[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
90°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 21
1952 - 7.5-magnitude Kern County earthquake devastates Tehachapi; damage spread from San Diego to Las Vegas [story]


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Jan 17, 2013

evelynevandersande_mugSometimes children from the inner city come off the bus with some apprehensions.

They have no experience with wilderness and aren’t sure what they’ll see on the trail. “Are we going to see bears?” We reply, “You will see a bear, but it is in the classroom. It is a real bear, but it is taxidermied, and you can come close to him.”

About 10 years ago, we had a juvenile black bear that raided the picnic area during the night for a few weeks. He had a sweet tooth and would look for soda cans to lick the last drops of the sticky drink. We made a whole collection of soda cans with his teeth marks on them … but then he moved on.

The bear in the classroom is a grizzly bear.

We received it in October 2005 from Sandy Tietjen. At that time, I called Sandy to get more details; specifically, how does one become the proud owner of a grizzly bear? She told me the story.

bear1Her grandfather hunted the grizzly bear in Alaska in the 1950s. The skull had been removed and bleached, and was hanging on the wall of her grandfather’s house as a prized trophy. The taxidermied grizzly was standing next to the skull and Sandy, as a child, was always impressed when she visited her grandfather. She liked to stand next to the imposing bear.

When her grandfather died, no one in the family wanted the bear and Sandy, then 18, claimed it for her bedroom. She thought: This beautiful creature died, I am not going to abandon it now. Her parents were perplexed by the new décor of their teen-aged daughter’s room.

bear8When she was newly married, she was excited at the first Halloween in her new home and the opportunity to give candy to the children. The first time the bell rang, she opened the door and three young boys around 6 years old were standing in front of her. Their eyes were huge, their jaws had dropped and they stood petrified. They did not even ask for candy. Sandy had forgotten her bear was standing in front of the window and the massive silhouette was in the light. She said she was upstaged by the bear the whole evening.

Why did she decide to give away the grizzly? Sandy was in the process of revising her insurance policy and came to the conclusion that insuring a grizzly was just too expensive for her young family. She thought about Placerita as a potentially appreciative new home – and we are happy she did.

Because of its medium size, our supervisor at the time, Ian Swift, estimated he was killed around 2 years of age, so he was a juvenile, not a full-sized adult.

 

Who wouldn't want one of these in his bedroom?

Who wouldn’t want one of these in his bedroom?

The Bear Moves

In November 2007, the Nature Center was closed for reconstruction. The bear was put into a large metal storage container in the parking lot.

At first it was a good solution, but more and more boxes needed to be shoved in, and both the bear and a stuffed mountain lion were in the way, so they got pushed around.

On one hot day, the temperature inside the container became really high. We were concerned the animals would be damaged. So at the next board meeting, the question was asked: “What are we going to do with the bear and the mountain lion?” I answered, “I have room at home, and they will be welcomed in my guest room.” I do not think the board had expected such a solution, but after talking about it, they thought it would work just fine.

I was secretly thrilled to be able to host the mountain lion and the grizzly.

bear4When little children would visit, I made sure they took a peek in the guest room. Their faces were indescribable, but after the initial surprise they were interested and intrigued by the big creatures. A little girl told me, “You have a very scary house.” When you look at the pictures, both of the animals do look intimidating, at best.

Even my son, who was in college at the time, flatly refused to sleep in the guest room any more. “Mom, it is just too scary,” he said. “They stare at me.” When I proposed covering them with sheets, exasperated he exclaimed, “That would be even worse.”

Obviously, his mother did not understand why sharing the same room with those two large animals with snarling expressions was not conducive to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Minor repairs needed.

Minor repairs needed.

The bear needed some minor repairs and went to the taxidermist, returning restored to his original splendor, and we are happy to have him back at the Nature Center. A new glass display case was made to protect him from too eager visitors.

You might not even be aware that Santa Clarita has its own famous grizzly bear story. It was in Soledad Canyon in the 1870s, and the shooter was John Lang. The bear is said to have weighed 2,300 pounds, and supposedly its hide was sent to a museum in the United Kingdom.

The San Francisco Examiner's Monarch, California's last grizzly, in the zoo at Golden Gate Park in the early 1900s.

The San Francisco Examiner’s Monarch, California’s last grizzly, in the zoo at Golden Gate Park in the early 1900s. Photo: Bancroft Library

California proudly displays a grizzly bear on its state flag, but California’s last grizzly was captured in the Ojai Valley in 1889 by one of William Randoph Hearst’s reporters, taken to a San Francisco zoo, euthanized in 1911 and taxidermied. Today you can see it at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco where it, like its kin at Placerita, is on display.

To see a grizzly bear enjoying life to the fullest in the wild, you’d have to travel to Alaska.

 

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 27 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

 

After his death, Monarch was the model for the 1911 version of the California state flag. Today he's on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

After his death, Monarch modeled for the 1911 version of the California state flag. Today he’s on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

bear3 bear2 bear9bear6

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Jul 2, 2018
In her July message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste wishes residents a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July, and recaps a bit of local history.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2018
The Mojave rattlesnake or “Mojave green” is a highly irritable and unpredictable pit viper. By comparison, the Pacific rattlesnake you might be accustomed to is fairly tame.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1952 - 7.5-magnitude Kern County earthquake devastates Tehachapi; damage spread from San Diego to Las Vegas [story]
The L.A. County Superior Court on July 17 sided with Los Angeles County and dismissed a portion of Chiquita Canyon LLC's complaint, which challenged 13 conditions of the county's conditional use permit governing how the landfill operates, Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced Friday.
Court: Chiquita Landfill Must Comply with CUP, Pay County $12 Mil.
Four men allegedly stole a van and crashed it at Cinema Drive and Valencia Boulevard late Friday afternoon, breaking gas and water lines and snarling rush-hour traffic in the center of the city.
Suspected Van Thieves Crash, Rupture Gas, Water Lines in Valencia
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission has announced $4,518,000 in two-year grants to 216 nonprofit arts organizations through its Organizational Grant Program, and the Santa Clarita Philharmonic Orchestra and the Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival are among the grantees.
Santa Clarita Philharmonic, Shakespeare Festival Win County Arts Grants
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's board of directors voted in its Tuesday meeting to revise its per-diem payment policy for board members attending industry-related meetings and conferences.
SCV Water Board Trims Own Meeting Attendance Pay
College of the Canyons men's basketball player Robert Moss will continue his playing career at University of Saint Katherine after committing to join the Firebirds program.
COC Hoopster Robert Moss Commits to University of Saint Katherine
When wives earn more than their husbands, a puzzling thing can happen: Husbands say they earn more than they are and wives underreport their income, according to new Census Bureau research.
Census Research: Spouses Report Earnings Differently When Wives Earn More
Responding to a booming economy and a generous state budget, administrators on Thursday approved the first tuition decrease for the University of California system in nearly 20 years.
University of California Cuts Tuition for First Time in 20 Years
The William S. Hart Union High School District and Spirit Holding, developers of Castaic High School, will host a community kick-off event on Friday, Aug. 3, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. celebrating the one-year countdown to the grand opening of the new school, currently under construction.
Aug. 3: ‘Countdown to Castaic High’ Public Celebration
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, July 24, starting at 9:30 a.m.
July 24: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a Heat Alert for Monday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 24, as high temperatures have been forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Heat Alert Called for Monday, Tuesday
The Lancaster JetHawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but two late home runs from Stockton's Sandber Pimentel led the Ports to victory in a 5-4 final on Thursday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Lancaster Can’t Stop Pimentel, Ports
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Department of Justice have made public the government's plan for the court-ordered reunification of children ages 5 years and older who were separated from their parents by immigration authorities.
Feds Detail Plan to Reunite Immigrant Children with Parents
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
During a press conference on Thursday at the Gerdau steel mill in Rancho Cucamonga, Chief Eric Parra announced the destruction of 3,566 weapons confiscated within in Los Angeles County. This event comes typically in July, in compliance with California Penal Code 18005(c), which calls for weapons unable to be sold to the public or returned to their owners, to be destroyed.
More than 3,500 Weapons Destroyed at Annual Destruction Event
The Summer Art Festival, at the Oaks Club of Valencia, invites you to a fun, free artists’ reception on Saturday, Aug. 11, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 11: Summer Art Festival at Oaks Club
When you think "Advanced Manufacturing," Santa Clarita Valley probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
SCV Paves the Way for Advanced Manufacturing
(CN) – Delivering a blow to a Silicon Valley billionaire, the California Supreme Court on Wednesday erased a November ballot measure proposing to divide the Golden State in three.
State Supreme Court Tosses Ballot Measure to Split California in Three
Internationally famous Doña Oxford aka “The Goddess of Soul,” is fronting one of the hottest Blues bands of the 21st century. She has toured all over the world, bringing her amazing keyboard playing and vocals to devoted fans in Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States.
July 20: Valencia Jazz & Blues Series to Feature Doña Oxford
No business is immune from the unthinkable. Workplace violence is an increasingly important topic for organizations of all types.
Aug. 21: Active Shooter Awareness Training at VIA Luncheon
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish Church is holding their 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show Friday, Aug. 24 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Aug. 24: St. Kateri 2nd Annual Summer Night Car Show
The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority on Thursday launched the Los Angeles Homeless Outreach Portal, dubbed LA-HOP, the new Countywide Web-based portal that channels outreach support to people experiencing homelessness.
County Launches Online Portal to Combat Homelessness
LOS ANGELES - Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced Tuesday the company is now offering $75 rebates for residential customers who purchase eligible Energy Star certified smart thermostats that help residents manage their heating and cooling costs and conserve energy.
SoCal Gas Offering Rebates for Customers with Smart Thermostats
STOCKTON – Brian Serven put together one of his best offensive performances of the season to lead the JetHakwks to a 7-2 to win over the Stockton Ports on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Serven Leads JetHawks to Victory in Series Opener Against Stockton
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Brad Renison to become the new Director of Transportation. Most recently, Mr. Renison has been serving as the Interim Director of Transportation.
Hart District Names Brad Renison New Transportation Director
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Díaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera.
Dodgers Acquire 4-Time All-Star Manny Machado
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s Governing Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Dr. Catherine Nicholas to become the new principal of Sequoia School.
Hart District Appoints Dr. Catherine Nicholas as New Sequoia School Principal
Welcome to paradise at a high-energy, live show coming up in Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union, this Saturday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m., in Central Park (27150 Bouquet Canyon Road).
July 21: Concerts in the Park to Feature Green Day Tribute Band
SCV Sheriff's Crime Prevention Unit deputies and station detectives have noted an increase in the thefts of catalytic converters from cars in Santa Clarita Valley. The favored target of thieves has been the Toyota Prius (2005-2009).
Deputies Warn of Rise in Catalytic Converter Thefts from Prius Cars
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy Thursday for sensitive individuals in San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
Would you like to be a volunteer at beautiful Red Rock Canyon State Park? Learn about the volunteer program and the park’s natural and cultural history at our two-day volunteer training, Saturdays, Sept. 1st and 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Ricardo Visitor Center (new volunteers must attend both days).
Red Rock Canyon State Park to Hold 2-Day Volunteer Training
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announces the scheduled closure of the Tejon Safety Roadside Rest Areas on Interstate 5 (Golden State Freeway) to replace a water main line.
Caltrans Announces Temporary Rest Area Closure on I-5 at Tejon
1924 - Sherman Block, L.A. County's 29th Sheriff (1982-1998), born in Chicago [story]
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies have arrested a Santa Clarita woman who allegedly spray-painted walls on a city park building in Saugus early Tuesday morning, also discovering she was allegedly in possession of forged checks.
Woman Charged with Defacing Park Building, Check Forgery
The Paramount Network has set Aug. 11 as the premiere date of 'I Am Paul Walker,' a new film documentary tracing the life of the late actor, who was killed in a 2013 car crash in Valencia.
Aug. 11: Paul Walker Film Doc to Debut on Paramount Network
Marston's Restaurant in Valencia is helping raise funds for Carousel Ranch, Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization that provides equestrian therapy for disabled and special needs children and adults.
July 15-Aug. 15: Marston’s Restaurant Fundraising for Carousel Ranch