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 – December 19, 2014

Do you recognize this tallgrass prairie plant?   No?   Well, it is a member of the carrot family.   Early European settlers thought its roots could provide an antidote to rattlesnake bites. They were wrong.   The plant somewhat … Continue reading

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Favorite Photos From 2014

As we near the end of another year, I’ve put together a collection of my favorite images from 2014.  I hope you enjoy them.  Though I traveled to prairies in several other states this year, all of my favorite images … Continue reading

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Contrasting Approaches to Prairie Management: Leopold, Land Health and Cabbages.

“A Land Ethic” is the concluding essay in Aldo Leopold’s 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, and is the most powerful and relevant piece of conservation writing I’ve ever read.   Leopold’s essay spells out the changes we need to make in … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – December 11, 2014

For no particular reason, here are two unrelated photos from the same day.  Both photographs were taken on September 28, 2014 at our family prairie south of Aurora, Nebraska.  I wish I could come up with a pithy and informative … Continue reading

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What I Look For When I Walk Through My Prairies

Back in August, I posted some questions to readers about what they look for when evaluating their own prairies.  I got some excellent responses, which I really appreciated.  If you missed them, you can re-read that post and those comments … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – December 4, 2014

When I photograph small creatures, I often try to position myself so I can look right into their eyes.  I like face-to-face images because they feel very personal.  One of the most important catalysts of conservation is the personal connection … Continue reading

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2015-2016 Hubbard Fellowship – Apply Now!

We are now accepting applications to join our 2015-2016 class of Hubbard Fellows.  Please share this with anyone who might be interested. The Claire M. Hubbard Fellowship Program bridges the gap between school and career by providing Fellows with a broad set of … Continue reading

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Wanna Know What Really Makes A Sunflower Lose its Head?

Nearly-decapitated sunflower heads, scattered across the prairie.  Oh, the devastation!  Who could be carrying out such an evil plan? (Ok, more accurately, a weevil plan?) The head-clipping weevil, aka the Silphium weevil (Haplorhynchites aeneus) is a small dark-colored weevil, less … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – November 28, 2014

Ambush bugs are scary-looking little predators.  Their stocky bodies are heavily armored up front, and they have very thick raptorial forelegs like those of praying mantises.  I usually only spot ambush bugs when I’m photographing something else such as flowers … Continue reading

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Thank You

Thanksgiving (the holiday) is tomorrow, but I didn’t want to wait to express a quick, but heartfelt, THANK YOU to all of you who read this little blog.  When I started this project about four years ago, I really didn’t … Continue reading

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