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 – April 17, 2015

We are behind on our burn schedule this year.  The weather hasn’t been great for carrying out safe and effective burns, so we’ve only gotten a few done.  Our prescribed fires are always part of broader management plans, often including … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Introducing: The Prairie Word of the Day

I’m sure many of you are as tired of this blog as I am.  The same old nature photos, natural history, prairie management/restoration information…  It just drones on and on.  Honestly, I don’t know how you manage to drag your … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Pretty but Powerful

Because they can’t run away, plants may seem helpless against the many large and small herbivores that like to eat them.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Many plants have physical defenses such as thorns or stiff hairs to … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – April 3, 2015

A month ago, we apparently had a large number of white winged visitors hanging around our Derr Wetland Restoration.  I only know this because our timelapse cameras picked them up. Snow geese are common along the Platte River in the … Continue reading

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

Media Coverage of Our Restoration Work

Our friends at Platte Basin Timelapse (PBT) created a very nice radio piece about our restoration work that aired on NET Radio (Nebraska Educational Telecommunications) today.   The link below includes that audio, along with a transcript and short video … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tuning Out and Tuning In

It had been way too long since I’d taken the kids camping.  Earlier this month, however, I managed to get two out of three of them to come with me and we had a great overnight trip to our family … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Photo of the Week – March 26, 2015

Despite snide comments from certain friends, I do – now and then – take photos of subjects other than insects and plants… As I write this, the annual sandhill crane migration phenomenon is taking place on Nebraska’s Platte River.  The … Continue reading

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

From the Ashes

Last Friday, I wandered through the small prairie we burned back on March 10.  Even though it is still very early spring, there were already a number of prairie plants popping out of the ground.  I posted photos of this site … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Photo of the Week – March 19, 2015

Proof that I’m a biologist:  While driving along a gravel road near our shop this week, I stopped and backed up to see if I’d seen a small snake or just a piece of debris in the road… I’m glad … Continue reading

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

Hubbard Fellowship Blog – The Trouble With Fences

This post is written by Dillon Blankenship, one of our two Hubbard Fellows.   Back in December we kept pretty busy with fence work. The barbed wire fences at a few sites needed to be repaired, and some had to … Continue reading

Posted in Hubbard Fellowship, Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments