Native Prairie Seed Collection

collecting prairie seed

The State Park Stewardship Unit is in need of volunteers to hand collect native prairie seed at several state parks and recreation areas throughout the month of October and early November. Seed from a number of wildflowers will be collected for later planting by the Stewardship Unit to restore native tallgrass prairie, lakeplain prairie, and oak savanna ecosystems. Some seed from prairie grass plants such as big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass, will be collected as well.

Prior to European settlement, southern Michigan supported vast expanses of prairie and oak savanna. Today prairies and savannas persist only in tiny remnant patches, many in state parks and recreation areas. Seed collection is a key step in restoring these lost landscapes, but it is one that requires many hands. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the natural and cultural history of these rare landscapes while doing something positive to help restore and preserve them for future generations. It is fun, easy and a wonderful experience for the entire family and people of all ages.

family volunteersWe ask that volunteers bring an empty, clean, dry gallon milk jug or small bucket to collect seed with and wear sturdy shoes. Hiking distance will vary depending on location. Prairie remnants are often very sunny places so a hat and drinking water are also recommended. If you are allergic to bees, please bring your sting relief kit. An adult must accompany children under the age of 18.

If you belong to an organization or group and prefer to volunteer during the week, specific arrangements may be made for a private workday.

For more information about Southeast Michigan contact Laurel Malvitz-Draper at or 517-719-2285.

For more information about Southwest Michigan contact Heidi Frei at or 517-202-1360

A current calendar of workdays is now posted. All volunteers are required to register for seed collecting by completing a registration form or by emailing the information on the registration form to your Regional Natural Resource Steward (see above).