Mute swan Elaine is retiring from Lake LaVerne

Mute swan Elaine paddles on Lake LaVerne

Elaine, part of the beloved swan duo on Lake LaVerne since 2003, will be moved during the fall break to a pond owned by alumni. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

After 19+ years of dedicated service -- pausing for hundreds of photographers who show up without an appointment or hosting a thousand migrating Canadian geese each winter -- mute swan Elaine will retire from Lake LaVerne next week. An Iowa State alumni family that raises swans will welcome her to the pond on their acreage near Woodward.

Elaine had paddled solo on Lake LaVerne since late June, when her companion, Lancelot, died of natural causes. Names to the contrary, the female pair inhabited Lake LaVerne since 2003.

Campus planner Chris Strawhacker, facilities planning and management (FPM), said a team studying whether to introduce one or two swans to the lake opted to bring in a new pair, primarily to have two birds of similar age.

Lake recommendations coming this winter

Strawhacker said decisions about Lake LaVerne following a lake study will influence the timing of the next duo's arrival to campus. The study, conducted this spring and summer, is assessing water depths and sediments, analyzing nutrient levels in the water and reviewing current lake management practices. This winter, consultants and FPM staff will complete a report that will include recommendations for improving the physical condition and management of the lake.


Related stories