Popular sculpture succumbs to insect infestation
When Mark Huffman commissioned a chainsaw artist to create a likeness of a mother bear with her cubs out of a tree stump in his yard south of Newton, he was expecting the sculpture to last a little longer than eight years. But now, he’s facing the sad task of removing the bears because of an insect infestation.
About eight months ago, a friend brought Huffman a load of firewood from Des Moines. Only last month did he notice that the firewood contained a kind of boring insect. Huffman called the Department of Natural Resources, who told him to dispose of the firewood as soon as possible, before any of the other trees on his property become infected as well.
Unfortunately, Huffman discovered later, it was too late for his bear sculpture. An examination revealed extensive damage to the mama bear, and at the base of the sculpture. Huffman is hoping to preserve some other parts of the sculpture in some other form, however.
With the help of Brian Dawson, of Dawson Drywall, the sculpture was dismantled Thursday afternoon. Although there will no longer be a bear sculpture in Huffman’s front yard, Dawson made cuts on the sculpture to preserve the baby bears, who appear to have less insect damage.
Huffman said the bear sculpture will be greatly missed.
“It’s going to be a heck of a landmark missing,” Huffman said. “Many people would use it for directions, such as ‘Turn at the bears,’ and folks going to the speedway would use it too. It’s unfortunate.” Even strangers would stop and ask if they could have their picture taken in front of the bears.
Huffman is asking the public for help. If anyone knows of ways to preserve the sculpture and to prevent further infestations by the insects, call Huffman at 641-521-8984.
John Jennings can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at email@example.com.