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 27, 2015

My wife, whom I love deeply.

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Saving Pollinators One Thistle at a Time

Pollinator populations are in trouble for a lot of reasons.  Loss and degradation of habitat, pesticides, and diseases are all major contributors.  However, at least in the Central United States, much of the pollinator decline can be tied to spiny … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – August 21, 2015

How could you look at this spider and not think it’s cute? Unfortunately, many people will look at this photo and recoil.  I’ve gotten so used to handling and admiring spiders and other invertebrates that I forget most of the … Continue reading

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Killer Thistles

Two years ago, I posted some photos of ants and other insects that had died on the sticky lower portion of thistle flowers.  At the time, I speculated about whether or not the sticky bracts below the thistle blossoms were … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – August 13, 2015

Nebraska has 108 species of grasshoppers.  They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and generally speaking, the further west you go in the state, the more species you can find.  While on a short trip to … Continue reading

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August 21 Field Day – Agenda

We’ve completed the full agenda for our next Platte River Prairies Field Day on August 21.  We’ll have a wide range of topics and sessions to choose from; it should be a fantastic day. See the full agenda, descriptions of … Continue reading

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Double flowered sunflowers

When you look at a sunflower, you’re really looking at a composite of tiny flowers, or florets.  The same is true for asters, daisies, and other members of the composite family of plants.  The colorful “petals” of a sunflower are … Continue reading

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Next Platte River Prairies Field Day – August 21

On Friday August 21, we’ll be hosting our next Field Day on the Platte River Prairies.  The agenda is nearly set – we’re just waiting for final confirmation from a few presenters before putting out the official agenda.  We’ll have … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – August 6, 2015

There are many benefits of being a morning person.  For example, I see a lot of sunrises – even in the summer when the sun comes up well before most people are awake. Last weekend, I got up early and … Continue reading

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Chuck Norris of the Prairie

A big topic of conversation at this year’s Grassland Restoration Network (GRN) workshop had to do with designing seed mixes to combat potential invasive plant problems.  When converting cropland to prairie vegetation, the first few years of establishment are sometimes … Continue reading

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