After an unusually mild winter, Georgia’s own groundhog General Beauregard Lee predicted an early spring. While his prediction has proven correct – so far – a more reliable sign of spring is the sight of daffodils blooming after a months-long hibernation.
If you’ve been downtown in the past couple of weeks, you may have seen thousands of these bright yellow flowers blooming from Woodruff Park to the campus greens of Georgia State University.
This is not the work of a master gardener – it is a call to action. Dr. Andrea Videlefsky, a physician and philanthropist, started The Daffodil Project here in Atlanta in 2010. The Daffodil Project is a project of Am Yisrael Chai!, a nonprofit Holocaust education and awareness organization.
Videlefsky said in an interview with Lois Reitzes on “City Lights” that the project “aspires to build a worldwide living holocaust memorial by planting 1.5 million daffodils in memory of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust, and in support for children who continue to suffer in genocides and other humanitarian crises around the world today.”
Videlefsky explained that the idea for the project came from the daffodil itself, a yellow flower “which is symbolic of the yellow star that the Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust … Yellow is also the color of remembrance, and the daffodils are resilient, because they return each year after a dark winter … giving us a sense of hope for the future.”
Since 2010, it has become a worldwide project that’s grown exponentially – as well as geographically – with gardens planted in Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and beyond. Each planting around the world includes a plaque explaining the project.
Videlefsky estimates that about 390,000 daffodils have been planted to date, with 250,000 right here in Atlanta, many of them downtown.
Laura Voisinet, First Lady of Georgia State University, took note. Under her leadership, the Daffodil Project and GSU formed a partnership and in November, students planted 5,000 bulbs at the University’s Centennial Hall.
You can learn more about the Daffodil Project on their website.