Postcards from Winter Camp: Bears Are Best

Posted at 9:15 am December 28, 2005 by Lisa Townsend

 polar bear in snow Wow, what a day – BEARS ARE BEST! Today was all about bears. We started the day by creating bear dens, as winter is here and some bears have some serious sleeping to do. Some bears hibernate or sleep during the lean winter months when meals are few and far between. For example, a brown bear will find a natural cave or create a burrow and make the place nice and homey for a long winter’s nap. Leaves, dirt ,and debris help to keep the bears snug and warm.

When making our dens we needed to have some of the same guidelines as the bear’s true den. Each home had to be covered, protected from the elements (wind, rain, and snow) and large enough to hold a bear. We used graham crackers for the walls and roof, frosting to hold the structure together, and coconut flakes to line the cozy sleeping chamber. The (gummy) bears sure looked comfortable – until we ate them. Our dens were delicious!

After our snack we headed out to encounter real bears. We visited the giant pandas Gao Gao, Bai Yun, and sweet little Su Lin. We then went up the hill to visit with Spanky, the Alaskan brown bear, and his keeper Kirsten. Since San Diego has such nice weather, Spanky won’t have a ” winter sleep” . He gets plenty of food every day and he has protection from any harsh weather.

This afternoon we went on a hike around the Zoo using GPS (Global Positioning System) units. We were on a treasure/bear hunt. Each hand-held electronic unit pointed us in the right direction and let us know how far we were to go to find our booty. The five- year-old campers found the spectacled bears, the six-year-old campers were led to the sun bears, and the ” big kids” trekked all the way to polar bears. At the end of the day we played some more great games like ” food forage,” ” bear and fish,” and ” river-bank.” . I must say great fun was had by all.

Well, I am so tired I can BEARly keep my eyes open.

Happy Camping! Lisa

Lisa Townsend is an educator at the San Diego Zoo.

Children in grades K to 5 can register for Spring Camp!

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2 Responses to “Postcards from Winter Camp: Bears Are Best”

  1. charlie says:

    I think that polar bears are beautiful creatures and very fascinating to watch [on tv] so i hope that more people help to try and save the almighty creature.

  2. amelia says:

    i love polar bears they are sooooooooooooo cute!