Field Day in the Platte River Prairies – July 21, 2018

If you’re in the area, please consider joining us at the Platte River Prairies on Saturday July 21 for a special event.  We’re combining our bi-weekly volunteer work day with our annual Field Day, during which participants can join a number of hikes and educational sessions.  You can help us harvest seed for our prairie restoration work or just enjoy the various session topics during the day – or both!  If you’d like to help harvest seed, it would be helpful to bring work gloves and heavy scissors/garden shears, but we will have supplies as well.

This event is free of charge and open to the public.  Please bring your own lunch, and RSVP by July 19th so that we have enough supplies.  RSVP and get directions from Mardell at or by phone at (402) 694-4191.

Here is a schedule for the day (subject to change):

Session Descriptions:

Seed Harvest – Help us with our prairie restoration efforts by hand-picking seeds.  These seeds will be used to enhance the plant diversity of prairies that have been degraded by a history of overgrazing and/or broadcast herbicide use.

Bird walk/dickcissel research talk – Join Chelsea Forehead, a UNO graduate student, on a walk through the prairies.  Learn about grassland bird ecology and identification, including Chelsea’s current research project on the interaction between brown-headed cowbirds, dickcissels, and perch site availability.

Prairie ecology tour – Chris Helzer will lead a hike through the prairie, discussing ecology, fire/grazing management, prairie restoration, and whatever the group stumbles upon during the walk.  The morning and afternoon hikes will pass through different habitats, so feel free to join both!

Insect sweep netting – Sweep netting in prairies is a lot like snorkeling in the ocean.  From the surface, you’d never know how much life is actually there.  Grab a net and discover (and learn about) the incredible diversity of invertebrates found in prairies.

Plant identification hike – Join Olivia Schouten (Hubbard Fellow) on a walk and learn how to identify common prairie plants.

Botanical/Landscape Sketching – Alex Brechbill (Hubbard Fellow) will lead a session in which participants will sketch, paint, or otherwise depict the landscape or portions of it.  Bring your own art supplies if you like, or we will provide some basic sketching supplies.

Abundant rainfall this year has brought on abundant wildflowers in the Platte River Prairies. Please come hike through the prairies with us on July 21.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

3 thoughts on “Field Day in the Platte River Prairies – July 21, 2018

  1. Oh how I’d love to join you for a day on the prairie! Will you post at some point, the results of Chelsea’s research. on prairie birds, and some of the art work done during the session, or by the instructor? Please, please share, thanks!


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