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 – January 23, 2015

There are a few subjects I can’t seem to keep from photographing.  Milkweed seeds, for example.  Patterns of ice on frozen wetlands.  Dew-covered insects.  And sunflowers. What flower is more distinctive?  Their bright yellow color and big round flowers stand … Continue reading

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

Ruminations on Tree Planting and Prairie Conservation

Trees are great, but trees in and around prairies can negatively impact habitat quality for many grassland plant and animal species and provide points of introduction for invasive species.  Encroachment by trees has become a major threat to prairie conservation … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – January 15, 2015

Earlier this week, I wrote about interesting holes in the bark of burned ponderosa pine trees at our Niobrara Valley Preserve.  However, I wasn’t actually focused on documenting holes in trees at the time – I was just looking for … Continue reading

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DON’T PANIC! It’s just a crane fly.

“WOW!  That’s a GIGANTIC mosquito!!” That is a common response to most people’s first sighting of a crane fly, a flying insect with a wingspan of 1-2 cm or more.  Although they do somewhat resemble very large mosquitoes, crane flies … Continue reading

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

A Hole New Mystery to Consider

On my last trip to the Niobrara Valley Preserve, I photographed the bark of wildfire-killed pine trees in warm late day light.  I liked both the patterns and the color and was just trying to make some visually-interesting images.  As … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Photo of the Week – January 8, 2015

I was able to take a trip up to the Niobrara Valley Preserve just after the first of the year.  Snow covered the ground and it was bitterly cold much of the time I was there, but there was one … Continue reading

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Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Jasmine and Tractors

This post is written by Jasmine Cutter, one of our Hubbard Fellows.   I Like Big Tractors and I Cannot Lie I think I’ve had unacknowledged tractor-envy for a while. Growing up in the suburbs, the biggest piece of “machinery” I … Continue reading

Posted in Hubbard Fellowship, Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Photo of the Week – December 31, 2014

I am on vacation this week, so apologies for not posting much.  My kids and I are skiing in Wyoming (Snowy Range) and having a great time despite some very cold temperatures (we started today at 33 below zero!)  Because … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Photo of the Week – December 26, 2014

The sun finally reappeared this week after what seemed like a month of absence.  I figured the best way to celebrate the end of dreariness was a couple of prairie hikes. I started by wandering along a creek at our Platte … Continue reading

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Survival of the Fittest?

He was engaging and informative – feeding our tour group piece after piece of the fascinating history of the people and landscape of the Wildcat Hills Landscape.  The first guest speaker on the 2014 Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference Field Trip to the … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments