Mason State Nursery

By Holly Frainer, Project Wingspan Plant Technician

Hello all! I’m Holly Frainer, and I’ve been hired by Pollinator Partnership to work alongside the Mason State Nursery staff at their facility in Topeka, IL to receive, process, clean, and grow out the seed that our amazing seed collection teams send to us. Pollinator Partnership has found a phenomenal partner in Mason State Nursery and through this collaboration, we’re able to increase the benefit of the volunteer efforts and collections.

At Mason State Nursery, the seed is cataloged, cleaned, and organized in a central location, as well as grown out to be able to be returned to the State it was received from. Collections are kept separate by species, collection zone, and state throughout the whole process! We’re dedicated to ensuring that the right plants get back to the right places! In doing this, we are able to promote the productivity and wellness of not only our pollinators, but also the healthy wildflower communities on which they rely. This is vital, as the populations of some pollinators has drastically reduced and it is our goal to help increase those numbers by providing them with a larger supply of high quality food so they can increase in numbers and thrive! (See left for seed collections; See right for seed under the microscope)

Every day is different as we are either receiving seed, picking seed, cleaning seed, or preparing for the grow out and distribution of the seed to its home state. So far, we’ve received 135 collections across 27 species, with more arriving every week! I’m awestruck by the attention to detail and dedication of our volunteers as I receive the packages that have clearly been treated with TLC. Some arrive so clean that I barely need to process them, while others either get hand cleaned or run through a machine. (See left for seed cleaning machine)

The MOST fun of it all, is knowing that our common focus and efforts is all for the good! We are helping make GREAT changes for the benefit of all!

Join Project Wingspan!

To learn more about Project Wingspan please visit

To see our list of target plants and sign-up as a potential seed collection location please fill out the online form here:

We’re continuing to build additional volunteer seed collection teams. If you’re interested in joining or forming a team, please let us know by contacting the State Coordinator for your state!

State Coordinators:
Illinois: Elizzabeth Kaufman
Indiana: Emily Yates
Michigan: Connie Crancer
Ohio: Mike Retterer
Pennsylvania: Joe Hovis
Wisconsin: Amber Barnes (interim coordinator)

Published 12/19/19