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 – February 27, 2015

Here are two photos that are completely unrelated to each other. Why?  Because I feel like it. So there. Ok, I guess both photos were taken in a Nebraska prairie.  That’s makes them kind of related, right? 5 points to … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Ice Jam Flooding

As I mentioned last week, recent ice jams on the Platte River caused some flooding in some of our prairies.  I was able to photograph the flooding from a couple perspectives.  On February 5, we got some aerial footage with … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – February 20, 2015

Nebraska’s Central Platte River always becomes a focus of attention about this time of year as migratory ducks and geese descend upon the river by the thousands and millions, followed shortly after by a half million sandhill cranes.  This year, … Continue reading

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

More Timelapse and More Wetland Restoration

Having just downloaded nearly two months of images from the timelapse cameras at our Derr Wetland Restoration Project (I showed photos and video from this site last week as well), I went through the images to see what stories the … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why Does Plant Diversity Matter? Help Us Figure It Out!

How important is plant diversity in restored prairies? Are diverse prairies more resistant to drought and invasive species than less diverse prairies? How does plant diversity influence invertebrate communities and their ecological functions? These kinds of questions have been the focus … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Photo of the Week – February 12, 2015

Last week, Jasmine (one of our two Hubbard Fellows) and I spent a morning at the Derr Wetland Restoration here in the Platte River Prairies.  We wanted to get some photos and video of the site before the latest snow … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Concerns about EARTH A New Wild’s Messages About Grassland Conservation

I know that many of you watched the first two episodes of EARTH A New Wild last week on Public Television, including Episode 2: Plains.  I watched as well, and while I was glad for the attention paid to grasslands, I … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Photo of the Week – February 5, 2015

Snow!  The long range forecast last fall called for a wet winter, but we’ve had very little snow so far.  This week, we finally got a couple good snow storms (and two days of cancelled school).  However, the high temperatures … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Seeing Past the Ugliness

I’ve spent much of my career restoring prairie, and I gain immense satisfaction from watching bare ground turn into beautiful prairie.  Following the lead of Bill Whitney and Prairie Plains Resource Institute, we have tried to harvest seed from as … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Photo of the Week – January 29, 2015

Ok, I admit it – I’m a sucker for crab spiders. As much as I enjoy looking at prairie flowers, I enjoy them even more when there’s a crab spider lying in wait among their petals.  I must have more … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments