Cute animal mascots are a dime a dozen.
But the cutest belongs to Village Elementary School in Hartland, Michigan. Get ready for a case of the warm and fuzzies.
For the past 13 years, Village Elementary has been the chosen nesting site for Vanessa the duck. Each year when the time comes, she arrives at the school courtyard, makes her way to the same shrub, digs her nest underneath it, and lays her eggs.
The closed-off courtyard is both safe for Vanessa, and visible to the surrounding classrooms. Students can look out the classroom windows and keep tabs on the status of the nest and its precious contents.
When the eggs hatch and the ducklings are up and about, Vanessa and her babies parade through the school hall to a nearby pond just outside. In order to make sure the feathered family has a distraction-free, safe, and unobstructed path to the pond, school staff members tape black construction paper along the walls of the hallway, and make sure students stay clear of Vanessa and her ducklings as they waddle their way toward the pond.
"It's so unusual, but everyone gets so invested in this duck because how cool it is that she comes back each and every year," says Elizabeth Krause, a mother who has watched Vanessa raise ducklings at Village Elementary for years.
Vanessa and her ducklings made their most recent trip down the school hallway just weeks ago, at the very end of April. Observers reported that Vanessa waited patiently for the courtyard to be unlocked, and minutes later, paraded her ducklings down the hallway to the pond.
See you next year, Vanessa.
What do you think of this sweet story? Tell us in the comments below.
WATCH NOW: Chicken Shows Are Amazing