INA, Ill. (June 15, 2022) — The Sunflower Project attracted families to Veteran's Memorial Park in Mt. Vernon on Saturday with plant education, face painting, giveaways, and flower planting opportunities. The event was the first of three to span the life cycle of the flowers from June to September. The next event, 9 - 11 am on Saturday, July 30, will be the highly anticipated bloom event, where the flowers will reach maturity. The harvest and clean-up event is scheduled for 9-11 am on Saturday, September 3rd.
(L-R) Connor, Aiden, and Bentley Walters of Benton plant sunflowers at the Sunflower Project event. (Click for Printable Photo)
"We are working towards the educational components of planting," said University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Chris Lueking. "They are planting Teddy Bear Sunflowers at the front of the field. They grow to a height of two feet tall. The families will be able to come out and see how the flowers they planted are doing at the July 30 event."
"The Flowers will take about a week to germinate and begin popping up," Lueking added. "Kids can learn about this process and more at the Rend Lake College tent, where there are crosswords, puzzles, and graphics to see the parts of a plant. Then, the kids can practice taking care of a plant because we have seeds and pots they can take home. This is the first event like this, and we are happy to see people stopping by asking questions. The whole event is great for educational purposes but also to bring in pollinators like bees and butterflies."
The project aims to beautify the area, regenerate soil, and attract pollinators to the park while educating community members about how to grow their own flowers.
Nathan and Isla Wheeler of Mt. Vernon prepare the ground to plant sunflowers. (Click for Printable Photo)
The project is sponsored by:
Rend Lake College
Cedarhurst Center for the Arts
The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
Enjoy Mt. Vernon
(L-R) Connor Walters (Benton), Bentley Walters (Benton), Greg Hollmann, Rend Lake College Physical Science Associate Professor, Aiden Walters (Benton), and Melanie Walters (Benton). (Click for Printable Photo)
Isla Wheeler of Mt. Vernon prepares the soil to plant a sunflower seed at the Sunflower Project event. (Click for Printable Photo)
A young Cedarhurst Center for the Arts artist draws a basketball on Bentley Walters's hand (Benton). (Click for Printable Photo)
Cedarhurst Center for the Arts Administrative Counselor Cynthia Thomas draws a sunflower on Connor Walters's hand (Benton). (Click for Printable Photo)
Check back for coverage and photos of the following two events.
Mark your calendars for The Sunflower Project's upcoming events.
Bloom Celebration Event - Saturday, July 30 - 9 -11 am - Veteran's Memorial Park, Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Harvest and Clean-up Event - Saturday, September 3 - 9 -11 am - Veteran's Memorial Park, Mt. Vernon, Illinois