Help make sure Springfield's sunflower field returns next year

If you enjoy the sunflower field on the South side of Springfield, you can help renew the blooms in 2021 by harvesting the seeds this year.

 

Keep Clark County Beautiful is seeking volunteers to collect the seeds and donate most of them to be used in planting the field next year. Anyone interested should contact Sam Perin, program coordinator for the Clark County Solid Waste District, at [email protected].

 

“The Sunflower Recycling Project is a good chance for residents to get out for a socially distanced activity that adds value to the community,” says Perin, in an email interview. “Residents who participate will also be recognized as contributors to the field with their names on signs at next year’s field.”

 

The sunflower field, located just east of the bike path between Euclid and Grand avenues, was started in 2018 by four local agencies – Keep Clark County Beautiful, National Trail Parks and Recreation District, the City of Springfield, and the Clark County Land Re-utilization Corp. – to bring some natural beauty to an abandoned industrial site.

 

“A sunflower field is not only aesthetically pleasing, but sunflowers also perform phytoremediation, which is the process of plants removing toxins and metals from soil,” Perin says. “Additionally, sunflowers are beneficial to both insects and wildlife.”

 

The sunflowers were in full bloom in late July and early August but are starting to droop now. The seeds should be ready to harvest when the sunflowers have browned, sometime in September.

 

Anyone who signs up for the harvest will be notified by email when the seeds are ready, Perin says. Volunteers will be given an informational sheet about how to harvest the seeds, and instructional videos will be posted online.

 

They should pick several blooms, harvest the seeds, and store them in an airtight container in a refrigerator until they can bring them to Specialty Recycling at the Solid Waste District, 1620 W. Main St., on any Thursday.

 

“We encourage people to keep some of the seeds for themselves to grow their own sunflowers, as well as donate them back to us for use in the 2021 sunflower field,” Perin says.

Read more articles by Steve Schlather.

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