Don’t be alarmed if you see a youthful bear hunter or two roaming the streets.
No, there aren’t reports of ferocious grizzlies threatening the populace.
Rather, the bears they seek are of the “teddy” variety.
This week marked the start of a lighthearted bear-hunting campaign, promoted locally by a number of preschool and daycare providers.
Parents are encouraged to take their unexpectedly homebound children (due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic) around town in search of places with teddy bears or drawings prominently displayed in a front window.
The impetus came from the children’s book “Going on a Bear Hunt,” that Ready Set Learn Preschool owner Sheri Orear shared on her Facebook page.
The book provides an ideal opportunity for parents to bond with their children and give them an activity, while still practicing safe social distancing, Orear explained.
“They’ve been doing it in Humboldt and Moran as well,” Orear said.
Orear posted a video of Lincoln Elementary School aide Mona Melvin reading “Going on a Bear Hunt” and a map of Iola for participants to mark spots where they found bears. The families are encouraged to share photos of their visit.
Orear also left sidewalk chalk outside the Ready Set Learn building for youngsters to leave messages of their own, as well as hand sanitizer.
“It’s just a fun activity for everyone,” Orear said
As with the public schools across the state, Ready Set Learn was among the preschools shuttered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Orear said classes would resume in the fall.