UPSALA - Youngsters in the tiny town of Upsala are beating back stay at home order boredom by taking part in a bear hunt.

A teddy bear hunt, that is.

The Great Upsala Bear Hunt is the brainchild of Upsala residents Laura Hanson and Jen Servatius, who pitched the idea on a community Facebook page.

Before long, the idea had generated enough buzz to warrant its own Facebook page, and residents and businesses were placing stuffed bears in windows all over town, said school media specialist and Upsala Public Library manager Wanda Erickson.

“We set Monday as the start-off date,” Erickson says. “But, people were already wandering around, trying to find all the bears over the weekend.”

And finding all those bears has proven to be a tall order; Erickson says, at last count, there were 110 bears placed throughout the town of just over 400 people.

Erickson says the hunt has turned into a lively distance learning activity for young kids and their families.

Great Upsala Bear Hunt Facebook page
Great Upsala Bear Hunt Facebook page

“I got the Upsala city maps from the library and posted them (in the Facebook group)” Erickson said. “Kids can keep track of where bears are using the map. They can keep track of how many bears they find. They can keep track of how many colors of bears they find. These are all learning experiences that families might want their children to have.”

Erickson says it’s been uplifting to see adventurous youngsters enjoying themselves on the bear hunt while the stay at home order is in place.

“It’s very, very fun, watching them wander around,” Erickson said. “And they’re practicing social distancing with their families or daycare groups.”

Erickson says the hunt will continue through the weekend, when it will be retooled into something new.

Great Upsala Bear Hunt Facebook page
Great Upsala Bear Hunt Facebook page

“The response has been absolutely overwhelming and really, really cool,” Erickson said. “We want to keep the momentum going.”

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