Author Archives: Chris Helzer

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.

Photo of the Week – September 18, 2014

I’m writing this from The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve in north-central Nebraska, where I’m attending a prescribed fire planning workshop.  The weather up here is beautiful, and the prairies are already wearing their autumn colors.  The most conspicuous color … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Konza Prairie Trip Part 3 – Questions About Frequent Prairie Burning

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our trip to the Konza Prairie Biological Station in eastern Kansas.  On that trip, we learned about research results showing that frequent spring fires (one or two year frequency) can prevent encroachment of … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Photo of the Week – September 12, 2014

It’s grasshopper season! By the end of summer, most grasshoppers have completed their five or so molts and have become adults – complete with functional wings.   Now, as we walk and drive through our prairies, these fully-formed adult grasshoppers … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Using a Tree as a Giant Diffuser for Macro Photography

I want to start by acknowledging the irony in this post.  As someone who has spent a lot of time killing trees in prairies and urging others to do the same, it’s pretty funny that this post is all about the … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Photo of the Week – September 4, 2014

It’s not often the wind is calm enough to get a good sharp photo of a spider in its web, but everything came together nicely late last week as I walked around one of our restored wetlands.  There were a … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Konza Prairie Trip Part 2 – Tree and Shrub Encroachment

A couple years ago, I wrote about some work from Kansas State University related to woody plant expansion in prairies.  Many of us who work with prairies constantly wrestle with questions about trees in prairies. Why are they encroaching so … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

The Hidden Depths of Kim Tri

When Kim Tri (pronounced “tree) contacted us about coming out to volunteer for a month in the late spring/early summer, we weren’t sure what to think.  Why would someone from Sterling College in Vermont – a tiny little liberal arts … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Photo of the Week – August 28, 2014

I made a quick run out to our family prairie this week to see how our grazing management was looking.  It was a beautiful evening for a stroll, as the sun went down through layers of diffuse clouds.  The abundant rain this year … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Field Day Reminder – TOMORROW, Rain or Shine! Also, A Bee Photo

A reminder – we will have our Platte River Prairies Field Day tomorrow, August 27, from 9am to 3:30.  Details can be found here. Rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, but it looks like the best chances for precipitation … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hubbard Fellowship Post – Dillon the Prairie Doctor

This post is written by Dillon Blankenship, one of our Hubbard Fellows. Becoming a Prairie Doctor (or Living in a World of Wounds) Last weekend I drove back to Arkansas to attend a wedding. It is a sizable drive (approximately … Continue reading

Posted in Hubbard Fellowship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments