Introducing a New Book – The Wonders of the Autumn Prairie

It’s not often I get to work on a book project for which I am asked to provide all the photos and none of the writing.

A new free digital book has just been released, written by eccentric author A.S. Clepias and illustrated by me. The book, “The Wonders of the Autumn Prairie” is not what you might expect. It has only one page of text and nearly 100 pages of photos.

I’m not particularly excited about the author’s overall perspective on prairies, but it was a unique opportunity to share a bunch of photos I’m proud of but that probably wouldn’t have been packaged together in any other project. I hope the end result will be a positive one for prairies. If nothing else, being involved was amusing and that’s something.

Intrigued? You can click here to see the book. It’s free to download and is a PDF, so should open on any device. I really think you’ll enjoy it.

Here’s one of the photos included in the new book, “The Wonders of the Autumn Prairie
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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.

15 thoughts on “Introducing a New Book – The Wonders of the Autumn Prairie

  1. I was curious to read the author’s statement which you indicated you didn’t agree with. I finally managed to find my eyes and pop them back into my head after reading the statement. And then flipped through pic after pic of (am I wrong?) milkweed seeds. Is this meant to be a parody? I feel I’m missing something.

  2. I’ve just finished teaching Plato’s dialogue Phaedo, in which the last words of Socrates are “We owe a [sacrifice] to Asclepias.” As a professor of philosophy, classical studies, and ecology, that resonates with me in multiple ways.

  3. This book’s title should be ‘Photographing Milkweed Seeds; Let me Count the Ways’. I too wax poetic about Prairies, but have not enjoyed a fall season in one, so I was anxious to see expansive views of waves of muted colored grass, fall wildflowers. and a few animals preparing for winter. But no there’s little prairie in this book.

  4. A breath of fresh air!
    I thought the seed photos were a little stingy for my taste.
    We needed far more of them to really get a handle on what they really look like.
    I hope a sequel is in the works!

  5. Dear A.S. – er, Chris. Thank you for this tribute to an underappreciated ‘weed’. This ‘book’ speaks of the challenge your photos always illuminate: to see the complex beauty of the mundane. You finally found a way to use all those photos you have spoken of. Good work.

  6. Wasting space except during autumn, huh? Not sure I’m terribly fond of the author’s perspective either – but the photos are lovely.

  7. While I appreciate the wonders of milkweed both summer and fall, A.S. Clepias appears to be rather myopic. I’m sure A. Gerrardii would take exception about that view of the autumn prairies. But they were great photos!

  8. HAHAHAHA! Good one Chris! I shared it, extolling your virtues as an excellent macro photographer. I should have looked all the way though it first!!

    It is October Fool’s Day??? 😆

  9. Nice collection of pics, Chris! Now I’m hoping that Dr. Clepias’ associate, Dr. A.S. Teraceae will also hire you for her fall family photo album.

  10. Chris,

    I totally disagree with the many negative things she says about prairies. It’s odd someone with so little appreciation for the natural world would publish such a book, but at least your photographs make it worth looking at.



  11. The milkweed seed is endlessly beautiful in autumn light. Thank you for your beautiful photos. My favorite–among many–is the seed on ice bubbles.

  12. I agree with amymoonlady: the milkweed seed photo is exquisite. I look forward to admiring the book photos. We fans of prairies are fond of your blog–many thanks. Linda G


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