The year 2019 was amazing and thinking back on it makes me very grateful for my job, my colleagues, and my family. I was able to visit some incredible places, including both new and familiar sites, and I learned a lot from smart, energetic people everywhere I went. I also had wonderful opportunities to spend time with Kim and our kids at many of those places. While I usually do a poor job of including people in my photographs, their influence is strong in the memories I associate with each image. Here is the first half of my favorite photos from 2019. The rest will be coming soon…
This is the 108th post I’ve written in 2019. I strive for two posts a week, and – at least on average – managed to hit that this year. Of my 2019 posts, the one that seemed to catch people’s attention the most was the one about the roots of prairie plants. We’ve all been taught that prairies are resilient because the plants can draw water from very deep in the soil profile, but numerous research projects show they aren’t actually doing that. It’s intriguing to me, and apparently to many of you as well.
This was apparently a good year for interest in the belowground activities of prairies. The other 2019 post that was widely shared and discussed was from back in March, when I wrote about how prairie management affects soil carbon. Or, to be more exact, I wrote about how little we actually know about how prairie management affects soil carbon and how frustrating that is. Because we know so little, anyone who claims to understand it can get a lot of attention, regardless of whether their information is good or not (most of it’s not).
Whether you’ve followed this blog since its beginning in 2010, or have just recently discovered it, please know that I greatly appreciate all of you. I continue to be incredibly honored and gratified by the thoughtful and polite discussions that occur in the comments section of this blog – a sharp contrast from the well-deserved negative reputation of most internet comments sections. I have a lot of optimism about the future of prairies, despite the many challenges we all face. Much of that optimism comes from getting to know the people who care about prairies, both through meeting you in person and through reading your comments.
Thank you. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
- Chris Helzer
(Part 2 of my favorite 2019 photos coming soon…)