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Great Sunflower Project for Your Homeschool

What is the Great Sunflower Project? This is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children. If you can grow a sunflower (or selected other flowers), you can join the project with just a few minutes invested later this summer.

The Great Sunflower Project is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children this summer.

Great Sunflower Project for Your Homeschool

Is the Great Sunflower Project difficult?

The basic idea for this activity is to sit quietly and observe any bees that visit your sunflower. This is a perfect summer nature study project for families with children of all ages.

What is the Sunflower Nature Study time commitment?

Participants are asked to make three observations of at least 5 minutes each. That’s it! Of course, you can participate more than that if your kids enjoy counting bees.

The Great Sunflower Project is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children this summer.

Why we count bees as part of the Great Sunflower Project

The decline in bees affects everyone! This project helps collect data for scientists to use to track the bee population. If you would like to read more, click over to the website: Great Sunflower Project.

Interested in more information?

Here’s a sunflower nature study video on YouTube to go with your sunflower time.

I just planted my sunflower seeds for my summer garden. I purchased my Lemon Queen sunflowers from Renee’s Garden. Lemon Queen is the variety of flower preferred by the Great Sunflower Project. These are beautiful yellow sunflowers with lots of pollen.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in a comment or in an email.

Combine your sunflower nature study with this citizen science project. There are several great nature study ideas in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

homeschool nature study membership

More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

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Honeybees and the Great Sunflower Project – Nature Study Using the Handbook of Nature Study

Bees on the Lavender

Our choice for the Garden Critter study this month is the honeybee. We have been building a bee, butterfly, and bird habitat in our yard this year and it seemed fitting that we take a few minutes to read in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 99) about this welcome guest to our garden.

We have planted many bee attractive plants and every day, rain or shine, they come to visit. Their favorite spot in the yard is the center square filled with lavender. If you sit close by, you can hear the buzzing of wings and you can watch their activity among the flowers.

Bee Garden - Water Source
Water for the Bees – Lavender and Baby Lemon Queen Sunflowers

We read recently online that bees need water as part of their habitat. We found a shallow pie pan, filled it with an assortment of local rocks we had on hand, and then filled it with water. The rain has kept it filled but now that the weather is looking like it will remain dry, I will just replenish the water when I water the garden. Here is a really informative article about Planting a Bee Garden.

Honeybee entry (3)
We found this webpage very helpful: California Habitat Gardening and this one too: Bee Friendly Gardens.

bee with pollen on sunflower

This is what we are aiming for…image from two summers ago in our sunflowers. Can you believe that pollen?

We will be taking part in the Great Sunflower Project later in the summer. I highly recommend this nature activity which is fun and simple to do as a family. Click below for more information.

Great Sunflower Project Button

Don’t forget to post and then submit your June Newsletter nature studies to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Here is THE LINK. If you need to find the link quickly, it is at the top of my blog in a couple of places for easy access.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Creating a Bee Habitat Garden – Suggestions and Ideas

We are starting to build our new garden area to replace a huge portion of our backyard lawn area. It has been a dream of mine to take the water-hungry lawn out and replace it with color and attractive plants for birds, bees, and butterflies. My husband and I finally agreed on a plan and we started a week or so ago to build the first two garden boxes from recycled blocks that came out of our frontyard remodel last fall. We are on a limited budget for this project so we are reusing materials we have on hand and it is going to be a long range plan to add more as we have time and money. We did end up purchasing and hauling in a yard of garden soil that we added some of our homemade compost to so we could fill up our boxes. We didn’t use the complete yard of soil in the boxes but used the balance to top off our vegetable garden boxes and fill two pots for patio tomatoes.

4 18 11 New Lavender
Here is the first square which will anchor the whole project. We found some lavender on sale at Home Depot and we added four plants…..bees no extra charge. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there are bees on these blossoms every day, at all times of the day.

4 11 Dandelions
We also have loads of bees in the dandelions over on the other end of the yard. I counted quite a number of bees in the yellow blossoms as I sat and enjoyed their cheerfulness one afternoon. My husband is not convinced to keep the dandelions and wants to pull them up. I asked him to wait a bit and then he can mow them over.

4 11 New Boxes with Lawn
Mr. B is my garden helper these days and we enjoy spending time outdoors together.

The larger box is going to hold my sunflowers and zinnias. I am including the Lemon Sunflowers in this box as part of the Great Sunflower Project. I was reading on their website about their change this year and they have added quite a number of other flowers to the project so you can count bees in your area.

If you want to check it out, click over and read on their website but it looks like you can count bees on include Bee balm, Cosmos, Rosemary, Tickseed, and Purple coneflower.

The two brown piles of leaf compost that you can see in the image above are going to become part of another bee garden that we may get to this year. The link will take you to Renee’s Garden where she has collaborated with the Great Sunflower Project on a list of bee attractive plants for your garden.

The only other part we are planning on planting this spring is the Three Sisters Garden that will be a long row parallel to the sidewalk just behind where my son is working in the image above. The Three Sisters are pumpkins, corn, and beans that you plant as companions. I am excited just thinking about this part of the garden!!!

I am anxious to add in a few things as we have time and the weather warms up. My husband keeps telling me he doesn’t see my vision for the yard but I told him to have faith and see what evolves. At the bottom of the post are the seeds that I am planting in the new larger box if you are interested.

That is what we accomplished this week in our new garden project but here are a few of our on-going bee/butterfly/hummingbird habitat garden projects that are a work in progress.

4 18 11 Butterfly Garden with notes
We have been working on this section of the garden for a few years now and it is filling in and growing more beautiful with each passing season.

4 18 11 New Moonshine Yarrow
In our front yard we added some Moonshine Yarrow….this has become another favorite of the bees this spring. I am anxious to see how it grows over the summer since it says it needs very little water.

New Yard Art - Metal Butterfly and Rocks

I have to share my new yard art piece that my dear husband found for me. It is a metal butterfly balanced on top of a pole with river rocks stacked. It is the perfect piece for our front yard. I love the way it moves in the slightest breeze and is a great addition to the look of the front yard. I decided it is all about movement…the grasses, the forsythia, the butterfly bushes, and now the sculpture.

I have enjoyed reading all the entries over on Jami’s blog An Oregon Cottage as part of her Tuesday Garden Party. Welcome to all who have clicked over to read my entry!
I welcome all readers to subscribe to my blog…see the sidebar for a place to enter your email.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Great Sunflower Project 2010

Guess what I got in the mail???

Great Sunflower Project -Seeds
We participated in the Great Sunflower Project last year and it was a wonderful experience. I encourage all who can grow and observe sunflowers to participate. I know it seems early to start thinking about growing sunflowers, but this is really the time of year to start the planning aspect of the garden.

bee with pollen on sunflower
Get more information about this fun summer activity here: Great Sunflower Project.


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Great Sunflower Project

Today we did some observations as part of the Great Sunflower Project. We signed up earlier in the year to participate and they sent us some seeds to plant in our garden. Our job was to observe the sunflowers once they bloom and count how many bees visited our flowers. You are asked to observe until you see five bees or for thirty minutes.

We did not have to wait even a minute before we saw our first bee! We had five bees observed in less than five minutes.
unfolding sunflower
Here is one sunflower that is just unfolding its bloom. I love the way it looks.

lemon sunflower
I love the patterns in this sunflower. You can really see how it is a composite flower with its rays and florets.

bee crawling inside sunflower
This bee couldn’t wait for the sunflower to open…he had to push his way into the inside to reach the pollen.

bee with pollen on sunflower
Have you ever seen so much pollen on a bee before? I couldn’t stop watching this guy and his overloaded pollen sacs. Wow! He is one busy bee.

Mammoth sunflower with blue sky
This is my favorite sunflower in the whole garden. We grew it from a seed saved from last year and it is a Mammoth Sunflower. It is really tall and the bloom is huge.

Mr A with mammoth sunflower
This is my son who is six feet tall….he is dwarfed by this sunflower. Look at how large the leaves are!

finches eat the leaves
This is what the finches are doing to the leaves. They sit and nibble every afternoon. I guess there is enough to share.

This is a really fun and easy project. Check out the Great Sunflower Project for your family next year.

Gardens ebook Outdoor Hour challenge