Come Meet Ursus botanicus, one of 12 Bears on Parade in Anchorage!

Take a selfie with the newest resident of the Garden and post with #alaskagrows and #AKBearsOnParade!

This life-sized brown bear sculpture was designed and painted by local artists.

brie selfie

Meet Ursus botanicas!

Real brown bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) live throughout the Anchorage area, usually in harmony with residents and visitors. Our brown bear is part of a public art project in collaboration with the Anchorage Bear Committee, a group committed to insuring that people and bears continue to live safely, side-by-side in and around Anchorage. How is this even possible? When people are well educated about bears, bear behavior and the prevention of activities that create negative encounters, bears and people can live in relatively close proximity without problems.

The Alaska Botanical Garden is an excellent example of this. Our fence that you entered to visit the Garden keeps moose out (and away from all our gardens!) but it does not stop bear movement. Bears travel throughout our 110-acre property with relative frequency. The staff, volunteers and visitors to the Garden keep food, trash, and natural fertilizers contained so that bears cannot become accustomed to these attractive foods. Because of this, the bears that do move through our property do not think of us or our sheds, trash cans, buildings and people as sources of food to be investigated and they move on to other, natural sources of food.

When the 24th International Conference on Bear Research and Management came to Anchorage in 2016, the Anchorage Bear Committee and Visit Anchorage partnered to create Bears on Parade. Twelve bears were created and delivered to Anchorage where local organizations, businesses and artists worked to design, paint and install them throughout the Anchorage area. View the complete map of Bears On Parade.

At the Alaska Botanical Garden, we jumped at this opportunity! We actively engage in community collaboration and botanical and bear education and this was a great chance to bring those three passions together with art here in the Garden. What you see now is the culmination of these four realms. Ursus botanicus illustrates what a healthy brown bear in south-central Alaska eats.

Our Sponsor and Artists

Special thanks to Rene Haag of Blaine’s Art for sponsoring our bear and to Jean Shadrach, our artist in residence for this project and her art group including Ramona Shields Kelley, V. Rae, Debbie Narang, Andy Dunham and Elizabeth Dawn Gillette. They took our original concept, expanded it beyond our imaginations and brought Ursus botanicus to life in full color!

no paintartist group almost finished paint

Bearartsupplies2  IMG_20160630_095006817_HDR  Bear face  IMG_7620

The key to bear safety… learn all that you can!

Links:

Anchorage Bear Committee

Bear Safety

International Bear Association

What does our brown bear eat?

Brown bears are omnivores meaning that they eat a wide array of food. The images included on our bear include;

  • Salmon berries
  • Blue berries
  • Crow berries
  • Sedges
  • Cow parsnip (“Pushki”)
  • Queen Anne lace
  • Fireweed
  • Skunk cabbage
  • Birch
  • Aspen
  • Black spruce
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Hooligan
  • Clams
  • Roots
  • Grubs
  • Moose calves
  • Hoary marmot
  • Snow shoe hare
  • Ground squirrel
  • Mice
  • Bees

Help promote our bear, bear safety education and have some fun… post to social media with #alaskagrows and #AKBearsOnParade and follow our bear on Facebook