are not going down. Viewers/readers who would like to provide monetary help can contribute to the: Monticello Trumpeter Swan Fund. Donations at any time can be submitted to the fund at: Monticello Trumpeter Swan Fund c/o US Bank, 307 Pine Street, Monticello, MN 55362.
"Monticello Swan Lady" The Minnesota DNR story behind Sheila Lawrence
Read these news articles about Monticello Trumpeter Swans:
Monticello. . . a seasonal home for the Trumpeter Swans
People are talking about Monticello. More than 700 elegant trumpeter swans visit the warm open waters of the Mississippi River at Monticello, Minnesota. Swan viewing opportunities peaks between mid-November through March. The Monticello Chamber of Commerce has recently adopted the city’s Swan Park to expand swan viewing opportunities. A local Monticello resident living on Mississippi Drive feeds the swans daily from 11 a.m.-1p.m. with nearly 900 pounds of food each day. Sheila Lawrence was known to many in and around Monticello as the "Swan Lady." She was the key person responsible for making Monticello renowned nationally and even around the world as "Swan City" for her 25 years of dedication to feeding the thousands of swans and other waterfowl that stayed in the area rather than migrate farther south.
A larger than life stainless steel swan sculpture adorns the outside lawn and landscaping at the Monticello Community Center located at 505 Walnut Street. This commissioned piece of artwork was created by local Monticello artist, Parker McDonald, in honor of the trumpeter swans who grace Monticello with their presence each year.
The trumpeter swan is a modern-day success story. These majestic birds were once hunted for their skin, feathers and meat and by the early 1920’s, were in serious trouble and close to vanishing. Laws were passed to protect the birds and additional programs have brought the trumpeter swan back from the brink of extinction with numbers increasing as high as 16,000.
The trumpeter swan is the largest flying bird in North America with a wing span of 71/2 to 8 feet and can weigh up to 35 pounds. These beautiful and graceful, pure white birds have ebony black bills, legs and feet marking them with a contrasted beauty all their own. They earned their name due to their distinctive “trumpet-like” sound, caused by a loop in their larynx.
The trumpeter swans are a sight few people see in a lifetime and Monticello counts itself blessed by their presence – even if their visit is for just a few months of the year. Photographers, bird enthusiasts, visitors and community members can enjoy the swan’s natural beauty as they rest easy and feed on the banks of the Mississippi River located in Monticello, Minnesota.
(For more information
about the swans, visit the Trumpeter Swan Society