Photo of the Week (And Two Milestones) – March 29, 2013

Continuing with the theme of the week (at least for me) here’s yet another prescribed burn photo.  We ended up burning three days in a row this week, making the week both productive and exhausting!  However, just getting three consecutive days of appropriate weather for burning is worth of celebration!

Controlling the backing fire on one end of a prescribed burn, with the flames of the headfire in the background.  The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

Crew members control a backing fire on one end of a prescribed burn while the flames and smoke of the head fire fill the sky in the background. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

Today is also a good day to celebrate two milestones related to this blog.  First, this is the 300th post I’ve written, since starting this blog in the fall of 2010.  It’s hard to believe I’ve written that much in just a few short years!

As I’ve said before, writing this blog makes me a better ecologist. The process of synthesizing ideas into blog posts forces me to take the time to think much more carefully about subjects than I otherwise would.  My job always keeps me hopping, and it’s tempting to just jump to the next urgent task without paying sufficient attention to what’s happening in our prairies or finding out what others are learning.  This blog motivates me to pause and focus on the bigger picture.

It’s also gratifying to know that there are others interested in the same topics I am – and there are a LOT of you!  The second milestone I wanted to mention is that the number of people who follow this blog via either email or Twitter recently exceeded 1000!  More than a thousand people are sufficiently interested in prairies, photography, or both, that they’ve added this site to the bombardment of emails or tweets they sort through each week.  That’s fantastic – and it doesn’t include many more of you who check in regularly to see what’s new but aren’t subscribers. 

Thank you for following, reading, and commenting on this blog.  It’s invigorating for me to put posts together, and equally invigorating to read and respond to the insightful comments you give back. 

Now, I’d love to say more, but I’ve got to start thinking about what I’m going to write about for next week…  Plus I’ve got this list of urgent tasks staring at me from my desk!

Have a great weekend.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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9 Responses to Photo of the Week (And Two Milestones) – March 29, 2013

  1. Becky says:

    Thank you Chris for taking the time out of your busy schedule to provide the information and continuing education of us all. I LOVE Prairies!!!!!

  2. Mike says:

    Congratulations on the milestones, its rewarding and reflective all in one. I agree, it forces one to assimilate thoughts a little deeper when its punched out on keys or written on paper.

    Have a great Good Friday and celebrate Easter with reverence.
    Thanks for your dedication.

  3. Congradulations! Your’s is the first e-mail I read and it’s always informative and entertaining. I may not live on a Prairie, but love them just the same.

  4. Tracey Nelson says:

    And one more milestone for you, Chris – 16 years with The Nature Conservancy! Lots of milestones for you – congratulations on all! Have a great weekend!

  5. Patrick Swanson says:

    Keep it up Chris! Thought about another post: you covered ants…how about termites? Do you know if they are present? I have what I believe is a grassland species of termite. The new drones and queens were flying today. Maybe sensing the coming rain?

  6. Lynn Bills says:

    Chris,
    Congratulations on your 300th milestone! Don’t stop there, go for 3000! I look forward to many more. Thanks.

  7. David says:

    Congrats Chris! Your contributions are a big help in promoting grassland conservation. I am envious you guys are able to burn. We are waiting patiently for the snow to melt here. Bare ground can be seen on south slopes, but all other areas are still snow covered. Following Patrick’s lead, how about a post on “A beginners guide to prairie insects” that outlines some simple steps to follow to introduce folks to invertebrates? A list of online resources that help in identification and known characteristics/habitat requirements could be utilized. I know entomology is a big subject, but it seems there is enough known to put together an overall summary to pique people’s interest?

    Thanks, David

  8. Good timing too, with last night’s rain.

  9. James McGee says:

    Chris, I have always wondered what happens to all the carbon black after a burn. I have watched it slowly disappear many times but have never been able to find out where it all ends up?

    James

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