Improvement plan: Breen Prairie reclamation

By Catherine Wilson on February 9, 2015 in Blog


Employees from General Mills help harvest prairie seed from the Breen Prairie north of Monticello in Jones County on Oct. 8, 2014.


Prairie sage grows up to 40 inches tall and blooms August through September. The multi-branched stems are thickly covered by fuzzy grayish hairs. Some American Indians used it to treat tonsillitis, sore throats and stomach problems.

Building friendships and renewing natural habitat are two methods of environmental improvement, whether in the office or on the land.

Approximately 30 employees from General Mills in Cedar Rapids enjoyed a day out of the office last October. They went to the rolling Breen Prairie north of Monticello in Jones County to assist in an INHF seed harvest. Though sunshine and blue skies do promote team building, so does the giving back aspect of harvesting native seed for soil restoration.

Breen Prairie is a 140-acre parcel donated by Helen Reichart to INHF in 1989 with the specific intent of restoring and preserving Iowa prairie.

The General Mills team removed brush and then harvested six bulging bags of seed, including Indian grass, Prairie sage, Prairie cinquefoil, Wild quinine, Leadplant, Gray-headed coneflower and Pale purple coneflower. The seeds were dried over the winter and reseeded between corn rows as part of a prairie reclamation on Jan. 19, according to Tylar Samuels, INHF Land Stewardship Specialist.