Mason State Tree Nursery
Come visit Mason State Tree Nursery in Topeka, IL
Owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this 240-acre site is dedicated to raising native tree, shrub, grass, and wildflower stock to be used in both public and private habitat restoration projects. The majority of annual nursery stock distribution here goes to private Illinois landowners who possess management plans approved by their district forester, wildlife biologist, or natural heritage biologist. Unlike a typical nursery, Mason State Tree Nursery is arranged more like an arboretum or botanic garden (minus signage). Tree, shrub, grass, and wildflower species groups are planted into microcosms of their wild habitats. Butterflies such as Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, and Plains Checkerspot abound here, especially around the prairie plantings, as well as host plant trees such as pawpaw, sassafras, and black cherry. Look also for birds like Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, and Tree Swallow.