Ted and the Green Van are both getting older. The 2001 green van turns 21 this year and carries many memories. In 2014, it was this van and 9-year-old Burt that taught me not to leave windows open on a vehicle that has bear food in it. No harm was done, though, and the incident turned out to be an unintentional experiment. We learned that crawling into the green van did not teach Burt to seek food in other vehicles with open windows. There were no reports of any of that in the area.
The van also carries 14 years of memories from driving back roads and driving where there were no roads during Black Bear Field Courses—rides that people asked me to repeat for more of the same when they came back for more.The destinations of those rides were often to join June, Lily, and other bears deep in the woods. Fun times.
But now, with 279,000 miles on the van plus rust and other problems, people who know best are telling me it’s time to graduate to more reliable younger vehicles. I’m afraid this vehicle that I and others grew to love is nearing its end.
But I believe that 25-year-old Ted has years to go. He is showing the gray head hairs of age, and he is slowing down; but he still shows his love of people and life with every meeting.
The celebration of Ted's 25th birthday is on January 17th. As part of that, you will be entered into a drawing for a commemorative painting of him when you make donations toward bear food and care between January 3 and 17. The painting is by Suzanne Claude. You get one entry for $5, three entries for $10, and seven entries for $25. Click on this link for details: https://mailchi.mp/bear.org/celebrate-teds-birthday-with-us and/or click here to donate.
Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA