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Local Woman Organizing 'Bear Hunt' in Berkshires This Weekend
By Rebecca Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:44AM / Thursday, April 02, 2020
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'We're Going on a Bear Hunt,' a 1989 children's picture book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, has inspired a local bear hunt in the Berkshires this weekend.

Update, 12 p.m. Friday, April 3:

Access a Google map of participating homes here.

 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local woman is spearheading a "bear hunt" this weekend - bears of the toy kind, that is.

Inspired by the book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," which Susan Wrba likes to read with her 2-year-old son, Wrba is organizing a "bear hunt" across the Berkshires from Friday, April 3, to Sunday, April 5.

Families can participate in two ways: One, they can put a stuffed, toy or otherwise creatively designed bear in their front window or porch. (Wrba said her father-in-law is planning a mechanical bear of some sort at his home in Pittsfield.) Families who do this should go to the Facebook event page Wrba has set up here to let people know what street they can spot a bear in. And two, families can drive around looking for the bears -- safely from their car, or, if many bears are located in a single neighborhood, by taking an appropriately socially distanced walk along that neighborhood.

Wrba said she got the idea from a friend in Haverhill, where a similar project happened in March. It appealed to her not only because the book was one of her son's favorites but also because she was looking for ways to connect to the outside world during this time of isolation.

"I've been trying to think of ways to feel connected that aren't virtual," said Wrba, who lives in New Lebanon, N.Y., with her husband her two children, which include a 7-week-old baby boy in addition to the 2-year-old. "I love that you are able to be creative in your own home but also get out in a way that's safe and interesting."

Wrba said she was worried it wasn't catching on at first, but thanks to the power of social media and some friends with downtown Pittsfield connections, she's hopeful it will be a success. As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly two dozen people had posted addresses (posting a street names only is fine, as it adds a little challenge to the hunt and protects people's privacy) on the Facebook page.

"It's been great," she said, adding that the format of asking people to leave bears out over a three-day period will allow families to "jump in and participate" in a way that fits their schedule.

Wrba said a similar Easter egg hunt is being planned for next weekend by Berkshires Macaroni Kid and she hopes that more events like these can help keep kids entertained and creative during these challenging times.

"Hopefully there can be things happening in lieu of in-person events," she said. "People are really coming together."

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