Next Field Day – August 27, 2014

We put together a draft agenda for our next Platte River Prairies Field Day, which will take place on Wednesday August 27 at our site south of Wood River, Nebraska.  The agenda is a draft only because we may add additional sessions and topics between now and then.  I hope to see you there!

You can download a PDF of this agenda here.

DRAFT AGENDA

9am – 9:15am

Introduction of the day’s sessions and orientation to the site.

 

 9:15am – 10:30 Sessions

Seed harvesting techniques – Bill Whitney

Tree killing techniques – Nelson Winkel and Dillon Blankenship

Small mammal ecology – Jasmine Cutter

Reading the prairie – Chris Helzer

 

10:45am-Noon

Invertebrate predators and other little critters – Julie Peterson

Seed harvesting techniques – Bill Whitney

Plants for pollinators – Jennifer Hopwood and/or Pete Berthelsen

 

12pm – 12:45pm – Lunch (bring your own)

 

12:45-2pm

Tree killing techniques – Nelson Winkel and Dillon Blankenship

Plants for Pollinators – Jennifer Hopwood and/or Pete Berthelsen

Reading the prairie – Chris Helzer

 

2:15-3:30

Seed storage and cleaning – Nelson Winkel

Reading the prairie – Chris Helzer

Invertebrate predators and other little critters – Julie Peterson

 

Session Descriptions

Seed harvesting techniques.  Bill Whitney, co-founder and director of Prairie Plains Resource Institute will provide demonstrations of how to harvest seed for prairie restoration, including how to identify when seed is ripe enough to harvest, how to hand-harvest efficiently, and other tips from his more than 30 years of prairie restoration experience.

Tree killing techniques.  Nelson Winkel and Dillon Blankenship of The Nature Conservancy will share tips on and do live demonstrations of three methods of deciduous tree control: basal bark treatment, cut stump treatment, and hack-and-squirt.

Small mammal ecology.  Jasmine Cutter of The Nature Conservancy is live trapping small mammals in the area and will talk about her results (and hopefully have live mammals to look at).

Reading the prairie.  Chris Helzer of The Nature Conservancy will talk about how to evaluate the management needs of a prairie.  Questions addressed will include: What plants are most important to pay attention to?  What do they tell you?  What are the important types of habitat structure to look for and how much do you need of each?  Which invasive species are important and how do you know when/how to attack them?  How do you know whether an area could benefit from fire and/or grazing?  This hike/session will be in a different prairie each time, so can attend multiple sessions if you like.

Invertebrate predators and other little critters.  Julie Peterson, UNL Assistant Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist will lead a hike to find, identify, and discuss the ecology of invertebrates of all kinds, but with a particular focus on predators.

Seed storage and cleaning.  Nelson Winkel of The Nature Conservancy will lead a tour of TNC’s seed barn and talk about/demonstrate how to dry and process seed after harvest and how to store it until it’s time to plant.

Plants for pollinators.  Jennifer Hopwood of the Xerces Society (tentative) and Pete Berthelsen of Pheasants Forever will talk about which plant species are most important to pollinators.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

The Derr House is located 2 miles south of the Wood River exit off of Interstate 80 (Exit 300).  Turn south immediately after the highway curves to the east and you’ll be there.

For more directions to the site, go to: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/nebraska/placesweprotect/eastern-nebraska-platte-river-native-prairie-nature-trail.xml

Some snacks and cold drinks will be provided, but please bring your own lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, drinking water, and whatever else you need for a day in the field.

You are welcome to come for part or all of the day as your schedule allows.

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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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One Response to Next Field Day – August 27, 2014

  1. James McGee says:

    I hope you do this again next year and in subsequent years. That way the people demonstrating tree killing techniques can also do all the follow up work. By starting that kind of project, someone should be committed to seeing it through to the finish.

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