Sunflower-Themed Language Arts
When I was a boy I
once lived near a brackish stream that wandered over the interminable salt
flats south of our town. Between
occasional floods the area became a giant sunflower forest, taller than the
head of a man. Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid (1970)
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
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.
It is our pleasure to make the contents of the Sunflower
Educator's Resource Guide available here in downloadable