LEWISTON, N.Y. — A Niagara University biology professor is spreading kindness, raising donations and educating others about environmental justice through sunflowers.

Dr. Mark Gallo is the university’s sustainability chair and has a passion for global environmental justice. When he saw what was happening in Ukraine, he wanted to help in any way possible. So he decided to plant a field of sunflowers.

He recruited students from all majors to help him sell them on campus to raise money for Ukraine while inspiring others to pay it forward.

“This really resounds well with the mission of the institution. So I think that this can be sort of a rallying point for people here,” said Gallo.

Ukraine is known for its sprawling wheat fields and sunflowers, with seed oils being a major export. The sunflower is also its national flower.

Gallo’s efforts have raised around $1,000 for Catholic Relief Services.