Photos of the Week – September 13, 2019

Back in June, Kim and I stopped at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve on our way home from Houston. I haven’t had much time for photography this week, so I looked back and grabbed some photos from the our day in Kansas. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend the trip. There is a wonderful visitor’s center and bison are easy to see, either via hiking trail or bus tour. It is also a great place to see patch-burn grazing (with cattle) within the context of the Kansas Flint Hills – the largest remaining tallgrass prairie landscape in North America. Here is a brief glimpse of that site.

Prairie at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
Green milkweed, aka green antelopehorn milkweed or spider milkweed (Asclepias viridis).
Crab spider on green milkweed.
A metallic green sweat bee on green milkweed.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
Sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvus)
Wild alfalfa (Psoralidium tenuiflorum).
Prairie larkspur (Delphinium virescens)
White evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
Massassauga rattlesnake catching late day sunlight.
Blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis) and Flint Hills tallgrass prairie.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized 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.

10 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – September 13, 2019

  1. Thanks for these pictures of the Flint Hills! I lived there for 5 years and still miss the stark landscapes. When family visited from Chicago where I grew up I’d take them out on a gravel road that got us to a place where the only sign of civilization was the road were were parked on. You could see to the horizon in 360 degrees with not even a phone pole in sight. It was always awesome to me. I’d think about what it might have been like to come up over this rise in a covered wagon and not have a road beneath you!

  2. I have wonderful memories of the Flint Hills. I stayed in Matfield Green on vacation two years in a row to spend time on the Tallgrass Prairie. There’s a local group called The Tallgrass Express String Band that you’d surely like; you may know them. Their musical tribute to big bluestem called “The King of the Prairie” is great. How many songs do you know that include “carbon” and “ligule” in the lyrics?

  3. Love your info and especially your photos! Might check out the size of the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

  4. I loved this entry and the photos. The Kansas Flint Hills are my “home prairie” as I grew up on the west edge of them and attended university (University of Kansas at Lawrence) on the east edge. One of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet in my book. How fortunate that the rock layers are so close to the surface over most of this area — the only reason the Flint Hills have survived plowing.


    Standing on a hilltop near Wonsevu
    I can imagine what my great-grandfather saw
    Riding long ago into a prairie paradise.
    For this rock-ribbed land was never really tamed,
    Never torn asunder, never plowed under.
    Here the grass still rolls green across the horizon
    And after rains water everywhere seeps,
    Trickles and flows like life’s blood.
    Even in July, when south winds scorch
    And cattle mob the ponds to slake their thirst,
    The water still is there, below in the flinty stone,
    The everlasting heart of all these verdant hills.
    It takes a special kind of toughness
    To survive some sorts of love.

    ©2002 John I. Blair


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