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Cloverdale celebrates spring by painting flower planters to beautify the town

Cloverdale on Saturday celebrated the onset of spring and of a return to post-pandemic normalcy with an all-family project that combines the joys of art and gardening.

Kids, parents and educators came together at Jefferson Elementary School for the town’s first Spring Planter Project.

The concept was to paint half-barrels that will become planters to be displayed through mid-July outside of businesses throughout Sonoma County’s northernmost city. After that, families that paid a fee to adopt and decorate a planter will be able to take them home.

The sponsoring Cloverdale Unified School District promoted the Planter Project as a means of encouraging “student expression, health, gardening, and collaboration after a trying year of COVID and distance learning.”

Members of the Cloverdale community pitched in. Rodney Strong Vineyards donated the used barrels, ACE Hardware the paint and Cloverdale Nursery the flowers to be planted.

Individual donors and the CARE Foundation put up dollars to help cover some of the costs involved in the project. Families that registered to paint and ultimately take home a halved wine-barrel planter were asked to pay $50. Some families received scholarships.

When the planters are on display outside of Cloverdale businesses, they will feature solar-powered lights and a carved quick response or QR code created in Cloverdale High School’s Maker Space. Visitors who scan the code with their cellphone will access the project’s website, tinyurl.com/cusdspringplanterproject. The locations of the planters, photos of participating students and copies of their artist statements will be posted there.

First-grade teacher Heather Noyes, one of the three Cloverdale teachers who organized the planter project, said the hope is that it will return about three years.

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