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Going on a ‘bear hunt’ in Petaluma

How Teddy bears in neighborhood windows became a nationwide game|

BEARS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

Here is a partial list of Petaluma streets where teddy bears (and other creatures) have been spotted in windows and on porches.

To see additional photos of locally-spotted bears, visit Petaluma360.com.

Acorn Circle

B Street

Chapman Lane

Country Club Drive

Elm Drive

G Street

Greenridge Court

Harrison Street

Hill Boulevard

I Street

Mission Drive

Mountain View Ave.

Olive Avenue

Rancho Way

Ridgeview

San Rafael Drive

Santa Clara Lane

Sprucewood Court

St. Augustine Circle

Westridge Drive

White Oak Circle

Zinfandel Drive

Bears, bears, everywhere.

Almost overnight, thanks to a few enthusiastic educators, stuffed ursines can be found all over Petaluma, peering through windows, waving from porches, posed in an array of outrageous tableaus – all to give anxious kids something to look forward to on short neighborhood excursions.

“It’s good to set up something fun in these “interesting” times,” says librarian Connie Williams. She’s one of many local folks who’ve been encouraging locals to follow the example set by several other countries. From New Zealand to the UK to Canada to the US, folks under coronavirus shelter-in-place orders have been placing bears (and other stuffed animals) in plain site of youthful passersby.

The idea to bring the idea to Petaluma was first floated around on social media by Petaluma elementary school teacher Janine Arendt.

Since neighborhood exercise is allowed (and recommended), with the provision that social distancing is observed between those who are not in the same household, parents are allowed to take their children on walks. Arendt suggested that if enough folks in town participated, then whenever kids went out on walks with a parent in their own neighborhood, they could be on the look out for bears, and the activity would become a welcome distraction from the unsettled realities of so many disrupted routines.

“As the kids walk around (their neighborhoods),” said Arendt, “they will be on the lookout for bears. They can count them, find their favorites or be surprised by their antics. Let’s help the little ones smile.”

As the idea began to take off, Williams, a librarian at the Petaluma Regional branch, also started reaching out to Petalumans to join the fun.

“I’ve been getting several returns, so I started compiling a list,” she says.

In the sidebar, a short initial list of streets where bears have been sighted can be found, with hopes that parents can use it to determine whether anyone in their immediate neighborhood has positioned a bear for sidewalk discovery. Driving around town with a carful of kids is not recommended at this time, but it is the hope of Williams and Arendt that enough folks will participate that every neighborhood in Petaluma will soon have plenty enough bears hiding in plain sight to keep everyone busy searching, and finding.

“People are really enjoying the idea,” says Williams. “It could be loads of fun to see all those teddy bears waving a big hello to the kids.”

(Contact David Templeton at david.templeton@arguscourier.com)

BEARS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

Here is a partial list of Petaluma streets where teddy bears (and other creatures) have been spotted in windows and on porches.

To see additional photos of locally-spotted bears, visit Petaluma360.com.

Acorn Circle

B Street

Chapman Lane

Country Club Drive

Elm Drive

G Street

Greenridge Court

Harrison Street

Hill Boulevard

I Street

Mission Drive

Mountain View Ave.

Olive Avenue

Rancho Way

Ridgeview

San Rafael Drive

Santa Clara Lane

Sprucewood Court

St. Augustine Circle

Westridge Drive

White Oak Circle

Zinfandel Drive

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