‘Project Daffodil’: students garden to beautify town

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LOLETA - “We're just trying to improve our community and make it beautiful and spread good cheer,” Joel Geck-Moeller, organizer of ‘Project Daffodil’, said.

Six classes of students from Loleta Elementary are helping with Project Daffodil relocating daffodil bulbs from the school to the Main Street Park.

“It's a great community event. It ties in with our social studies and our science curriculum,” Kurt Rasmussen, first grade teacher, said.

The students are led by a former school bus driver and janitor who planted the daffodils years ago.

“I would sneak out and garden. And they didn't tell me to quit doing that so and now the garden's really pretty,” Geck-Moeller said.

Today the garden’s pretty and the bulbs have multiplied. So Joel decided it was time to share them with the community and teach students the art of gardening.

“It gives them a little sense of ownership. At the school we talk a lot about being safe and respectful and responsible and it just ties right in with that,” Rasmussen said.

Students from the elementary school will be planting around 500 daffodil bulbs in the next couple of days. Those will then bloom around February of next year. But Joel hopes what's planted here will blossom into something even greater in the future. 

“You never know. You're just planting a seed, pardon the pun, but you hope it sticks with them someplace. A lot of these kids have a hard go but I hope it's something they can hang on to,” Geck-Moeller.

Project Daffodil is also made possible in part by a Calfresh grant that promotes a healthy body, mind, and soul…something this early exposure to gardening can definitely encourage.

“I wanted to give the kids a chance to do some gardening. Kind of have a way to feel good about themselves maybe and make a difference and have something that will last too,” Geck-Moeller said.