In 1850, Dr. Henry Foster established the Clifton Springs Sanitarium Company, a center for the care and treatment of a person’s physical and mental well-being. Wildlife has always been an important aspect of the campus. Today, two Mute Swans and their cygnet (baby swan) share the pond in front of the Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic with mallards and other species of ducks. A grateful patient donated the pair in 2007.
Mute Swans inhabit ponds, lakes and coastal waters of southeastern New York. They are not native to North America, but were brought over from Europe in the late 1800s to beautify ponds on private estates in the lower Hudson Valley and on Long Island. Adult birds weigh on average 20 to 25 pounds and have a wingspan of nearly seven feet. Pairs remain together until one member dies. The life span is about 7 years in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity.
In addition to regular attention from a trained member of the hospital staff, a local wildlife biologist checks them once a year and clips their wings at that time so they won’t fly away to a less protective habitat.
The Hospital grounds feature picturesque gardens, a labyrinth, gazebos and walkways. Mineral baths, sourced from the historic sulfur spring, are still available today as part of the naturopathic program. Integrated services include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, skincare, naturopathic evaluations and an herbal medicinary. These programs complement the Hospital’s traditional medical services. Collectively, they support Dr. Foster’s vision of creating a place where medicine and nature come together in an integrated milieu that nurtures health, wellness and recovery.
by John Galati