Project Daffodil off to a blooming start along Fox River in St. Charles

The 5,000 daffodil bulbs that volunteers planted in October on the western edge of Mount St. Mary Park in St. Charles are now bursting with color.

Project Daffodil is the brainchild of the nonprofit River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles. Project Daffodil coordinator John Rabchuk, who is on the board of directors for the River Corridor Foundation, said the public response to the project has been overwhelming.

“My wife and I live just a couple of blocks from here and we’re in this park almost every day,” Rabchuk said. “Almost every time that we come by, there’s people that will prop their kids up by the ‘Eggwards’ statue and take pictures now with the daffodils. They’re sitting them next to the daffodils taking pictures. It’s really nice. And I’ve had a lot of phone calls from people just saying how beautiful they came up.”

It took about four hours to plant all the bulbs, Rabchuk said. The River Corridor Foundation plans to plant another 5,000 daffodil bulbs this October.

On April 16, the River Corridor Foundation marked the fact the flowers are in full bloom with a celebration at the park. During the event, the foundation presented its annual Golden Turtle awards to the St. Charles Park District, which operates Mount St. Mary Park, and Larry Maholland, who played a key role in the formation of the River Corridor Foundation as a director on the foundation’s board.

Maholland also served as the city’s finance director and was the first city administrator.

The River Corridor Foundation established the Golden Turtle Award to recognize a person, group or organization that has contributed significantly to the development, preservation, enhancement and appreciation of the Fox River Corridor of St. Charles.

“This means a great deal to me,” Maholland said in accepting the award.

Accepting the award on behalf of the St. Charles Park District was Holly Cabel, director of parks and recreation for the St. Charles Park District. She also is on the board of directors for the River Corridor Foundation.

In presenting the award to Cabel, Rabchuk talked about the innovative programming the park district has come up with in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this COVID year, it’s been tough on everybody,” Rabchuk said. “The programs that the park district came up with were innovative and creative and gave us an opportunity to get outside. The team from the St. Charles Park District has just been outstanding.”

Cabel also was presented a crown made out of daffodils.

“The daffodil project turned out wonderful,” Cabel said. “It’s beautiful for our park.”

Rabchuk talked about the River Corridor Foundation’s proposed improvements to the east bank of the Fox River along Langum Park. Those plans include a limestone outcropping for launching nonmotorized watercraft, an improved area for anglers, new Americans with Disabilities Act-approved benches attached to enlarged concrete pads with room for cycle and stroller parking and landscape improvements.

Information about the River Corridor Foundation is available at

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.