Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) was an acclaimed writer who grew up in and around Lincoln, Nebraska. An anthropologist by training and vocation, he wrote more than a dozen books of essays and poetry, most focused on the mysteries of nature and humankind's relationship to the natural world.
The "Sunflower Forest" is a theme that appears in Eiseley's book The Invisible Pyramid (1970). As a child, Eiseley enjoyed playing in the large stands of sunflowers that sprang up every year on a floodplain near his home in Lincoln. He would later think of the "sunflower forest" as a place for connecting with a universal but often forgotten love of the earth.
Recognizing this theme as an exciting and fun way to encourage connection with nature, Lauritzen Gardens partnered with the Loren Eiseley Society to launch the Sunflower Forest Project in 2010. Supported by funding from the Peter Kiewit Foundation of Omaha, the aim is to raise awareness of Eiseley as an important Nebraska author, and use his boyhood experience with sunflowers as a vehicle for exploring themes related to literature and scientific inquiry.
One component of the Sunflower Forest Project was the development of an educator's guide. The guide contains a wealth of sunflower-related language arts curriculum materials for Pre-K through Grade 5 developed by Dr. Kathy Everts Danielson, a professor in the Teacher Education Department of the University of Nebraska-Omaha with expertise in literacy, the writing process, and children's literature.
Danielson, Kathy Everts, "The Sunflower Forest: An Educator’s Resource Guide" (2012). Teacher Education Faculty Publications. 63.
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