Photo of the Week – March 2, 2017

This week marks the 150th anniversary of Nebraska becoming a state.  Nebraska will be celebrating all year, but there were a number of events this past Wednesday, including one at which the U.S. Postal Service introduced a new postage stamp.  The stamp features a photo of sandhill cranes by my friend Mike Forsberg, a native Nebraskan and fantastic conservation photographer.

In honor of Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial (fancy word for 150th anniversary) celebration this week/year, I’ve put together a few of my favorite Nebraska photos from the last several years.  We live in a state of great ecological diversity, ranging from oak woodland and tallgrass prairie in the east to dry sparsely-vegetated rocky bluffs in the west.  It’s an honor to work on the conservation of those natural systems, along with many other conservation professionals, ranchers, farmers, educators, and nature enthusiasts.  I’ve tried to represent some of the ecological diversity of Nebraska in these photographs.

A bumblebee rests on a lanceleaf blazing star (Liatris lancifolia) in restored tallgrass prairie at Spring Creek Prairie near Lincoln.

A bumblebee rests on a lanceleaf blazing star (Liatris lancifolia) in restored tallgrass prairie at Spring Creek Prairie near Lincoln.

A panoramic look at the rocky landscape around Scotts Bluff National Monument in the Nebraska panhandle.

A panoramic look at the rocky landscape around Scotts Bluff National Monument in the Nebraska panhandle.

A male dickcissel sings its territorial song at The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies.

A male dickcissel sings its territorial song at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies.

Morning dew on spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Morning dew on spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Reflections of sky in a Sandhills wetland and meadow.

Reflections of sky in a Sandhills wetland and meadow.

Yellow lady's slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum) in oak woodland at the Rulo Bluffs Preserve in southeastern Nebraska.

Yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum) in oak woodland at the Rulo Bluffs Preserve in southeastern Nebraska.

Bison bulls in recently-burned prairie at The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve.

Bison bulls in recently-burned prairie at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.

A bush katydid feeds on purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) in the Platte River Prairies.

A bush katydid feeds on purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) in the Platte River Prairies.

Fog and the Niobrara River at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.

Fog and the Niobrara River at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.

Sandhill cranes float gently to their overnight roost on the Platte River.

Migratory sandhill cranes float gently to their overnight roost on the Platte River.

A migratory dragonfly and morning dew at its overnight roost in a small prairie outside Aurora.

A migratory dragonfly and morning dew at its overnight roost in a small prairie outside Aurora.

Stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) in mixed-grass prairie in Central Nebraska.

Stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) in mixed-grass prairie in Central Nebraska.

Hay bales and windmill in the Nebraska Sandhills.

Hay bales and windmill in the Nebraska Sandhills.

 

A red-bellied woodpecker in a snowstorm in eastern Nebraska.

A red-bellied woodpecker in a snowstorm in eastern Nebraska.

A saltmarsh caterpillar in early morning light.

A saltmarsh caterpillar in early morning light.

Smith Falls, a well-known landmark and tourist stop along the Niobrara River.

Smith Falls, a well-known landmark and tourist stop along the Niobrara River.

Sunflowers and sunrise in the Platte River Prairies.

Sunflowers and sunrise in the Platte River Prairies.

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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.
This entry was posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Photo of the Week – March 2, 2017

  1. shoreacres says:

    Beautiful details, and beautiful diversity. Someday, I hope to hone my skills enough to capture some of our landscape in the same way.

  2. jeff@67 says:

    Thats a beautiful picture of the the Sandhill’s. Thanks for sharing.

    Jeffrey T Hintz JTHLLC

  3. Richard Portman says:

    Very nice! Thank you! It feels like something that was almost lost is coming back.

  4. Bob Erickson says:

    Dear Chris,
    Thank you for these detailed insights into the natural world of Nebraska.

    My great grandparents homesteaded north of Lincoln near Raymond. I understand that there might be a prairie preserve in that area. Do you know of it? I live in California but am visiting my brother in Lincoln next month and we want to see the Raymond prairie and the old farm. He has the township, range and section from the homestead papers. They left the farm and moved to Lincoln after the blizzard of 1888. They were all Swedes from Gotland.
    Bob Erickson

  5. roofingbird says:

    Yeah, I see more than one of us might be wondering a little why our ancestors left Nebraska. These are really gorgeous photos! Happy 150th!

  6. Love this post. When did they start putting photos on postage stamps?

  7. avanraaphorst says:

    This is a lovely collection of photos. I wish Nebraska were nearer to California so we could pay you a visit.

  8. marknupen says:

    what a stunning group of pics from your collection. This is what I like to see when I go to a new area of landscape and you have documented it with some great photos and especially some of your stunning closeups!!!
    thanks

  9. thomas prunier says:

    Wonderful pictures of native wildlife but not one Native American?

  10. thompsonxyz says:

    As usual, your wonderful photos entice me to actually spend more than a few road hours in Nebraska. And it looks like you agreed with me and others of the best photo showing rolls of hay toward the distance and the close windmill that comes above the horizon. Regardless, this is a fine collection of Nebraska photos.

  11. Joanne says:

    Fabulous photos. A beautiful way to start the day — memories, of a childhood that left me with “sand in my shoes”

  12. Patricia Mettenbrink says:

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Your pictures are GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing them.

  14. Beyond words Chris, Thanks.

  15. Ed May says:

    What a great group of pictures Chris. Thanks for sharing them and have a wonderful weekend! >

  16. Peg Furshong says:

    Your photos were a great pick-me-up on this Friday morning! Have a great weekend.

  17. Teresa says:

    Once again you did it. What a window into wonder. Some of these pictures are so stunningly beautiful that it’s difficult to believe they are of real landscapes and not some painter’s impression of beauty. Such as the fog over the Niobrara. That shot is so romantic and peaceful, that I sighed with satisfaction when I saw it. And then there are those that just tug at me as if there is some inexplicable but intimate connection between us, like the cranes with their feet dropped down, or the hay bales in the Sandhills. Thank you so much. Made my day and my week.

  18. Stew Magnuson says:

    Superb. TNC is lucky to have a scientist who can also write and shoot. You’re a triple threat. When are you going to write a book?

  19. Bob Brewer says:

    Fantastic sights. What a beautiful land.

  20. Juliette Hulen says:

    Dear prairie man – I have just discovered your blog and enjoy it. I live in OKC and our family will be going to the Mickelson trail near hill city, SD for spring break. We drove through Nebraska for the first time on the way home from Yellowstone and I fell in love!! I am dying to discover it further and was hoping you could suggest some nature highlights on the road between okc and hill city. Any ideas are appreciated.

    Thank you! Juliette Hulen

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Chris Helzer says:

      Sure! Toadstool Park, crescent Lake nwr, valentine nwr, Fort Robinson, spring Creek Prairie Audubon center. And of course Niobrara Valley Preserve and the Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies!

  21. Barb says:

    What beautiful pictures. Thanks so much for sharing them….it’s hard to pick a favorite.

  22. kacy says:

    I can’t find the “like” button. These are awesome, thanks for sharing.

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