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Maryland to Dedicate This Year’s Sunflower Planting for Ukraine

Annual Planting for Wildlife Takes on Special Meaning

Photo of sunflowers in bloom

Photo: “Sunflowers After Storm at McKee Beshers” by Bob Julia, submitted to the 2018 Maryland DNR Photo Contest

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announces that it will dedicate its sunflower plantings to the people of Ukraine this spring. Each year, the department plants about 130 acres of sunflowers on 15 wildlife management areas across 18 Maryland counties. Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine, which remains besieged by the Russian military.

The primary purpose of DNR’s plantings is to provide a source of food for mourning doves, cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, finches and other wildlife species, after the plants mature and dry. Pollinating insects like bees and butterflies also benefit from the abundant nectar and pollen that sunflowers produce. This year the plantings will serve a dual purpose by expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Displaying the large yellow flower has become an important way for many people around the world to express unity and support for Ukrainians who have suffered the war’s destruction and bravely resisted Vladimir Putiin’s aggression against them.