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 – September 22, 2016

I was looking through some photos from earlier this year and found one that I’d meant to post back in June but hadn’t.  I like it, and even though it’s a few months late, I hope you like it too. … Continue reading

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Hubbard Fellowship Blog – The Zen of the Prairie

This post is written by Katharine Hogan, one of our Hubbard Fellows.  Katharine hails from Vermont, but came to us with broad experience from across much of the country and a strong interest in restoration ecology.  As you can tell … Continue reading

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CORRECTION to Photo of the Week

Earlier today, I posted about my very fortunate encounter with a hawk in the Nebraska Sandhills.  At the time I took the photos, a couple biologists with me identified the bird as a juvenile ferruginous hawk, and I (being mostly … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – September 16, 2016

NOTE: This post originally misidentified this hawk as a juvenile ferruginous hawk, but after some helpful comments from readers and confirmation from a couple other experts, I have edited the post to make it clear that it is, indeed, a … Continue reading

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The Value of the Water in the Nebraska Sandhills

The Nebraska Sandhills is an incredible landscape of nearly 12 million acres of prairie.  Most of the Sandhills consists of privately-owned ranches, and the majority of that land is conservatively managed by ranchers trying to make a living on top … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – September 8, 2016

Back in late June, a group of us were at the Niobrara Valley Preserve collecting data.  During the evening, a storm rolled in from the west.  Against all common sense and safety, I went up on a hill above the … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – September 1, 2016

Two weeks ago, I posted about Yellow Season in prairies.  That annual phenomenon continues, and at our family prairie this week, stiff goldenrod was front and center.  Pollinators and pollen-eating insects seemed to approve.

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That Predator Just Killed My Predator!

I spent last week in the Nebraska Sandhills, possibly the greatest grassland in the world.  Last week’s trip was one of several I’ve gotten to make around that landscape this summer.  It’s been great to see a much wider swath … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – August 18, 2016

There is an unmistakable look to late summer prairies, and that look is YELLOW.  Sunflowers, goldenrods, and Silphiums (compass plant, cup plant, rosinweed) are all front and center this time of year.  The visual dominance of yellow flowers is obvious … Continue reading

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

Sand Wasps

I was introduced to sand wasps (Bembix sp) by Mike Arduser when he came to visit the Platte River Prairies back in 2012.  As we stood together in a sand prairie, a bee-like creature was zipping around us with incredible … Continue reading

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