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.

An Adjusted Aesthetic and Reflections on Portraying Change

I have long admired the work of Stephen Packard.  His book  The Tallgrass Prairie Restoration Handbook (co-authored with Cornelia Mutel), for example, is a classic among restoration practitioners.   More importantly, he observes, reflects, and shares his thoughts in ways that influence … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Photo of the Week – April 18, 2014

A couple weeks ago, I posted a few photos from the timelapse cameras at a restored wetland on our Platte River Prairies.  One of those showed the first documented use by sandhill cranes of that site, which was pretty exciting.  I downloaded … Continue reading

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

Patches of Fire and Habitat

It’s been a difficult year for conducting prescribed fires so far – the wind seems to be blowing even harder and more consistently than in recent memory.  And that’s saying something, living in the Great Plains. A couple of weeks … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Darn Gophers…

People who live in the country tend to view “gophers” in much the same way city people view rats. Suffice it to say, neither animal is particularly popular. Much of the time, when farmers, gardeners, or groundskeepers are complaining about … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – April 10, 2014

I’m a terrible birder.  I used to be pretty good, but I’ve kind of lost my motivation – there are too many other things to look at when I’m out in the field. Last Friday, I was at the annual Prairie … Continue reading

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

Hubbard Fellowship Blog – First Burn of the Season

It’s burn season on the Platte and our team is foaming at the mouth to get some fire on the ground. Prescribed fire is completely dependent on suitable weather conditions, so almost every day we wake up hopeful to burn, … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Photo of the Week – April 3, 2014

This week, I present four photographs from one of the timelapse cameras along a restored wetland in our Platte River Prairies.  All four photographs were taken automatically by the camera, and none are particularly striking images, artistically speaking. Nice sales job, eh? … Continue reading

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

Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Tumbleweed Dystopia!

. This is a guest post by Anne Stine, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  All photos are by Anne: I took a three-day weekend to go camping in Cimarron and Comanche grasslands, where Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado all meet. Historically, … Continue reading

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

2014 Sandhill Crane Migration – Platte River, Nebraska

March is always a busy time on Nebraska’s Platte River.  It’s the beginning of prime prescribed fire season, of course, and a good time to work on fence repair and tree clearing projects.  But there’s no question that sandhill cranes … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ten Thousand Acres

A major milestone was reached in prairie conservation today when our good friends and partners over at Prairie Plains Resource Institute (PPRI) planted their 10,000th acre of prairie. Ten thousand acres of new prairie in Nebraska!  It’s an incredible contribution to our … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments