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 – November 20, 2014

It’s been a cold week, though we’re finally starting to warm up again.  As a way to feel a little less chilly, I went back through some photos from the summer and found these three shots from late August.  All … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Making Smart Assumptions about Prairie Management

Some people say it’s dangerous to make assumptions.  I disagree.  In fact, assumptions are both necessary and empowering.  Land managers make assumptions all the time.  If we didn’t, we’d never get anything done. Assumptions are only dangerous when they are … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Photo of the Week – November 14, 2014

The praying mantis is an impressive predator, especially when it’s a Chinese mantis the length of a ball point pen.  The ones who live around here seem to have a particular affinity for sphinx moths.  I haven’t yet watched the … Continue reading

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

What’s This Flower? (Advanced Edition) November 11, 2014

Ok, I knew it wouldn’t take long to get a correct answer on the first plant quiz this morning, but four correct answers within two minutes of posting?  Good grief. Apparently, that one was too easy for many of you, … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

What’s This Flower? November 11, 2014

The temperatures dove into the low teens last night, and I had to be cautious of numerous icy patches along the highway this morning.  I found myself feeling reminiscent of summer wildflowers, and thought maybe you would be too. So … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Photo of the Week – November 7, 2014

It’s been a busy week, capped off by two days helping staff and volunteers with a bison roundup at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.  The bison in the Preserve’s two herds are pretty much left alone all year except … Continue reading

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Hubbard Fellowship Post – Grasshopper Mice

This post was written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  Jasmine has written earlier about her independent research project looking at small mammals (or s’mammals, as she calls them) in our Platte River Prairies.  All photos are by Jasmine … Continue reading

Posted in Hubbard Fellowship, Prairie Animals | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Photo of the Week – October 30, 2014

I’ve always had a difficult time taking pleasing landscape photos in heavy fog.  I love the way prairies and wetlands look on foggy days, but I rarely come away with a scenic photo I’m happy with.  Fortunately, I can (and … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

LANDSCAPE EXPERIENCES MAJOR SHIFTS IN APPEARANCE OVER SHORT TIME SPAN

As I was preparing to post this blog, I received the latest installment of Ian Lunt’s blog, which gives very good advice to science bloggers about how to capture and hold an audience’s attention.  Ironically, I’d just been worrying that … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Photo of the Week – October 23, 2014

I needed a walk in the prairie the other evening.  There are times when I just need to change focus and think about something besides my own life, and hiking through a grassland is the perfect tonic. Our family prairie … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments