UNR raising money to rebuild Swan Island

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The University of Nevada, Reno is raising money for an improvement project for "Swan Island" on Manzanita Lake.

The island is crumbling, from the support structures to useless vegetation, and trees that are about to fall down. Plus the cement pipes used for erosion control are old and present a danger to the swans.

"Unfortunately, we find that the babies get stuck in the tubes," said Mary Sillito, UNR's Assistant Director of Grounds Services. "They are dilapidated. They're older tubes; they've been there for awhile. And so we'd really like to remove that, enforce the erosion control that needs to be put back on there, but give it a little more elegance."

The swans have been part of the lake since the 1930s, and have become a popular attraction for students and alumni. The island is also crucial for the swans' safety and survival, after their nest was relocated from the shoreline.

"There's too many people going in and interacting with the swans; disturbing them," added Sillito. "Especially during the nesting time. They put their eggs in there, they sleep there. It does keep them away from predators and different animals that can get to the babies and the eggs."

They need to raise $15,000 for the improvements, which will include plants that the swans need, such as grasses, forbs and sedges. They will also install new trails and paths that will make it easier for the swans to walk up and down the island to the water.

"We want to have this up and running before commencement comes so that people can come and enjoy the lake and the swans."

The lake is a big attraction for graduation day, serving as a nice backdrop for photo opportunities. So the clock is ticking, with the deadline to raise the money April 28. If you would like to donate, click here: Donate to Improve UNR's Swan Island