Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears A life-size, fiberglass bear statue painted as a birch forest stands in front of a business, All About You Medical Spa, on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears
Lexile

Alaska's largest city is home to more than 300 grizzly and black bears - and now more than a dozen multicolored ones.
 
Life-size statues painted by city artists for a public art installation called "Bears on Parade" are popping up as part of an effort to raise awareness that if you live in Anchorage, you live near bears.
 
"The whole point of this was to engage in conversation about bears and their habitat - the food that they eat, where they live," said Brenda Carlson. She is a tourism official. She helped organize the program.
 
Anchorage is a city that spans 1,958 square miles. People occupy only about 204 square miles, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. The rest of Anchorage includes national forest, a state wildlife refuge, 55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears.
 
Bears can be deadly if they are surprised. The department's Anchorage Bear Committee, which is dedicated to bear conservation, tries to educate people about how to live alongside the animals.
 
"Not all bears eat salmon," said Carlson, also a committee member. "Some eat berries, depending on where they are. We really wanted it to spark conversation about the bears."
 
The panel wanted to coordinate the installation of statues with a summer conference of 700 international bear scientists. They were brought to Anchorage by the International Association for Bear Research & Management.
 
Carlson reached out to America's Fiberglass Animals of Seward, Nebraska. The organization has helped create more than 300 public art projects with fiberglass sculptures.
 
Fifteen bears arrived by flatbed truck looking like polar bears. They were completely white. Sponsors paid either $1,750 or $3,000 for bears. So far, 13 have been painted, sealed and erected.
 
Artists received loose instructions. The adornment had to be family-friendly. And it had to reflect the beauty of Alaska, Carlson said.
 
One bear has a birch forest painted on its side. Others are painted with rivers, wildflowers or the northern lights. A bear sponsored by an ice cream shop has a tongue that appears to be licking ice cream off its face.
 
"I love that tongue," Carlson said. And, it could fit into the theme of what a bear should not eat - human food.
 
"Make sure your trash is put away. Because that trash bear will be a problem," she said.
 
The statues arrived too late for the early summer bear conference. But some scientists will benefit. The committee is donating nearly $8,000 from statue sponsorships to the next conference to cover scientists' expenses.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are the life-sized statues brightly colored, instead of brown or black?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (87)
  • skylerhyatt-bak
    9/21/2016 - 02:42 p.m.

    COOL ARTICLE.I like bears how did you paint the bears.

  • tylerb-1-coo
    9/22/2016 - 09:19 a.m.

    The artists ordered plain fiberglass bears. Artists paint the Bears brightly colored. Colored bears will remind someone who saw the bear. I think why the painters don't want the Bears colored brown or black because it will attract live bears to your house.

  • mackenzieb-coo
    9/22/2016 - 09:30 a.m.

    I think that this is cool how they can make this. This is so amazing how they make this out of fiber glass. The people help by the stuff so that they can make it. I would love to have one in my yard.

  • paulinel-pav
    9/22/2016 - 10:01 a.m.

    in my opinion this is an awesome idea. It brings life and color to the town. Even if they are expensive, i still think its worth it, and its just cool to have around.

  • justina1-wil
    9/22/2016 - 10:02 a.m.

    The bright colors bring life into the fiber glass made bears.Grizzly and black bears are important to the society of Alaska.The point of it is to simply spark a conversation about bears.Many sponsors donate to these projects. I think they are very cool and artistic.

  • sydneys-buh
    9/22/2016 - 11:49 a.m.

    i think it is pattern is cool and i love the zebra pattern



























  • smattison-dav
    9/22/2016 - 06:33 p.m.

    I think this s a very cool idea because people are drawn to bright colorful things. So having the bears colored for a cause make people want to go and see what its about. Having the bears make people want to conserve the beauty of these bears that are colored and living ones too. Over all I think this a neat idea.

  • sanna-dav
    9/22/2016 - 06:59 p.m.

    The article "Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears" is about a Alaskan city called Anchorage. Brenda Carlson a tourism official started the program she says "The whole point of this was to engage in conversation about bears and there habitat-the food that they eat, where they live." Carlson contacted Americas Fiberglass Animals Of Seward, Nebraska and asked for 15 bears. Several artist where asked to paint the bears they where given loose instructions. The bears are painted with forest, rivers, wildflowers, and the northern lights. The committee is donating $8,000 to the next conference to cover scientists expenses.

  • cmaizie-dav
    9/22/2016 - 07:13 p.m.

    In response to "Alaskan city invaded by multicolored bears," I agree that painting bear fiberglass sculptures is a good way to raise awarness about bears. One reason I agree is that they are bright and colorful which attracts attention. Another reason is that if is more fun and upbeat, people will listen to the awareness thatis trying to be spead. It says in the article (more details).

  • dharper-dav
    9/22/2016 - 08:17 p.m.

    In response to "Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears," I agree that this was a good idea. I would love this if I lived there. It is so artistic. One reason I agree with this is that it is good for the community to remember all of the bears that live all around them. Another reason is that it is so creative and beautiful. It says in the article "A bear sponsored by an ice cream shop has a tongue that appears to be licking ice cream off its face. This is so funny! People are getting creative with these bears. A third reason I love this idea is because it is a good idea for everyone to remeber not to leave trash or give bears any chances to eat human food. They said this in the article. I think this is a big problem because we don't want the bears eating human food or us trashing up their home. Even though this takes a lot of money to make all the bears it is still a great idea. I support them making all the bears.

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