Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Great Sunflower Project

We were wondering what happened. We signed up and never got any seeds. Here is an update for all of you who are waiting for the bees...


Hi Everyone!

It's been an exciting spring. The Great Sunflower Project
( has almost 30,000 participants and people are planting
in every state in the United States and every province in Canada. Wow!

We've had a few issues getting seeds out and appreciate your patience. We
originally planned to have four of us stuffing all the envelopes! When we had
12,000 people sign up in one week, we realized we needed another plan. At the
same time, we tested the seeds that American meadows had sent us. Instead of
the guaranteed 80% germination rate, we planted 102 seeds and got SIX plants. I
have to say that this was about my worst nightmare.
Fortunately, American meadows has replaced the seed and sent us a new shipment
of packets. So, if you haven't received your packet of seeds yet, they are
being mailed tomorrow from San Francisco. I haven't had the opportunity to test
these seeds but American meadows says 80% germination - again.... I've got my
fingers crossed.

If you have planted your seeds and had poor germination, please send an email
to or call 415-405-2409 (our new phone number) and Fern or Shanon
will send you a new packet. We've got them all ready to go!
On the bee news front, one of my former students, Quinn McFrederick, just
published a study showing that pollution may cause the scents produced by
flowers to deteriorate quickly making it much harder for bees to hone in on
flowers. Bees follow what we call "scent trails" to a plant. Some of the
chemicals produced by flowers can create a scent trail that extends for almost
half a mile. What a different way to encounter the world!
Let us know what we can do to help you with the project! We're thrilled you've
joined us.


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