The Great Thing About This Blog

Ok, here’s something I really love about this blog.  There are more than 1,400 people who subscribe, and quite a number of others who check in regularly.  That group of readers includes quite a few experts in various natural history and biological fields, which means that just about any question I pose can be answered.  And quickly!

Anne Stine posted some photos of insect eggs this afternoon, wondering what they might be.  It took less than THREE MINUTES for the first response to come back – including a link to more information.  A second response that confirmed the first came three minutes after that!  (A big thanks to Karen and Paul for being on-the-spot and helpful!)  Ah, the power of an intelligent and networked group of biologists!

On the other hand, having a large group of readers who are biologically-informed also means that when I post something about never having seen an otter in Nebraska, there is NO SHORTAGE of people who are just tickled pink to share happy stories of their own sightings… Gee, thanks.

P.S. – Anne’s mystery insect eggs belong to a native species of praying mantis.  Just so you know.

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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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4 Responses to The Great Thing About This Blog

  1. Malia Robinson says:

    Don’t worry Chris, knew it was a Praying Mantis nest, but still have never seen a river otter! We live on a large NRD lake in the furthest SE corner of Lancaster County and just hoping they make their way here. Though, for their own sake they may not want to (it’s skanky). Not being from Nebraska I have been delighted by beavers slapping their tails sassily at us while we chase them in a canoe, and then sitting quietly in said canoe and having muskrats just cruise on by. Growing up on a beautiful beach in Hawaii I feel very connected to aquatic creatures. But even as a child I held a romantic fascination with otters (sea otters were the only ones i had ever heard of, though they don’t live in Hawaii) and used to play “otter” in the ocean. One day . . .

  2. Dave says:

    Chris,

    What you love about your blog, is the same thing I think can be so great about the internet. Here is an example from my experience:

    This September I was out on about 40 acres of native prairie within a larger privately owned WRP easement. I was assessing the prairie condition and snapping some photos of Downy Gentian blooming when I saw a large butterfly land on a Flodman’s Thistle nearby. I carefully got close enough for some photos of the butterfly and later posted one on a Facebook page where someone commented it looked like a Fritillary. So I Googled it, clicked on images, found a picture that matched mine, and found out it was a female of the rare Regal Fritillary! Reading up on them on Wikipedia I’ve learned this species is highly dependent on Prairie Violets, they are the only plant they eat when they are caterpillars. So now I hope to include Violets in upcoming WRP seedings to increase the available habitat for this rare butterfly.

    Bottom line, this easy flow of information, can be used to accomplish good things!

    Dave

  3. Brook Settle says:

    The book ‘Pilgrim At Tinker Creek’ by Annie Dillard chronicles her observations of life on a small plot of ground, and amongst those short essays are ones about these praying mantis egg cases. If folks were interested, I thought the book was a good read.

  4. Becky says:

    Chris,
    I join you in lamenting the fact that I have never seen an otter in the wild. But I have seen an amazing number of tracks, empty mussel shells, craydad remains, fish remains, and scat to indicate that there are otters all along the Trinity River in the Dallas area as well as White Rock Lake Park and other area creeks. Amazing that in this massive jungle of concrete they still find the out of the way places to survive. Hurrah! Maybe one day I will actually see one! : )

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