Photos of the Week – April 15, 2022

This week, our Nebraska staff gathered in Omaha to discuss potential conservation strategies – and to reconnect after a long period without the chance to gather as a full staff. After the first of two days of intense conversation, a group of us took a short drive across the Missouri River to hike The Nature Conservancy’s Folsom Point Preserve in the Iowa Loess Hills.

We arrived as the sun was nearing the western horizon and the moon was rising to the east. The light was warm and the wind had lessened from the gale force levels we’d been experiencing most of the week. In short, it was a gorgeous evening for a prairie hike and a perfect way to relax and clear our minds.

Climbing up a ridge…
…and down the other side.
Nine Nebraska staff members of The Nature Conservancy.
It’s hard to imagine many better ways to end a day.

It was still a little early to see many wildflowers, but we did find a buffalo pea plant (Astragalus crassicarpus) in bloom. There were also quite a few green shoots and leaves emerging through gaps in the previous year’s leftover vegetation. We spotted some herons, turkey vultures, and a pretty sunset too. All that was nice, but it was even nicer to just climb some hills, feel the breeze on our faces, and enjoy each other’s company. Thanks, prairie, for being there for us.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – April 15, 2022

  1. I wish that I could see more diversity on the teams. It *appears* that this group has seven white males and two white females. Surely Native, Hispanic-American, and African-American people care, but for some unknown reason aren’t seeing the outreach efforts?

    • Thanks for bringing this up. The group in the photo is actually more diverse than it might appear, and our staff has more diversity than is shown in this photo. Having said that, we’re still far from where we’d like to be. I can tell you diversity is a frequent and ongoing theme in our staff discussions and was a part of every phase of our strategic planning workshop last week. We’re spending a lot of energy and time addressing the issue, but are always trying to find more and better ways to do it.

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