Photos of the Week – March 12, 2020

This week, I took our new Hubbard Fellows on their first visit to the Niobrara Valley Preserve. Early March is not usually the prime time to showcase a prairie-dominated site, but the Niobrara Valley Preserve has enough charisma to impress even during its dull brown phase. Ashley and Dat seemed to enjoy their first trip, and it won’t be long before they visit again.

Three adventurers on top of the world at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve. From left to right: Me, Dat Ha, and Ashley Oblander. Standing in front of the Fellows, and a little uphill, makes me look taller than I actually am…

We traveled up on Monday and spent the late afternoon and evening touring around. In just a few hours, we got to see several groups of bison, a very quiet prairie dog town, meadowlarks and horned larks, sharp-tailed grouse, miles of prairie in all directions, and the always gorgeous Niobrara River valley. By our next visit, we should be able to see pasque flowers and a little more green popping up here and there. Here are a few photos from this week’s trip.

We had a good time watching bison.
Dat and Ashley are both working on improving their photography skills. It’s pretty handy to have bison right out the window to practice on.
More bison.
Near sunset, we headed up the ridge north of the river to capture the end-of-day light.
The ridge north of the river as the sun was dropping through haze near the horizon.
A parrot (?) in the bark of a ponderosa pine tree.
Ashley photographing the sunset.
Ashley and the sunset.
Moonrise over the Niobrara River.
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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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