The founder of the Marigolds Project has announced student participation has been suspended for this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Barry Ogden made the declaration in an email announcement Wednesday.
The annual Marigolds Project saw students plant thousands of marigolds at different locations around the region, highlighted by a group planting effort in the median of Main Street North.
In 2019, more than 200,00 marigolds were planted at 67 locations by students from seventy area schools. It set a Guinness World Record in each of the last six years for the largest number of students planting flowers at one time.
Earlier this year, Ogden said the project was on track for a seventh straight record.
“We purchased all of our supplies and all our orders are in so we are ready for next year,” Ogden’s email said. “We are talking to municipalities and institutions about planting some marigolds in June but without children.”
The project also includes painting murals and planting spruce trees. Ogden said more than 80,000 people have participated over the last 23 years.
Ogden said annual preparation for the project begins in the fall with the search for sponsors and the purchase of supplies. Supplies are delivered to schools in time to begin growing the flowers after March Break.
The flowers are used in class, Ogden said, to help children learn math, germination rates and photosynthesis.
He said students also use the flowers as inspiration for art projects and music. The flowers are transplanted around the city in June.
Schools in New Brunswick have been closed since March 16th due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced last week the initial two-week closure would be extended indefinitely.
“The marigolds and children are such a great symbol of hope that we want to keep the spirit alive,” Ogden said. “These are trying times that we will see through.”
Ogden said the Marigolds Project has been copied in British Columbia, New York and Europe.