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.

Photo of the Week – June 23, 2017

This is a good year for sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvus) in the Platte River Prairies.  Sensitive briar is a spiny perennial legume that sprawls across the ground in dry prairies and has leaves that fold up when touched or blown … Continue reading

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Register for the 2017 Grassland Restoration Network Now!

This year’s Grassland Restoration Network meeting will be July 11 and 12 at Konza Prairie near Manhattan, Kansas.  Some of you have attended these annual meetings in the past (we hosted last year’s meeting here at the Platte River Prairies … Continue reading

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Exotic Beauty

Early in my career, I felt pretty strongly that only native plants should be in the prairies I managed.  Pretty quickly, I realized I didn’t have enough time to eradicate the worst invasive plants from our sites, let alone worry … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – June 15, 2017

Earlier this week, I posted a photo of a female wolf spider carrying her brood on her back.  We were collecting data at the Niobrara Valley Preserve this week, and it seemed there were babies all over the place.  Young … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Events and Announcements

Hi Everyone, Here are several opportunities I wanted to alert you to: First, we will be hosting a Plant Identification Field Day at our Platte River Prairies on Thursday July 6, 2017.  The day will run from 9am to 2pm, … Continue reading

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Child Care Can Be a Burden

I’m up at the Niobrara Valley Preserve this week.  While collecting data today, we spotted a brood of sharp-tailed grouse, a couple other baby birds, and a whole bunch of cute red bison calves.  I got photos of all of … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – June 8, 2017

In several of our prairies right now, poppy mallows are among the most prolific flowers.  Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata) and pale pink poppy mallow (Callirhoe alcoides) are not only great tongue twisters, but also pretty flowers and important food … Continue reading

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Surprising Little Gems

Last week, I had a couple hours to do some reconnaissance at the Niobrara Valley Preserve.  I wanted to see how far along the flowering plant season was in preparation for some data collection efforts we hope to start soon. … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – June 2, 2017

I’m just back home from a week of outdoor family vacation, so apologies for another brief post.  Earlier this week, while I was crouched low to the ground photographing a flower, I noticed a little friend perched on a nearby … Continue reading

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Vacation at Toadstool Geologic Park

One of the best tourist stops in Nebraska gets very few visitors (which doesn’t hurt its value as a site I like to visit).  Toadstool Geologic Park is in the northern panhandle of Nebraska, north of the town of Crawford. … Continue reading

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