Anybody Want A Job? Or A Grant?

Pardon the bulletin board nature of this post. I did include a couple prairie photos from yesterday to compensate you for suffering through a couple announcements that will be irrelevant to most of you. If you’re not looking for either a job or a grant (and you don’t know anyone else who might be) you can just scroll down to the photos. However, I’d sure appreciate you forwarding this to anyone who might be interested in either the job(s) or grant.

The Job:

I mentioned this job in an earlier post, but we’ve just extended the deadline to apply for our Science and Stewardship Technician position at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. It’s a seven-month position, but includes housing and full benefits (including health insurance). The technician will be housed at the Platte River Prairies south of Wood River, Nebraska, but will spend much of their time at the Niobrara Valley Preserve as well. The job runs from April 24 – December 1, 2023.

The Science and Stewarsdship technician will assist me with several field research projects this year. They will also work on grassland stewardship and restoration projects, including invasive species control, seed harvest, prescribed fire (weather permitting), and basic preserve infrastructure work. Read the full job description and learn how to apply by going to Click on ‘current job opportunities’ and then search for ‘Nebraska’ to find this and other open positions. The deadline for application is January 27, 2023.

While you’re there, check out the other jobs available at TNC Nebraska, including a seasonal prescribed fire technician position at the Niobrara Valley Preserve, an agricultural projects lead, and a finance director position. We’ve got a lot going on right now!

A couple sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvus) seeds clinging to the open, dried, spiky seed pods. Or maybe the pods are clinging to the seeds? That’s probably more accurate.


The Grant:

The second piece of news is that we’re still accepting proposals for our J.E. Weaver grant program. The program awards $1,500 grants to graduate students working on research related to conservation needs in the Great Plains of North America. It’s an easy application to fill out and money will be awarded in early April of this year. Applications are due March 3, 2023. Information can be found here.

Prairie Stuff:

I took a long walk yesterday at Lincoln Creek Prairie, here in Aurora. The high thin clouds overhead created beautiful diffused light, making photography really enjoyable. I spent most of my time admiring seed heads in the prairie and ice bubbles along the creek. Today’s post includes three of the seed head photos I came home with.

Stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) seed head showing, I think, tiny exit holes where insects emerged last fall.
Entire-leaf rosinweed seed head (Silphium integrifolium). Silphium seeds are some of my favorite. They are large, flat and shaped like fingernails. These reminded me a couple windmill heads.
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.

6 thoughts on “Anybody Want A Job? Or A Grant?

  1. I’m especially taken with your Mimosa pod and seed picture, Chris. This fungal biologist loves the color detail that the surface litter decomposers are adding to the pods, demonstrating that the essential decomposition process is starting on the standing vegetation. Most probably started in the fall when it was a bit warmer but many of these fungi are able to do their work at temperatures just above freezing.

  2. Hi Chris,

    I may have a possible applicant for your job posting. I’m forwarding your email to her. So appreciate your photos of the winter prairie. I’m 4 years now on my little prairie here on the outskirts of Omaha. When I’m town text me if you want a peek at it and possible a cup of tea / coffee. Number below. Just fyi the prairie has totally changed my husband’s view (as a Minnesotan) of what is most interesting about Nebraska.

    I was in Kearney years ago with my friend, Anne Hubbard. Your instructions years ago on prairie maintenance and pollinators have stayed with me. You’ve given countless classes I’m certain. Loved your one meter project too – opened up eyes to many who needed them opened to what is missed with our perfect green lawns.


    Sheila Fitzgerald 402-871-7434


    • Thanks Sheila! I’m really gratified to hear that I’ve been helpful to you.

      I do get to Omaha now and then – usually for a quick trip – but I’d love to stop and see your place if I can find the time! I’ll give you a call if I’m coming that way and have a window of opportunity. In the meantime, feel free to reach out with specific questions anytime!


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