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 – May 21, 2015

We were working at our Rulo Bluffs Preserve this week.  While Nelson was shredding brush on the ridge tops, I was pulling garlic mustard and killing small trees.  I also found time to take a few photos.  Here is one … Continue reading

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

Ants in the Sun

A couple weeks ago, I was broadcasting seeds across a prairie we’d recently burned.  The sun had just popped out after several days of cool rainy weather, and its warmth felt pretty good.  As I crisscrossed the burned area, I … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Photo of the Week – May 15, 2015

Killdeer are really cute when they’re young. Have a great weekend.

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

Beaver Crossings

Karen Hamburger, a longtime volunteer with us, recently passed along another batch of trail camera video clips from our Derr Wetland Restoration.  You might remember seeing some of her video in an earlier post. This time, much of her footage was … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – May 7, 2015

As I’ve said many times, the prairie is an ecosystem best seen up close.  You have to look carefully to see much of the beauty.  Dillon (one of our Hubbard Fellows) and I were poking around today and found this … Continue reading

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Hubbard Fellowship Blog – A Watershed Reflection by Dillon

This post is by Dillon Blankenship, one of our Hubbard Fellows.   Though I came into the Hubbard Fellowship to learn about restoration and conservation of prairies, I have had the good fortune to spend a fair amount of time … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – May 1, 2015

Last year, I moved into a nice old house (100 years old this year) with a big lot and plenty of potential.  The kids have been enjoying the yard, the loft above the garage, and some of the new furniture … Continue reading

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A Visual Illustration of Plant Diversity’s Importance

Last week, I took some photos that powerfully demonstrate the importance of plant diversity. Several years ago, we created some research plots to help us learn more about how plant diversity interacts with ecosystem function.  As you can see above, the … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – April 24, 2015

The aesthetic values of prairie are more subtle than those in many other ecosystems.  There is much beauty to be found, but you sometimes have to look for it – it doesn’t often rise up and slap you in the … Continue reading

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What’s the Best Time to Burn?

As I mentioned last week, prescribed fire can help meet many prairie management objectives.  It’s important, however, to match the timing of the burn to those objectives in order to avoid conducting a fire that is either unproductive or counterproductive.  … Continue reading

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