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April 3, 2013

Annual Daffodils for Dinosaurs fundraiser supports Nature Preserve

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Sally Edward, of the Rochester Garden Club, left, and Rita Becker, administrative assistant of Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, right, finish cutting daffodils for delivery during a past Daffodils for Dinosaurs fundraiser.

ROCHESTER — Thousands of daffodils will bloom inside grocery stores in the greater Rochester area this month as part of an annual fundraiser for the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve.

Every year, the preserve sells an average of 20,000 of the bright yellow flowers through its largest annual fundraiser, Daffodils for Dinosaurs, which supports programming at the nature center.

Rita Becker, a spokesperson for Dinosaur Hill, said the nature preserve provides environmental and educational programming year-round for families and children starting at age 4.

“We do really, really high-quality preschool programming and toddler programming. We do family campfires. We do after-school programs for school-age children, and we do summer camps. And we depend on this fundraiser to keep the doors open, basically,” she said. “Daffodils for Dinosaurs is typically our largest money-maker.”

Daffodils first arrived in the Rochester area on March 21 and 22 as part of the 23rd annual event pre-sale and were delivered to residences, businesses and offices throughout the area. At that time, Becker said, more than 300 bunches were also delivered to senior Meals-on-Wheels recipients, thanks to support from businesses and residents, and the cooperation of the Older Persons’ Commission.

“This year, because of the way the calendar fell, we had to separate the two parts of the fundraiser,” Becker explained, adding that the pre-sale and the supermarket sale are usually held the same week. “Spring is late coming this year, so maybe by (the supermarket sale), spring will be here.”

Those who missed the pre-sale can still bring a hint of spring home with them while supporting the nature preserve. On April 12, 13 and 14, Dinosaur Hill volunteers will be out selling daffodils at Papa Joe’s and Hollywood Market locations in the Rochester area for the communitywide sale. The daffodils will also be sold at the Kroger at Adams and Silverbell April 20 and 21.

Sue Neal, executive director of Dinosaur Hill, said in an email that Daffodils for Dinosaurs raises dollars that are critical to the operations of the preserve and allow it to continue to offer high-quality educational programming and recreational activities. 

“At Dinosaur Hill, we do a tremendous amount on a shoestring budget. Our programs and activities for preschoolers and adults center around getting them outdoors and active, while our school field trips are designed to provide students the knowledge they will need to be well-informed decision-makers in the future. By purchasing daffodils, individuals directly support these efforts,” she said in an email.

The annual event typically brings in around $8,000 in revenue for nature center programming — not including the donations from event sponsors, who Becker said help underwrite the cost of the daffodils. This year’s sponsors include Neil King Physical Therapy Inc., Pino Insurance Agency, Eugenia’s Third Street Hair Gallery, Expetec Technology Services, French Associates, Gofrank & Mattina PC, the Rochester Downtown Development Authority and The Erik Ambrozaitis Team.

Dinosaur Hill, 333 N. Hill Circle in Rochester Hills, is a nonprofit organization of more than 35 years that provides environmental education programs. For more information call (248) 656-0999, email daffodils@dinosaurhill.org or visit http://daffodils.dinosaurhill.org.