Photo of the Week – May 27, 201

We just returned home from our family trip to The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.  I posted some photos from the first half of the trip earlier this week.  Here are a few more, but they don’t begin to cover all the experiences we had.  I’ll share more photos and stories in the coming weeks (after I unpack and get my life organized again!)

I revisited the same group of bison we'd seen earlier in the week, and the second time I found them, the cows, calves, and yearling bulls had been joined by three mature bulls.  I'm not sure why the bulls weren't with them the first time, or why they joined them the next day.

I revisited the same group of bison we’d seen earlier in the week, and the second time I found them, the cows, calves, and yearlings had been joined by three mature bulls. I’m not sure why the bulls weren’t with them the first time, or why they joined them the next day.

The former pine woodland north of the river continues to progress in its revegetation (unaided by humans).  Shrubs such as coralberry, smooth and skunkbush sumac, chokecherry, and currant are starting to become more prevalent, as are many grasses, sedges and wildflowers.

The former pine woodland north of the river continues to progress in its revegetation (unaided by us). Shrubs such as coralberry, smooth and skunkbush sumac, chokecherry and currant are starting to become more prevalent, as are many grasses, sedges and wildflowers.

After a wet May, the Niobrara river was running fast, making our canoe trip fly by.  We didn't have to pull the canoe over sandbars (or really even steer around obstacles of any kind other than a few islands).  On the other hand, the current made pulling over to the bank to hike up creeks to see waterfalls a little more challenging than it often is.  Regardless, the National Scenic River lived up to its name.

After a wet May, the Niobrara river was running high and fast, making our canoe trip fly by. We didn’t have to pull the canoe over sandbars (or steer around obstacles of any kind, other than a few islands). On the other hand, the current made pulling over to the bank to hike up creeks to see waterfalls a little more challenging than it often is. Regardless, the National Scenic River lived up to its name.

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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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2 Responses to Photo of the Week – May 27, 201

  1. Joanne says:

    working your job and family time on the same trip –

  2. James McGee says:

    I’m glad to see you took the boys on a canoe trip. I think it should be mandated by law that every child in Nebraska canoe the Niobrara River at least once.

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