UNR raises $20,000 to rebuild Swan Island

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RENO, NV (KOLO) The University of Nevada, Reno has renovated "Swan Island", thanks to help from alumni and the community.

"We got a really overwhelming response and we're super excited," said Marty Sillito, Assistant Director of Grounds Services.

They set up a crowdfunding page to raise $15,000 for the project, and instead got over $20,000 in donations. It was used to tear out useless vegetation, jagged rocks and crumbling support structures.

"We had all of these concrete tubes that they were getting stuck in and trying to walk over those things was really hard for mom and dad and the babies," added Sillito.

They also put in pathways for the swans and plants and grasses they like to eat, like cat tails and sedges. The island had deteriorated for decades, and serves as a crucial safety spot on Manzanita Lake, allowing the swans to stay away from people and predators.

And since UNR raised more than initially needed, they've decided to create an area on the west shore for students to relax and enjoy the view.

"We're going to put in a swan-viewing area with the benches," said Sillito. "We're going to put in walkway pathways so people can come out and eat; relax. Read a book, whatever they want to do."

The swan couple, Zeus and Athena, recently added four cygnets to the family. Those interested in checking them out can watch it from their computer at: View Swan Island

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