Manlius considers allowing cameras in swan nest

The baby swans are a crowd favorite at the Manlius swan pond but they'll only be around for a few more months. In January, they will move on to their own ponds. Manny and Faye will prepare to nest again and the world may be looking on. On Tuesday night the Manlius Village Board voted to move forward with a proposal that could put small high definition cameras in the nest. The cameras would be connected to the website - where anyone could watch the process.

"I'd like to get into as many schools as possible and have the middle school science classes follow this because it's something that's happening in schools that didn't happen years ago," said biologist Michael Bean. Bean hopes to combine the live pictures from the cameras with in-depth information on the website so viewers can understand what they are seeing.

Bean has set up a foundation that would operate the website. The swan-cam foundation has a three year plan. Bean estimates it would cost $10,000 in the first year but he doesn't want any taxpayer money. The foundation hopes to raise the funds through donations.

"The interest level we have received up to this point has given us the signs it would be supported but we want to make sure its sustainable," said Laurie Venditti. Venditti helped organize patrols around the swan pond this spring after eggs were smashed by a vandal.

The plan is to put two cameras in the nest including an infrared camera for night use. The Manlius swans are celebrities in the village and Bean says local schools could incorporate the cameras and website into lesson plans.

Matt Doyle brought his young son to the swan pond on Tuesday and said he hoped the cameras would be installed. Doyle grew up in Cicero but now lives in Florida and liked the idea of keeping up to date on the swans.

"That would be great. That would be beautiful for the kids to learn - excellent for the kids in school," said Doyle.

Manlius Village Board members liked the idea and now want to see a formal proposal before they give the foundation permission to put cameras on village property.

Bean hopes to raise money this fall and have the cameras in place by March.