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.

…But Sometimes They’re White

I generally use this blog platform to share ideas and information about prairies, but now and then I also use it as a platform for asking questions.  Today is an example. I want to know why many wildflowers, especially those … Continue reading

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

Photo of the Week – October 13, 2017

My favorite photos tend to be those I’ve taken most recently.  I imagine that’s true of most everyone who does any kind of creative work.  I have a tab at the top of the home page for this blog called … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Back Door Thieves

I took a quick walk through one of our restored wetlands last week.  Most plants had finished blooming for the year, but in some recently-mowed patches, there were some scattered flowers of beggarticks (Bidens sp) and blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica). … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Photo of the Week – October 5, 2017

I had a few minutes after a meeting yesterday to walk through a restored wetland in our Platte River Prairies.  I didn’t really have any preconceived notion of what I was looking for – I just wanted to explore a … Continue reading

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

A Little Calm in a Noisy World

The world seems awfully turbulent and noisy right now, and I don’t know about you, but I could use a little calm and serenity.  In my world, calm and serenity often come from a quiet walk through a prairie early … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Photography | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Plant Game (Sept 27, 2017) Answers

Thanks to everyone who played this week’s plant game.  Here are the answers: First, the photo didn’t get many guesses, but Ally got it right.  It is rough rattlesnakeroot, aka rough white lettuce, aka Prenanthes aspera.  Sorry Mike, your iNaturalist … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Natural History | Tagged | 4 Comments

Photo of the Week – September 29, 2017

As the growing season comes to an end and most wildflowers wind up their blooming period, insects that feed on nectar and pollen have to work a lot harder to find food.  The few remaining plants with active flowers suddenly … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Plant Game – September 27, 2017

The rules are simple.  Just pick the fake plant name from each list.  Three of the names in each list are official common names (as opposed to the scientific, or Latin names) of plants found growing in Nebraska.  The other … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – September 22, 2017

The Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is an impressive creature.  Introduced to North America, it has certainly made itself at home here.  Entomologists I’ve talked to express varying levels of concern about the presence of the Chinese mantis – as well … Continue reading

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

Corrected/Updated Information on the Painted Lady Migration Post

Well, about an hour after I published today’s blog post on the painted lady migration, I received an email response from Royce Bitzer (Iowa State University) which answered some questions I’d sent him earlier in the week.  I’d waited for … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments