2012 Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival

by Vicky on March 4, 2012

Last Sunday, the Sno-Isle Libraries sponsored my puppet show, “Lessons from the Geese,” in partnership with the 2012 Port Susan Snow Goose and Birding Festival.  The program was also supported by the Stanwood/Camano Friends of the Library and by my husband, Stuart, who created our beautiful Snow Goose puppet and performed the role of Canada Goose in the play.

It was wonderful to be a part of this community festival honoring the annual influx of wintering birds in the fields and wetlands bordering Puget Sound.  We’re still marveling at our good fortune to be living in the midst of such beauty.  Port Susan has been identified as a priority conservation area of high biodiversity importance within the greater Pacific Northwest by The Nature Conservancy.

The festival takes place in multiple venues in Stanwood, Camano Island, and environs.  Our performance took place at the Four Springs House, part of a 50-acre nature preserve on Camano Island.

My play was inspired by The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, by Selma Lagerlöf, the story of a naughty and inconsiderate boy who gets shrunken to the size of an elf and flies around Sweden with a flock of wild geese.  Lagerlöf was commissioned in 1902 by the National Teachers Association of Sweden to write a geography reader for the public schools, and the story is a vehicle for teaching Swedish natural history, folk tales, history and traditions, in addition to geography.  In 1909, Selma Lagerlöf became the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

After the puppet show, I taught kids and their parents how to fold an origami flapping bird.   We colored the wingtips black so it would look more like a snow goose.

Nils and the geese appear on the Swedish 20 kronor bill honoring Selma Lagerlöf.

The story is an enduring one, with many filmed adaptations.  As recently as Christmas 2011, a new 2-part adaptation directed by Dirk Regel was shown on German television. (I have no idea why the images in the video are reversed!)

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