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 – August 15, 2014

Wasps are closely related to bees and ants, and some can be difficult to distinguish from their cousins.  In this case, the long body makes me pretty sure this is a wasp (though body length is not always a good … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Next Field Day – August 27, 2014

We put together a draft agenda for our next Platte River Prairies Field Day, which will take place on Wednesday August 27 at our site south of Wood River, Nebraska.  The agenda is a draft only because we may add … Continue reading

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In Celebration of Black-Eyed Susans

Before I begin this post, let me say thank you to all of you who voted on the photo choices offered up in last Friday’s post.  This time, there was no difficulty in determining the winners.  About 90% of the … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – August 8, 2014

I usually shoot more than one composition of a scene or creature.  It’s fun to experiment, and hard to know what I’ll like best when I am reviewing images on my computer later.  Of course, having multiple choices is both … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

How Do You Evaluate Your Prairie?

The most challenging aspect of prairie management may be evaluating what’s happening on the land and what to do about it.  What should you focus on as you walk around a prairie?  Which plant species can tell you the most … Continue reading

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Emergence of Life in a Wetland

After many years of wanting to, we finally installed some solar-powered pumps and livestock water tanks in our family prairie.  (Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nebraska Game and Parks for providing cost-share money!)  Those two water … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Photo of the Week – August 1, 2014

A couple weeks ago, I was walking around in my family’s prairie and spotted this tiny silhouette.  The morning sun was shining through the leaves of a stiff goldenrod plant and a fly was (apparently) warming itself in those rays. … Continue reading

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The Answer to Yesterday’s Plant Quiz

Many thanks to everyone who guessed at the identity of the plant species featured in yesterday’s post.  Here is another photo of the same plant species in bloom, from a little further away.  The species is commonly named “buckbrush”, which actually … Continue reading

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

What’s This Flower?

It’s been a while since we’ve done a plant identification quiz, so let’s see how you do.  Can you identify this common prairie flower?  It is found throughout the eastern half of the United States.  While it has a beautiful flower, … Continue reading

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

New Date! – Next Platte River Prairies Field Day is August 27, 2014

Our next Field Day will be on August 27 – – NOT August 29, 2014.  It was pointed out to me by several people that it might be a bad idea to schedule a field day on the Friday of … Continue reading

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