Monday, February 6, 2012

Connecting people to nature through photos and stories: The Spirit of the Swan

Mary Lundeberg holding a juvenile swan for banding.
Update: The Spirit of the Swan currently ranks in Amazon's top 100 bird e-books for children.

The mission of Nature Connections, the imprint of The Spirit of the Swan, is “connecting people to nature through photos and stories.”  Co-authors and wildlife photographers Mary Lundeberg and Tammy Wolfe fulfill that mission beautifully in this children’s book in which the text is artfully illuminated with stunning photographs no illustrator could ever hope to match.

Responsible parents and educators concerned about the environment will welcome The Spirit of the Swan as a compelling story that will not only hold the interest of elementary school age children, but will also help them better understand and appreciate the natural world.

The Spirit of the Swan is based on the news account of an illegally shot Trumpeter Swan restored to health, released into the wild, and reunited with his mate. Lundeberg and Wolfe remind their readers that Trumpeter Swans have been reintroduced in the Midwest after being hunted to extinction.

Mary Lundeberg at a gallery reception of her swan photos.
The fictional account of the incident begins with the mating of the two swans, Cob and Penny.  Penny's heart is captured by Cob's "music, strength, and courage." Readers  catch a glimpse of how the male protects his mate and her eggs from predators. In this case, despite Cob's brave intervention, only one egg survives the invasion of an otter. Cob and Penny teach their single offspring Ziggy the spirit of the swan: "strong and joyful."

The family of three is migrating to their winter home when Cob, the leader of the flock, is shot. We witness the rescue of the wounded Cob and the courage of Penny and the young Ziggy, as despite his grief, he continues to grow and develop until his father’s joyful return.

The story concludes with the mating of Ziggy and Sarah and in keeping with the recurring theme of music, we read: “The cycle of life continues as swans sing again in the Midwest. The majestic birds multiply and music fills the marsh.” 

The Kindle edition of The Spirit of the Swan is now available at A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will support the Crex Meadows Wildlife area in Wisconsin.

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