Hubbard Fellowship Blog – December Update from Eliza

A guest post by Eliza Perry, one of our Hubbard Fellows:

Fellowship update! I’m behind in my posts so here are some photos of what we’ve been up to the past several weeks.

FENCE WORK

Pulling electric fence at the end of the season, using a motorized wire winder.

Pulling electric fence at the end of the season, using a motorized wire winder.

I think my favorite stewardship activity is fencing. It surprised me a little to realize this, as fencing is not the most exciting thing we do around here unless we do it with a skid loader. It involves walking sometimes several miles pulling insulators off rebar, and getting paid to do it. It also involves teamwork, and I love working with people other than myself. In this photo, Chris Helzer and I watch Nelson struggle with a stubborn, cold fencing machine because we know how to be helpful. (Editor’s note: I was breathing on it to warm it up.  It started shortly after this photo was taken, so it obviously worked.)

MOWING

Mowing an area that will be sprayed in the spring to control exotic grasses.

Mowing an area that will be sprayed in the spring to control exotic grasses, and eventually re-seeded.

I hadn’t used the tractor in months, so after I was re-trained, I mowed our Dahms Pivot property for several hours, trying to knock back some of the invasives before we re-seed a big portion of the restoration in the coming years. While I mowed, I saw many small mammals scamper out of my way, one bald eagle, one pheasant, several raptors and other birds I couldn’t identify, and a stunning sunset (below).

Autumn sunset over the Platte River Prairies.

Autumn sunset over the Platte River Prairies.

ZOO TRIPS

The Fellows were recently treated to a tour of the Henry Doorly Zoo with Anne Hubbard and Jessi Krebs, Reptile and Amphibian Curator, who gave us a behind the scenes look into the zoo’s amphibian conservation research efforts. We also got to walk around the world’s largest geodesic dome at sunset.  Later in the week, we returned to give a presentation to the high school zoo academy students.

(L-R) Anne Stine, Eliza Perry, Anne Hubbard.  Monitor lizard in foregraound. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska.

(L-R) Anne Stine, Eliza Perry, Anne Hubbard. Komodo dragon in foreground. Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska.

Anne makes a new friend.

Anne makes a new friend.

The domed roof of the desert display at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

The roof of the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

OMAHA OFFICE

Staff at the Omaha field office of The Nature Conservancy - moving furniture.

Staff at the Omaha field office of The Nature Conservancy – moving furniture.

How many TNC employees does it take to get a file cabinet upstairs? This, unfortunately, is the only picture I took during our first week-long visit at the Omaha Field Office, but our week included discussions with each member of staff on various topics including the new Corporate Council, the Global Challenges/Global Solutions conservation strategy, fundraising technique, social media outreach, and post-Fellowship careers. Anne and I “took over” our chapter’s Facebook page for the week, check out the fruits of our labor: www.facebook.com/NatureConservancyNebraska

CHAINSAW TRAINING

Anne cuts off a limb (of a tree!), supervised by Nelson Winkel, TNC land steward.

Anne cuts off a limb (of a tree!), supervised by Nelson Winkel, TNC land steward.

After our week in Omaha, the Platte River Prairies crew had a chainsaw training field day as we gear up for winter tree removal. We did a little chainsaw work over the summer, but my preference is to do the majority of it while it’s not sweltering hot outside. Anne is learning how to safely limb and buck up a tree under the supervision of two experienced sawyers.

END OF SEED SEASON

Shelves of processed seeds wait to be mixed and planted.

Shelves of processed seeds wait to be mixed and planted.

Seed harvesting and processing accounted for a sizeable chunk of our stewardship efforts this summer and fall, so this image of all the seeds in storage is exciting.

FIRE PLANNING

Chris Helzer describes prescribed fire tactics and strategy during a training session.

Chris Helzer describes prescribed fire tactics and strategy during a training session.

The Fellows sat down with Chris Helzer, Tyler Janke, and Nelson Winkel to create burn plans for our spring burns. Here, Chris is showing us how wind changes can affect the burn trajectory, and how we need to account for these possibilities in a plan. We worked through one prescribed burn plan as a group so we could see all the components of that process.

Advertisements

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.
This entry was posted in Prairie Management and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hubbard Fellowship Blog – December Update from Eliza

  1. elfinelvin says:

    Eliza, you certainly have been busy! And I wish I could have dogged your steps for most of it. You have a great job.

  2. kismet20 says:

    It’s great to see photos of the actual nuts and bolts of prairie management! Not sure which are the nuts and which the bolts. LOL Thanks for sharing these!

PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s