Author Archives: Chris Helzer

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.

A Prairie Ecologist Survey – Please Help!

I need a favor. I spend quite a bit of time working on this blog each week, but in some ways publishing blog posts is like tossing text and photos into a void.  To help me better understand who is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Photo of the Week – January 18, 2017

Much of the Central United States is emerging from an ice storm that glazed streets and closed schools.  On the positive side, it also coated our prairies (and everything else) with a beautiful layer of ice.  As the sun came … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Photo of the Week – January 13, 2017

I’ve often said that Interstate 80 through Nebraska is a great population control mechanism for our state.  While I actually enjoy much of the scenery along the interstate, it’s particular route helps feed the widely held stereotype that Nebraska is … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Mysterious Strands of Silk

This post is written and illustrated by Katharine Hogan, one of our Hubbard Fellows.   In November, I visited the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 83 south of the town of Valentine. There had been a burn several weeks … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Photo of the Week – January 5, 2017

Can you guess what this is a photo of? While the photo does look like leaping chicken ballerinas (according to my wife), that isn’t the correct answer.  Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to photograph leaping chicken ballerinas, though … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , | 6 Comments

How Science Works and Why It Matters

As a scientist and science writer, I’m concerned about the way science is perceived by the public.  I think some big misunderstandings about how science works are creating distrust and dismissal of important scientific findings.  That’s a huge problem, and … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – December 29, 2016

Kim and I have made it an annual tradition to spend part of our holiday break at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.  Our kids were with other relatives for part of this year’s break, so we had a few days to … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Photo of the Week – December 22, 2016

As I was putting together my slideshow of favorite photos of 2016, there were two photos I considered including but didn’t, mainly because they were in a vertical (portrait) format.  The two photos were taken within just a few minutes … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Best of 2016 – Stories and Photos From This Year

This is the 114th post on The Prairie Ecologist in 2016, and the 770th since I started back in 2010.  As always, I’m humbled and grateful that anyone besides me cares enough about prairie conservation, management, and/or photography enough to … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Photo of the Week – December 15, 2016

From time to time, I like to use this blog to provide important public service information.  Today, I am attempting to fill an important gap in the bank of available prairie ecology images.  I looked and looked online but was … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments