HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Furniture manufacturer Haworth is restoring grasslands at its headquarters in Holland.

The company has been working with ODC Conservation Services to replace sections of lawn with native vegetation. Haworth planted 15 acres of grassland at its headquarters last fall. It will take about three years to mature, according to Conservation Services Director Tanner Bricker.

“This is a good opportunity to reduce mowing, also create some green space for employees to enjoy or just the community, and to create wildlife and pollinator habitat as well,” Bricker said.

The Haworth campus in Holland. (Aug. 4, 2023)
The Haworth campus in Holland. (Aug. 4, 2023)

Bricker said the country has lost most of its prairie habitat.

“It once occupied about 150 million acres in this country and now it’s just less than 1% of that, so restoring these pockets where we can, even though this is only 15 acres, it makes a huge impact,” Bricker said.

Projects like this come with a cost, but the initial investment pays off over time.

“The cost itself is generally around the $2,000 to $2,500 an acre and then compared to mowing, which depends on your rates, would be in that ballpark as well. But where you’ll see the real advantage is beyond that three-year establishment period when it’s more of a self-sufficient landscape,” Bricker said.

The global furniture company is working to improve sustainability in other ways. Grass is also on the roof of the headquarters office building, which helps with water runoff and reduces heat absorption.

“We don’t see it as a project. We see it as a great way to contribute to the environment to the community along the way, make life better for our members and our partners. So it is beautiful,” Frances Hogsten, the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging and talent attraction with Haworth, said.

Hogsten has seen the impact the restoration project has had. She spotted a fox that was taking advantage of the habitat.

“She was a little faster than me but I was able to enjoy the walk as well as really enjoy how the fox was enjoying our environment and our grounds,” Hogsten said.

Hogsten hopes other companies consider this option as a way to be better stewards of the environment.

“Look at it from that standpoint and not really look at it as a cost. It’s really a great investment,” Hogsten said.