Reader Feedback Opportunity – What Do You Think?

I’ve been writing this blog for about eight months now, and it’s been an extremely enjoyable and fulfilling experience.  As I’ve told many people, I learn something from every post.  I learn by forcing myself to research, justify and corroborate my viewpoints and facts as I write about each subject.  I also learn from the many insightful comments and questions you’ve sent back to me through replies to posts, emails, and phone calls.

Stormy sky over a recently-burned Griffith Prairie, north of Aurora, Nebraska. Owned and managed by Prairie Plains Resource Institute, this diverse mixed-grass prairie has undergone extensive eastern red cedar removal and is managed with prescribed fire and grazing.

While writing the blog is fun for me, I’m doing it on work time – – so I have some responsibility to justify the time I spend on it.  It’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of something like a blog because although I get some statistics on how many times each post is read, I don’t really have any idea who’s reading it or what they think about it (except when people reply with comments/questions). 

I’ve decided that the most effective way to see whether or not the blog is achieving its objectives is to simply ask.  So – I’m asking. 

Here are my rough objectives for this blog:

1. Provide an interactive and updated source of prairie-related information as a companion to my book on prairie management.

2. Raise awareness and enthusiasm about prairies.

3. Provide a searchable on-line forum for discussion about challenges related to prairie management and restoration.

4. Improve the management and restoration of prairies by providing useful (and sometimes provocative) information and ideas.

.

If you have a few minutes this week, I’d love to hear back from you about how I’m doing on those objectives.  You can simply reply to this post or you can send me an email (chelzer@tnc.org).  Please tell me what you think so far. 

–  Has the blog changed the way you think about or manage/restore prairies?

– Is the information technical enough?  Too technical?

– What do you like most/least about the blog?

– Do you have ideas for future blog post topics?  Any other suggestions for improving the blog?

I can’t thank you enough for reading (and responding to) the posts I’ve written so far.  I look forward to many more future discussions!

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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41 Responses to Reader Feedback Opportunity – What Do You Think?

  1. Stephen Winter says:

    Chris

    In general I think your blog is a success and deserves your continued devotion. In response to your specific questions:

    – Has the blog changed the way you think about or manage/restore prairies?

    I’m not sure if it has but both you and I know that our knowledge base concerning prairies are very similar and we share so many philosophies about prairie management and restoration.

    – Is the information technical enough? Too technical?

    I think it’s just right, particularly in light of the fact that your posts in part engage a non-technical audience (I’ve seen other replies to your posts that indicate there are folks with a technical bent engaged as well). Also, it seems that the level of technicality varies with each post, so sometimes it gets deep into the prairie-geek realm (yeah!) while other times it skims the surface.

    – What do you like most/least about the blog?

    It’s all good.

    – Do you have ideas for future blog post topics? Any other suggestions for improving the blog?

    None that I can think of. Keep up the good work.

    • Sharon Collyer says:

      Hi, Chris…
      I too am writing this on work time, so my answer is abbreviated…just wanted to thank you for the great pictures, and I appreciate the time you’ve taken to write this blog. I am currently designing interpretive programs for the Niobrara National Scenic River summer season, and have enjoyed reading your stories and articles. Never fear, I won’t use your pictures without permission, as beautiful as they are…
      Wishing you well. Thanks for your efforts.
      Sharon

  2. David says:

    Chris,

    I work in the field nearly every day of the year both as a landowner and as a professional managing other people’s land. There are many times when I ask/question myself “what am I doing, society does not care about ecological restoration” so I enjoy your blog simply for the remote connection to others who care about some of the same things I do. I guess I use your blog as an encouragement, like a kind of “pick-me-up”. Thanks to you and your employer for making this blog happen.

    I think your general approach in presenting topics is good. It seems you summarize topics in your blog text but often provide links for those who want more technical details. This lets the reader decide how far they want to investigate.

    I would like to see some interviews with experts who will share their views of where ecological restoration is heading and if it will be successful. For example, I see many protected Government and NGO natural areas that are degrading fast due to lack of management. In contrast, I have seen some private lands managed exceptionally well to the point where they provide inspiration for all of us.

    Another topic of interest is case studies or observations of how members of the prairie community interact to provide long-term stability and diversity. The slant on this should be from a management perspective such as species to introduce to correct a problem. For example, for the much talked about “too many grasses” problem, introducing other native plants or critters for the purpose of reducing the grasses. Many of the “disturbance” based recipes out there today appear not to provide long-term stability and require cyclic applications by the land manager.

    Thanks,

    David

  3. Anna says:

    I like that anyone can comment on this blog, and you know what you’re writing about. For the most part, the technicality is perfect. I like how some articles are scientific and some are really simple. I can’t believe you’ve got your own blog AND your own book!! Go Dad!!!

    • Chris Helzer says:

      …thank you Anna….
      (clearly there are some disadvantages to the fact that ANYONE can comment on the blog…!)

      • James C. Trager says:

        Anna is a cool daughter, Chris. Enjoy!

        And while I’m here:
        Long may this blog wave! The subject matter is varied and interesting and at a variety of technical levels — something for most anyone. One thing the blog does well is take us right up to the limits of our knowledge, and shows us how very much there is to learn about this system we all love and wish to nurture.

        • Chris Helzer says:

          Thanks James – I appreciate it. And I’m sure Anna will too!

          Chris Helzer
          Program Director

          The Nature Conservancy
          Eastern Nebraska Project Office
          P.O. Box 438,  Aurora, Nebraska 68818
          402-694-4191   402-631-9288 (cell)

          Interested in Prairies or Nature Photography?
          Check out http://prairieecologist.com

  4. Randy Tate says:

    Chris, I love your blog! I have begun to ready it more frequently. I think the pictures pull me in. All are universally beautiful pictures; you’re a great photographer. But I guess certain pictures pull me in more than others and I then read the blog. As you might guess, fire pictures always get a hit from me.

    You’ve taught me so much about prairies over the years and I’ve learned so much through your blog. I hope you continue as you are. I guess my only comment would be, “more pictures!” All the best, Randy

  5. Brook Herman says:

    Chris,
    You probably don’t remember me. I worked for the Platter River Trust in 2000-2001 as a tech ( I still morn the passing of Paul K). We met a couple of times in the field, I was probably with Beth G. at the time. Working in the Platte River Basin was a formative experience for me. I went on to earn a master’s degree in wetland ecology and now I am restoration ecologist with the US Army Corps of Engineers where I plan and execute restoration projects within the Chicago metropolitan area. In addition, I am currently a PhD student researching restoration prioritization throughout a variable landscape. I found the web-site/blog after finding your book on Amazon while searching for literature on ecological restoration. As a restoration practitioner and academic I really enjoy your posts. I find they have helped me to understand restoration in broader context and helped address some operational aspects of restoration work. Please continue these posts for as long as you possibly can. I am a big fan. Also, I have some questions about your thoughts on restoration prioritization, so if you ever have a moment, I would like to talk. Please use this comment as proof of the impact your blogging has throughout the broader Midwest.

    Brook Herman
    Chicago, IL
    312-860-0122

  6. Jon Farrar says:

    Nothing more needs saying than – “Stay the course.” Your blogs are always interesting, cover topics not easily found elsewhere, well written, and beautifully illustrated. And, you gotta love Anna!!!!

  7. Tim Root says:

    I really like the timing of your articles coinciding with what is happening on the prairies. As a private Platte River prairie owner I find all of your articles to be inspiring. Keep up the good work !!

  8. Steve Clubine says:

    You can probably guess, due to all the controversy here, I love them and have circulated many. Keep ’em coming and I’ll try to send some ideas for future use.

  9. Suzanne Tuttle says:

    Chris – I am the general manager of a 3621 acre natural area in Texas and have passed on most of your posts to my resource management staff since I first discovered your blog. I think that The Nature Conservancy, Nebraska and the ecological restoration community at large are fortunate to have you. Thank you for your willingness to share your time and knowledge.

  10. Chris, I am a landscape designer with a degree in Ecology so I really enjoy reading your posts (even though I am on the east coast, with no prairie restoration). I try to encourage people to reduce their lawn size and plant more native species. Your photos draw me in, and your writing is just right as far as technical input goes (not too much, not too little). As far as future posts, I would love to learn more about plants that can be used effectively in residential gardens since that is mainly what I am dealing with. That being said, I love reading about the prairie restoration process, the animals on the prairie, and all the other topics you already post. Please keep doing this, it is definitely time consuming to blog, but your writing and photography are very inspiring. Thank you!

  11. Jeff Zajac says:

    Superb posts with good information, useful but not too technical. The best part is they often get me thinking, examining the things we do in light of other perspectives and techniques. And after having read your book, the blog complements it wonderfully. Keep at it, it is the best thing on prairie management on the web.

  12. Chris,

    Your blog was recommended to me by a biologist friend. As a fairly recent reader, I find your posts interesting, informative and substantive–not always easy to find in the blogging world. As an amateur ecologist, I like reading information I can trust, about issues in which I’m interested, by a writer who presents content clearly. And lucky you, not having to post during your free time! Keep up the good work.

    Adrian

  13. Eric H. says:

    Chris,

    I have been enjoying your blog immensely! I have found it to be enlightening, well balanced (from a technical and management point of view) and uncannily timely as it relates to projects and issues I am working on. You have a great approach, as Stephen pointed out, that allows the reader to go as deep as he/she desires. I particularly appreciate blogs that highlight aspects of management that are not often thought about, like a simple photo of an insect on a flower and the intricate relationship that has developed between the two.

    I strongly believe that you and both of your publications are a tremendous asset to the Conservancy and the greater conservation effort worldwide. Thank you for your dedication to conservation and to sharing your knowledge and experience with the rest of us!

    Keep up the great work.

  14. Tim Siegmund says:

    Chris,

    I greatly enjoy your blog. As many others have stated I think the variety of your postings from simple photos to the in depth discussions on restoration are what makes your blog so great. I help alot of folks down here in Central Texas try to do some form of ecological restoration in my area of Post oak savannah and tall grass prairie. Your posts have opened my eyes and made me rethink some of the ways I prioritized certain things in my recommendations. Especially some of your posts about using grassland birds as an indicator species of prairie health. Furthermore, your posts discussing and just in general bringing to light the insect life present in prairies is something when I first began my career I never even though about much less could begin to comprehend. Your posts have helped shed a little light on these subjects that I had never thought of even though I was trying to help others restore habitat and gauge the measure of their success. Your postings helped me to find one more barometer of how successful the restoration was and can be. Thanks for all that you do.

  15. Wes Pokorny says:

    Chris,
    I check out your blog everyday. I find it very educational. I also get enthused about my own little piece of prairie. Great job! Now could you figure out an easy way to get cool season grass out of my warm season and wildflowers. Maybe I’ll get a goat.
    Wes

    • Chris Helzer says:

      Wes, Don’t get a goat. Things aren’t that bad yet…
      (Plus, goats would rather eat forbs than grass, so they’re not ideal for managing for diverse prairies!)

  16. Chris M says:

    Chris,

    Although, I don’t live in a grassland/prairie region, I always find this blog interesting and thought provoking even if it isn’t directly applicable to the place I find myself. For example, how one measure quality of restoration (birds vs insects vs plants vs whatever) is applicable everywhere even if the details are different. And I think there is always a good mixture of technical vs non, photographs vs text.

    I only wish more TNC land managers were keeping such a blog. It certainly gives me, as a TNC member, a better idea of the choices you all face.

  17. Mike Suiter says:

    Chris, I found this blog a month ago and have learned a lot from it. I converted just over an acre from brome to prairie grasses and wildflowers last year. When I read invasive and brome in the same sentence here it alerted me to keep on it. I also appreciate the email advice you have given me. I think the blog has a good balance of technical information.

    Like others have said I would like to see more photos! Maybe you could post albums to Flickr or Picasweb and link to them from here?

    Future subjects could be your recommendations for native species. Do you have a “must have” list for any native planting? What natives have good success seeding into existing prairies?

    Keep the posts coming.

  18. Andrew Wright says:

    Chris,
    I am a big fan of your blog and check it every time I get an email. Be as technical as you wish, I think judging from the posts above you have a group of very intelligent readers here. I appreciate what you do, and to me a person who can see through the haze and noise of the world and realize the importance of beauty of an ecosystem, and want to restore it, that is key.
    I live in Kansas City, Missouri and frequently travel to Kansas to visit as many prairies as I can, and the big prairies are in the Flint Hills, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me. My favorites are Konza Prairie and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. In my neighborhood tallgrass prairies with a diversity of plants and animals are a rarity. I do live in a city I know, but in the Central Irregular Plains Ecoregion, which is the EPA level 3 ecoregion in which i live and includes eastern Kansas and North Missouri for the most part. Most of the land (60 percent) is utilized for crops, the rest are degraded woodlands, pastures planted with European grasses, developed land, and less than 1 percent of my tallgrass prairie landscape is left. That makes me pretty sad, it used to cover 30 percent of Missouri and 1/3 of Kansas.
    I am a senior and a Geography BS major at the University of Missouri Kansas City, although now I’m wishing I would have major in Restoration Ecology instead. But it has given me a way to look at restoration from a spatial perspective, and from what I have come to know we have lost so much of our ecosystems in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, eastern Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa, etc… I think if people realized just how much our form of capitalism and agriculture has impacted the land, maybe they would think twice about living this way. That would be nice but it’s not likely I know.
    Ecosystems are the most efficient, complex, and beautiful thing and if it didn’t exist we humans wouldn’t be here right now. The people who came to this continent more than 14,000 years ago knew that for a long time, and they were eating much better than we are today.
    As for posting suggestions, I think eluding people to the fact that tallgrass, mixed, and shortgrass prairies are perhaps some of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems on Earth more often would be cool. I think doing it from a spatial perspective conveys that well. Even going to google maps and looking at a satellite image can really give you an idea of the human impact on our once beautiful, diverse, and intact ecosystems. Seeing the brown squares and green circles, the endless grid of roads, the grey stained blobs of our cities, gives you an idea of what is going on here. And looking at a landcover map can yield the same astounding result.
    I think it would be cool if you talked about the different ecoregions and plant communities in your state as well, such as the EPA level 4 Ecoregions. I also enjoy the concept of terrestrial natural communities, in my state of Missouri there are over 70 types. In Missouri we are lucky to have a book called the “Terrestrial Natural Communities of Missouri” by Paul Nelson. It includes very detailed descriptions of of the 70 types of natural communities. Does Nebraska have a book like that? I’ve been trying to find one but I feel its probably called something else.
    Also I think it would be interesting if you talked about prairie ecosystems in terms of ethnobotany. From a perspective of how people once used these ecosystems to live comfortable lives. You could talk about plants like the sunflower, the fact that they ate bison and elk, the prairie turnip or breadroot, their use of fire to encourage grazing areas for game, etc.. I would like to use them again to whatever extent I can. To me I don’t think humans can design a more efficient system, and the prairie ecosystem was once full of resources humans could use to live excellent healthy lives. Maintained by only a match as opposed to a tractor, growing grain to feed cattle in vast monoculture croplands, and the resulting environmental pollution.
    And I have one more suggestion and then I’m done. I’m sorry this turned into an essay or something. I am interested in prairie restoration. I would like to spend every day doing that, or restoring any ecosystem for that matter. In my area the opportunities to do so are scant. A workday here, 1 acre there, etc. People don’t seem to care really, except in small pockets. I think that it would be helpful to post something about opportunities for people to get involved with restoration. Something about how people can volunteer, what education would be helpful, where the preserves are, what opportunities for employment are out there, and how can we all band together to buy some 10,000 acre tracts of land to restore prairies and any other ecosystem that has been degraded.
    THANK YOU FOR EXISTING.

  19. Ralph A. Jones says:

    I’ll jump on the bandwagon, Chris. As one who RSS feeds your blog into Outlook, I never miss a post. And none of the posts remain ‘bold’ in Outlook for very long . . . I’ve read every one of them, usually the same day they appear (except your late night weekend musings). :) They are well-written, informative, visually appealing with the photographs, and help me to understand what you and other grasslands/prairie managers are confronted with in prairie restoration and management.

    As you know from my previous post on Macro Wikinomics, this blog is a perfect example of how knowledge sharing is today accomplished on a global scale — and not just one-way, but two-way as many of your well-informed reply posters have demonstrated. It would be my hope you and Jason (that’s Chris’ supervisor for you non-TNC-ers) will write this into your performance objectives for next year so you don’t have to sweat the time allotment. Here, I’ll feed you the core competencies/TNC values: Advances TNC’s Vision/Mission; Communicates effectively; Produces results; Builds relationships/Forges strategic partnerships; Fosters an environment of innovation, creativity and growth; Facilitates change.

    Check, check, check, check, check and check.

    I hope you will keep it up, man. It is a worthy endeavor, and you are the right guy to do it.

    And, attagirl, Anna. :)

  20. Mike McClure says:

    I love all things outdoors, not just the hunting and fishing. Reading your blog helps me learn, understand the bigger picture.

  21. Rebecca Brinker says:

    As a recent graduate in environmental science I find your blog extremely useful and encouraging! My love and interest for prairies has grown over the past several years. Having a place to read how people are managing and restoring this amazing ecosystem is really helpful! I learn something new every time you post! I have not commented on any of the posts but the information I gain from reading is irreplaceable!

    I also enjoy the weekly photos!

  22. Allison Connealy Neville says:

    I am a senior studying Biology at Nebraska Wesleyan. I have definitely been inspired and enlightened by your blog and even used an example from one of your posts in an essay exam to illustrate the importance of goals in conservation biology. Your style of writing is both eloquent and therefore entertaining, as well as clear and concise and not to technical, even for an undergrad student. (And, of course, your pictures are amazing).

    If I was to pick a topic for you to write about, I would say that I would like to read a post on any challenges that arise in your field because of the controversy from the general public surrounding issues on conservation.

  23. Karen Hamburger says:

    Hey Chris
    You keep this blog simple enough for us “uneducated” fools to understand and challenging enough for the sophicated “over educated” fools to get.
    And you give us links to follow through if we are so inclined to do so!
    You are true educator. You have a following far wider than is chiming in here. You are making this world a better place.
    THANKYOU!
    AND Thank you for the years you let me trapes along behind you on your”weed patches”!
    I am a better person for it.
    Peace
    Karen

  24. Carolyn says:

    I discovered this blog a few months ago and I look forward each week to reading and seeing the great photos. I live and work as a naturalist on a 3,000-acre conservation reserve of mixed-grass prairie in Montana and feel like I learn something I can use and pass on during education programs in each posting. We also do restoration work and it’s great to read about the research going on in Nebraska. The blog has a great mix of research discussion and ecological info as well as the kind of “look! this is cool!” enthusiasm that make it fun to read. I think the technicality is just right. I also have my own “land blog” and am increasingly using this blog as a model. Thanks for the great work!

    • Chris Helzer says:

      Thanks Carolyn – and thanks to everyone else who has commented! An overwhelming response. I’m humbled and grateful. I really appreciate the great ideas for future blog posts and especially appreciate the comments on the value of the blog to you. I’ll do my best to continue and improve over time.

  25. Steve Clubine says:

    You’re blog and the topics chosen have been almost invaluable to the dialogue which most readers are fully aware of in Missouri. Your topics, observations, and studies are right on target for what most prairie enthusiasts need to know. I do have a couple specific requests.

    Compassplant is one of the watch species under patch-burn grazing. I have observed what I think are seedlings where we have used this management but can’t specifically say they wouldn’t have appeared with haying and burning alone. You have mentioned this species in your blogs and also noted a response. Please continue to observe and report.

    Second, is leadplant. Practically any range management student knows that leadplant increases under historic burning and steer grazing. I say historic because it may not be true under annual burning and early intensive grazing/double or triple stocking. Specieslike butterfly milkweed that normally wouldn’t be touched by steers (or heifers) under season-long grazing at moderate stocking maybe decreasing under eig.
    I have not seen leadplant increase, i.e. recruit new seedlings, nor have I gotten many new seedlings, under haying or burning alone. So, is it annual burning, moderate steer/heifer grazing, or the combination that causes it to increase, what happens under pbg and it important for leadplant to establish well in reconstructions?

    Steve

  26. Ed Pembleton says:

    Chris:

    I am an avid reader of your blog and have recommended it to several people.

    As an educator, and not a land manager, I’m not involved in day-to-day hands on prairie reconstruction/restoration and/or management. We work with quite a few educators who are attempting to reconstruct prairies as learning environments for their students, so you are providing a great resource for us and them. As an educator, I think one of your strongest attributes is your continued inquiry into your results and questioning of your previous management decisions. Something we always try to instill in students

    You are hitting the technical aspects at an appropriate level, in an interesting manner that leads your readers to search out more detail if they want or need it.

    My favorite things about your blog are: the clarity of your thinking, which comes trough in your writing; and your photography, which is artistic as well as illustrative.

    One future topic that comes to mind is more thoughts on increasing diversity in reconstructions/restorations that are dominated by native grasses. So many early attempts established strong stands of grass, but lack much of a forb compliment.

    Keep up the good work–you bring lots of new ideas to the task and TNC should know they are making a good investment in spreading the word as well as doing the work.

    Ed

  27. Caroline Coleman says:

    Your blog has definitely raised my awareness and enthusiasm about prairies. Your pictures inspire me! I am very interested in any information (that I can understand) about prairie restoration/resconstruction. Although I live in Virginia, I own about 88 acres in the Flint Hills of Kansas on the Neosho River that I would like to restore to prairie. This acreage is presently being farmed. My husband and I will be in Kansas this summer and I will be meeting with someone to gather information and work out the basics of how to start this project/dream.
    Keep up the great work!!
    Caroline

  28. Anna S says:

    Chris,
    Thank you for sharing your prairie knowledge and experiences with us on a regular basis. The technicality of your blogs is just right.
    After taking a few prairie restoration/management classes with Dr. Smith at UNI, I graduated from UNI and spent a summer working on the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s Stewardship crew. I use your blog to keep the prairie knowledge that I gained from those experiences fresh and to continue learning more about prairie management.
    I cannot pick out a favorite part about your blogs. Your pictures are always amazing, but the text is worth just as much.
    Thank you again!

  29. Teresa Mandevill says:

    Chris: from my point of view, you have met your objectives. I look forward to the emails that notify me of your weekly updated blog. I volunteer on the Tallgrass Prairie in Pawhuska, OK, after leaving an extensive blackland prairie restoration project in Texas. Your blogs are very informative. I feel like my “prairie education” gets to continue through your posts. I have a very small remanent prairie in southern Kansas surrounded by miles and miles of cropland. Your posts have helped me consider additional ways to manage my land and try to educate my neighbors on the importance of managing their grasslands better. Thank you!

  30. Travis Saveraid says:

    Chris –

    I think that your blog (and book) are an outstanding resource for prairie management and restoration.
    I am actively reconstructing a 56 acre prairie in south central Iowa and your blog serves as the up to date guide
    for my efforts. I am really interested in your experiences and posts about patch burn/grazing management
    techniques, particularly as this opens the door for future larger landscape management in my prairie area. I have already made plenty of mistakes, but your blog posts help me find my way
    and makes me realize that prairie management is incredibly dynamic and each and every prairie is unique.
    I loved the “calendar prairie” blog for giving me permission not to worry that my prairie doesn’t look like a book cover.

    The level of information between technical and non technical is perfect. I like the mix and the information is not
    overwhelming for a non-professional land manager.

    I like all the blog and have read all the posts.

    Suggestions: I really like how you follow the calendar year of the prairie. The information is incredibly
    relevant in that format. I am looking forward to future posts on seeding techniques, when to seed forbs/grasses, seed harvesting/prep, etc.

    Keep up the great work!

    – Has the blog changed the way you think about or manage/restore prairies?

    – Is the information technical enough? Too technical?

    – What do you like most/least about the blog?

    – Do you have ideas for future blog post topics? Any other suggestions for improving the blog?

  31. Jed Wagner says:

    Chris,

    Reading the comments of others, I notice the clearest indication to me that your time, expertise and passion are worthy and well-directed is the keen interest of so many people across the country who do not live near a prairie, or even work in the resource conservation field. Your ability to engage, teach and excite folks outside of your daily realm about the importance of your work is not only a hallmark of success, but truly the Holy Grail of natural resource management education, regardless of discipline.

    Echoing a few comments of one contributor, I find several intriguing suggestions, including opportunities for both volunteer and tourist engagement in our prairie environments, mapping and locations of existing prairie across Nebraska and throughout the Great Plains, and “ethnobotany.” The latter was a term I had never explored, so I looked it up. What I found was interesting because anything involving natural history turns me on.

    Last but certainly not least, I along with so many others enjoy your photography very much. If any picture equals 1,000 words as they say, your images must equal 10,000 words or more. Your skills in this area are clearly substantial. Your images catch people’s attention and leave them wanting more in ways that words simply can not.

    Jed

  32. Karine says:

    – Has the blog changed the way you think about or manage/restore prairies?

    I’ve only checked this blog out a few times so far this year. I happened upon it as it was mentioned in another blog that I follow. http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/
    I absolutely love prairies through work experience. I’m a young professional in the natural resources field and although my opinions and thoughts in the workplace with land management are nonexistent due to more experienced professionals making decisions. I myself have reconstructed a dry prairie on the property I grew up and able to manage that. I wish more people would read blogs, latest research, etc. on land management that work in this field as often I see outdated techniques that make me cringe. I constantly am trying to learn more on my own as of right now I have no one to spread their land management knowledge to me in the workplace so this type of blog is great for me to learn from.

    – Is the information technical enough? Too technical?

    I think this is technical enough for me, I understand and although some things aren’t super easy I think it takes the reader to actually think about what they are reading and actively use their mind.

    – What do you like most/least about the blog?

    I like the pictures. I know your out of Nebraska and I did work in Nebraska for a summer doing research work so I can understand the prairies you are talking about, I think it would be great if you could mention some something about other states maybe even Minnesota where I’m from.

    – Do you have ideas for future blog post topics? Any other suggestions for improving the blog?

    I have one idea, as I’m a supervisor in a work training program working in natural resources. I often try to get people interested in prairies that are not in natural resource careers. I try to help them realize how fortunate they are to get to see some remnant areas and how rare they are, but often is overshadowed by humans love of trees and forest. Maybe a future topic could be on getting interest from the general public and how to have people care about an awesome ecosysytem that is more rare than the rainforest.

  33. I am on a steering committee in Rochester, Minnesota coming up with a long-term plan for a 37 acre city park that is remnant prairie, savanna and woodland. Your blog provides strength to me, a city mouse, in that your blog’s passion and care for prairie areas is a genuine area of study and interest. I am faced with a city that has never paid attention to this park area, along with very active and funded sports groups who see it as a waste land; ready to be used for sports purposes. Your blog helps me inform our city’s steering committee of its value and beauty in its own right.

    You asked for suggestions: You may think this is out of scope – but you asked! Sports groups have talking points that are funded by sports equipment companies and lobbyists. These talking points are detrimental to the environment and not backed up by research; in fact they misrepresent what is peer-reviewed research. It seems that sharing the peer-reviewed research findings that are contrary to talking points would help give other city prairie preservation groups a head start in trying to protect their few remaining remnant areas. Again, I think this is beyond the scope of your blog- but you blog is highly viewed, and well-respected.

    Thank you for being there and being a source of documentation and reality for advocates of our ecological heritage.

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